After graduating college, you'll hear a few things, "these are the best years of your life", "seize the day", and "everything will fall into place in no time". Whether or not those things are true, there are also, a lot of things your parents, mentors, and advisers won't tell you about your first few years off campus. As the highs of graduation fade through, uncertainty and anxiety can set in. Facing the "real world" can be exciting, but it can also feel scary. Below, is what I wish I knew after graduation, what I would have done differently, and my advice.
1. It will take a little while to get used to a world without semesters.
For the past 16 years, you've been accustomed to nothing lasting more than a few months. But this doesn't happen when you have a job and live in something that's not a dorm.
2. Everyone will be on different pages.
The days of everyone being on a similar curriculum requirement or class schedule is now gone. You and your friends will have conflicting work schedules, different budgets, and different social circles. You'll find it is a tad more difficult to coordinate your lives.
3. Decisions both BIG and small will be overwhelming.
Almost everything is up to you like where you should live and what to eat for dinner. No, unfortunately, you don't have an adviser to guide you through your options.
4. You underestimated how expensive it is to be a person in this world.
You thought you knew what all the expenses would be. I swear there were some things our parents kept from us. There's much more that costs just to be alive every day.
5. It will be important to find permanence.
Whether that be buying the first bed for your apartment or a subway card that can be used for more than one day.
6. There's more to a job than how it looks on your resume.
When searching for a job, look past its title and responsibilities. There are so many things that will make a job the right fit such as the workplace culture and having a good manager. So don't be afraid to turn down a great job when it doesn't seem like the right company vibe.
7. You might get your dream job only to realize it's not your dream at all!
Surprise! Not everything about "that job" you dreamed of all throughout college is as it seemed. This will feel like a huge bummer but you'll get over it.
8. Or you might land a job you thought you'd hate only to fall in love with it.
A job is a job. Some are better than others.
9. A workday is much longer and harder than even the most jam-packed school day.
Work is draining and you will go home exhausted every day even without homework and having to balance 15 different things all at the same time. You will wonder why you're soooo tired if you literally sat at a computer from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
10. Say "yes" as much as you can.
When getting to know a new city or new group of people, the best advice is to say "yes"! Say "yes" to happy hour, a weekend adventure, or an impromptu movie night because anything helps you explore your new location and new life. So go ahead and step out of your comfort zone.
11. It is no longer possible to function on four hours of sleep every night.
You can try but you'll feel like you're dying all day long if you don't get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. No more all-nighters - what a relief!
12. You start taking much better care of yourself.
You'll eat healthier, start washing your face at night, or maybe even meditate.
13. You'll call your parents more than ever.
Just because you're an "adult" doesn't mean you have the whole "adulting" thing down. You still need a ton of help and advice. You probably won't call home crying once a week for a little while which is okay.
14. You'll feel pretty sad and "meh" for a while but it's normal.
Almost all of your peers feel the exact same way.
15. A year after graduation you'll feel like a totally different person than you were in college.
You'll look back at all those Facebook memory photos and be like, "who is that person?". Adult Life forces you to figure yourself out fast and that means a lot of change happens.
16. When it doesn't suck, being an adult will be fun.
You work hard and deserve it!
Dream big, new grads. Remember, people do this every year. You're not alone! This transition will become your new norm. So take it with even more confidence and grace.