It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since I graduated from college, the end of May to be exact. Last year at this time, I was entering my final month and a half of college and although it was one of the greatest times of life, it was also one of the scariest. The fear of the unknown crept into me during those final weeks on my college campus. The unknown of what life after college was going to entail, because I knew once the end of May hit, I was still jobless and was moving back home, away from my college friends, away from my college campus, away from the fun and carefree life I lived up at school. Now, being on the other side and looking back at last year around this time, I can honestly say there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I was so stressed about everything last year at this time and even though it didn’t seem like it, everything did work out. It took me almost a year to process what I was feeling during my senior year of college, and now I have lived through it, I’m ready to share the lessons I learned after graduating from college and entering the adult world.
1. It’s ok to stress
I used to get so mad at the people, mostly my family, who would tell me not to stress about graduation. I understand why they would say those things to me because they wanted to give me some comfort in a very uncertain time in my college career. But, post graduation would soon set in, and going out every night then recalling all the wild stories in the morning with your roommates and best friends, or skipping classes just because, or spending money on stupid things, or saving class assignments for the last minute, and the list goes on should be things of the past. So, yes go ahead and stress, it is totally normal to wake up at night in a panic about not having a job, not knowing what you want to do in life, not knowing how you will afford to live on your own, and so on. It wouldn’t be normal not to stress during your second semester of senior year, so go for it, because no matter what stage in life you are in, stress is natural. But, you can’t let the stress keep you from enjoying the present and the people you are with. Because, if there is one important thing I learned after college is that even though when it doesn’t seem like it, everything does work out and it works out in the strangest of ways.
2. Most likely you won’t have a job right after graduation
Bravo, to all those college seniors who know exactly where they will be working after they receive their diploma. I wish I was one of those seniors, but unfortunately, I wasn’t and that’s ok. A lot of seniors, myself included, think that by their senior year they will know exactly their career path, but being jobless after graduation is more common than you think. Even after completing two internships and all my extra-curricular activities, finding my first post grad job was more difficult than I thought, but the key is not to give up. Don’t get discouraged when your resume and cover letters are submitted to over fifty job postings and you haven’t heard back from one company, because it does happen. It happened to me, but you just have to keep applying, keep interviewing, and when you least expect it, you will strike gold.
3. Moving back home is weird
If you are anything like me, I packed up all my stuff the night after graduation and moved back home, which was one of the most depressing things I had to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, but something about going back to being under a microscope was weird. I couldn’t come and go as I pleased or have friends over whenever I wanted to, or pregame with a massive group of people before a night out. After all, I was living under my parent’s roof and I wasn’t living in a dorm anymore with all my friends and that wasn’t easy for me to accept. Just know that whether being home with your parents is for the short term or long term it will be strange at first, but after all you are still an adult and your parents and yourself will just have to accept that.
4. Friends come and go
Just like friends came and went throughout your four years at college, after graduation you will also realize which friends from college still matter. Once you graduate college, your friend dynamic changes, but what’s extremely important is to make your college friendships last. Both parties must put the effort into seeing each other and keeping in touch. Everyone is busy, everyone will be starting their new jobs or graduate school, but that is no excuse not to make time for one another. This has been very hard for me to learn, but it’s making me realize that college friends who aren’t willing to put in the same energy, might not be worth your precious time anymore. It doesn’t mean you failed or lost a friend, it simply means you are growing. But for those college friends who still make that effort to hang out with you or call you on the phone to catch up are still important and even if you see them every couple of months, when you do finally hang out, it will feel like time hasn’t really passed. Also, don’t forget that in your adult life you will make tons and tons of new friends. And yes, these friendships will be different, but don’t just stay stuck in the college years, but instead embrace new friendships in your new stage of life.
5. Hangovers will get worse
Hate to break it to you, but if you think once you graduate from college, you will still be able to go out and imbibe multiple times during the week, your body will just not cooperate with you. I still question how I was able to go out a few times a week. I don’t understand how I was able to imbibe one night, wake up fine, and be ready to do the same thing the next evening. Now, when I go to happy hour with my co-workers and I need a few days to recover. So be prepared, your body will not be able to take the brunt of what you put it through in college, be ready for mornings feeling like death, and wishing you were that college student again who could take back shots like no problem.
6. Dating is still hard and boys are still stupid
HA, to all those people who told you that you will find your future husband in college, yeah didn’t happen for me and that’s okay if it didn’t happen for you either, and for those who are still in a relationship with their college sweetheart, what’s your secret? But really, college boys are stupid and it doesn’t get better after they graduate. Dating is still tough in the adult world, especially if you are balancing a full-time job, your social life, your well-being and everything else on top of it. Like who has time to put themselves out there and try to meet someone? I am still waiting for the prince, that I was meant to find on my college campus. However, just because I am now out of college and still single, it should never mean one should lower their standards. Never compromise on who you want, what you want and what you deserve.
7. You’ll feel a new excitement
I thought my life was over, once I walked across the stage and received my diploma on that afternoon in May. Yes, my college life was over, but it was the start of a new journey, my journey into life after college. Just like four years ago when I was entering college and feeling all sorts of excitement, graduating college is no different. You will experience new things as a college graduate, like scoring an interview for your dream role, earning your first pay check at your post grad job, decorating your new apartment in New York City, and the list goes on. Although, I am the first to say that change is scary, I am learning that change can also be thrilling, so once your college life chapter is completed, remember to welcome the new, exciting feelings to come in your post graduate chapter, because no matter big or small there’s lots of excitement to have as an adult.
As you can tell from the length of this blog post, I could write a novel about my college experience, or more specifically how I am dealing with life after college. Nothing is perfect in my post graduate life, trust me there have been many bumps on the road, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I am still trying to figure it all out. I still get stressed out about certain things, but these current stresses are different than what I was feeling last year at this time. Life after graduation is certainly a strange phase in your life, a phase all about transition and finding yourself, but just like any obstacle in your life (doesn’t just have to be after college) there are lessons to be learned, chances to grow, and excitement to be felt.