Are you a soon-to-be college graduate or a recent college graduate? If yes, we need to chat.
I know how you’re feeling. Trust me. I was in your shoes roughly one year ago. I get it – it’s not easy. You’re full of emotions all over the spectrum. Excited. Sad. Nervous. Anxious.
Where has time gone?
Just like that your college years are over.
Pretty crazy, don’t you think?
Some of you may know exactly what you’re doing – you know where you’ll be working, you know where you’ll be living, you know what your new daily routine will be.
Others of you have no idea what your future holds – you’re still job searching, you’re considering if you should get your Masters, you’re not so sure where you want to live.
And, well, some of you may fall somewhere in the middle.
Regardless which category you fit in, there’s a common denominator: you’re a college graduate (or will be shortly) and you’ve completed your undergrad.
CONGRATS to you! I know your time as an undergrad wasn’t always easy. It was full of late nights, hours upon hours in the library, studying until the last minute and long essays. Of course, you also had your fair share of fun because college wouldn’t have been the same without the social-side of things and all the people you met! You’re the incredible person you are today because of your friends who spent the last 4 years by your side.
Whether your next steps lead you to a “grown-up” job in the so-called real world or down another path, there are a few things I think you should know.
- The real world isn’t as fun as college. That almost seems like a no-brainer, right? Well sadly it’s the truth. You may not like your job. You may work long hours. You may struggle to pay rent one month. You may find that your house has a leak and your car needs a new part in the same week. You may not attend as many social outings. You may not see friends that often. You will realize how great it was to be a college student. Despite all this, keep your chin up. You have fun things to look forward to – like making money and no more studying or homework!
- The transition is harder than you probably expected. The transition from high school to college is hard because you’re leaving your family and best friends who you’ve grown up with to attend college. While it seemed tough at the time, it was manageable. You had so much to look forward to – no longer living under your parents’ roof, more freedom, more flexible class schedule, the social scene, etc. Well, guess what? This transition is tough. It was way tougher than I ever expected it to be. It’s hard going through the motions of working 8+ hours a day. It’s hard not seeing your friends all the time. You now have to be a responsible adult and make important decisions (how much do you want to put in your 401k, what insurance plan you should have, etc.). Pretty crazy, huh? You’ll now be held to a higher standard than ever before. You’ll have to adjust to your new “normal” as you conquer this transition day-by-day.
- Don’t tell your coworkers (or others) how tired you are. You just came from college where you often ran on little to no sleep. Your coworkers most likely have families of their own. They may be up in the middle of the night with their children or can’t start their nightly routine until the kids are sound asleep. You’re young. You’re full of ambition. Yes, there will be days where you are flat out tired but frankly, nobody cares how tired you are.
- Dive in, give 110% and learn as much as you can. Whether you’re going on to more school or starting your first job, this is a crucial time in your life and a stepping stone to reaching your goals. As a college student you were able to skip class, you could choose to slack on an assignment or wait until the last minute to do your homework. Now, those actions won’t slide. The real world is competitive and it’s important to bust your butt, always giving 110%. And while you’re doing this, be sure that you learn something from every situation. While you’re “adulting” you’ll learn a ton about yourself, your job, what you want for yourself, the types of personalities you work well with and the types of personalities you don’t necessarily care for. Just remember to give it your all and make it a learning experience.
- Set goals for yourself. This is so, so important. Surely you’ve dreamt about the person you hope to be some day. Well, in order to get there you need to set goals. And I’m talking about reasonable goals that you can actually achieve. I’m not saying you’re dreaming too big; I’m just saying you need to be realistic. You’re not going to be good at everything, because that’s just the way life goes. But, you should use your strengths to help you get to the next level of where you want to be. Set goals for yourself and apply yourself to achieve them. Oh, and if you’ve achieved a goal, always be sure to set another one. (Point inspired by the book “Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 469 Easy(ish) Steps“)
- Accept the fact that you will start out small, and it will take work to get to where you want to end up. Have you realized yet how important it is to work hard? I admit, when I began adulting and first entered the working world, my idea of the future was a little skewed. I thought I’d make more money, and that by applying myself day-in and day-out that I could earn a promotion. Welllll, this is something that will (hopefully) happen one day, but it doesn’t happen overnight. There are some occasions where others will start out with an amazing salary and an impressive title. But, the most of us will find ourselves at the bottom having to earn our way to the top. Again, no dream is too big. Accept the fact that you are new and at the bottom – use that to motivate you. Set goals. Apply yourself. Give 110%. Never stop chasing your dreams. You may start out small, and the road may be full of crazy turns and unpredictable challenges, but you can do it. I believe in you, and you should believe in you, too. (Point inspired by the book “Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 469 Easy(ish) Steps“)
- Be a giver. This is one of the most important things in life. Until now, you’ve probably received a lot in life from toys to clothes to a college education and more. Did your parents ever expect you to give them anything in return? Not really. Now that you’re a young adult, things are changing. You should now have an attitude that’s more giving-oriented. Don’t expect things from people, because you’re not always going to get them. As soon as you figure out that giving is better than receiving, you’ll find a unique feeling of happiness. You’ll find that a giving spirit brings a smile to your face and makes you feel better than you would have expected. There’s one catch with this: do not, under any circumstances, flaunt your giving attitude. It’s not good to boast about giving a coworker a gift card to say thank you or proudly announce that you paid for a senior citizen’s dinner… this almost counteracts the giving spirit behind the gesture. Be a giver, but don’t be the person who has to brag about it to others. (Point inspired by the book “Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 469 Easy(ish) Steps“)
- Post-college life isn’t that bad – enjoy the ride! I know, based on what I’ve said you may have even more mixed emotions. I can promise you it’s not as bad as it sounds. Hey, unless you’re going to more school, you’re done with homework, tedious assignments and late nights in the library. It’s a lot of fun to apply yourself while trying to make a difference in this world. It’s also pretty fun seeing your paycheck come through to your bank account! Just remember that this transition period may be hard and unlike any other time in your life. Stay true to who you are and never give up! Enjoy the ride, stay positive and look forward to what’s to come! This is just the beginning and it’s up to you to make the most of it. Enjoy adulting, my friend!
And now as a little throwback, here are some pictures from my graduation about one year ago.
Graduation Dress: Chelsea28 Tiered Ruffle Hem Dress
Apple Watch: Apple Watch 38mm Series 1
Thanks for stopping by! If you’re a new college graduate, good luck! I wish you the best on your future!
Until the next page,