This is a response to Graduating At Your Own Pace, No Matter What It Is.
It's been four years since I graduated from college and it's been an emotional roller coaster for me. I didn't expect my own life to turn out to be the way it is now. Since I've graduated, I've got my masters degree, work for the government, competed in pageants, networked with many people online and in person, started freelance modeling and became an ambassador for a modeling agency, created a couple of side projects, got published on several online publications, volunteered a lot, and learned to take care of myself better while saving a lot of money. I have to say I'm wiser than I was four years ago. And that I'm forever thankful that I didn't peak in college haha.
Anyways, here are five things I've learned about post grad life that you (especially if you haven't graduated yet and you're in your early 20s) need to hear.
1. Your first career job out of college will not be your dream job.
Getting your first career job out of college is very tough, especially with how the job market is for recent grads with not a lot of work experience. I noticed from my experience alone and what I've seen personally, a lot of people just settle for the first job they get, even if it's not related to their degrees whatsoever. The current job I have, which I do have to admit is not related to what I studied in both undergrad and grad school and both of my degrees were more research based. The current job I have is more customer service and purchasing focus.
2. You will gain new interests.
I definitely changed as a person by gaining new interests in other stuff after graduation. For one, I got into pageants, which shocked a lot of people but glad I've joined them after doing some research and figured out which pageant systems would best suit for me. Plus, pageantry is a part of my Filipina culture. Filipinos love pageants and support their titleholders a lot. Not only I got into pageants, I also got into modeling. I love being in front of the camera modeling in my favorite clothes. And another hobby I want to pursue is acting, whether if it's in person or voice over acting. I want to focus on that after my national pageant that I'm competing in August 2023.
Moral of the story, don't be afraid to explore new interests. They will help you grow as a better person.
3. You will lose your friends from school and that's okay.
During post grad life, everyone is on a different path. Some will move away to another state. Others will settle down and get married and have kids. As we progressed in life focusing on our careers and paying our bills, we see our friends less, especially if they live far away. And sometimes, it's to the point where we stop talking to our friends and never hear from each other anymore.
I do admit I drifted apart from a few people. I see the current friends I have less often now due to our schedules and living far apart from each other. And I had this one friend, which I used to have a crush on, who completed ghosted me for no reason, which hurt me a lot.
What I learn from my experience about maintaining friendships post grad is tough and that if people are meant to be in your life, they'll be in your life. And never be afraid to make friends with new people as you go on in your life.
4. You have to network everywhere you go and online.
Many young people, especially recent grads, don't realize how important networking is to get far in life. Networking allows you to enter a room filled with opportunities. For me, networking allowed me to learn about other people and their stories. It also allowed me to volunteer more and connect with individuals who are in the same industries as I am. Networking did allow me to sit on a Gen Z panel on The Conversationalist with Devon Werkheiser, an actor who placed Ned from Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide back in 2020. It was a cool experience.
My advice is to go to networking events either online or in person, volunteer at organizations, and pick up new hobbies to meet other people and find opportunities that you wouldn't find anywhere else. Networking allowed me to get farther in life that my degrees alone couldn't do enough.
5. Save money.
This is a big one. Save your money! In the world of inflation, prices won't go down anytime soon. Do not overspend. Live below your means. And if you can, still stay with your family and try to see if you can telework if your job allows it. This isn't the 1970s where most people can live comfortably. It's harder to rent and buy a house nowadays. I learned that from experience. I'm almost 26 years old making a decent amount of money but it's not enough for me to rent or buy a house. If I were to move out from my family's house right now, I'll be living paycheck to paycheck, which I do not want to do.Also, learn how to budget your money and figure out what you need and don't need. It will save you in the long run.
Post grad life is not easy at all. And it can toll on one's mental health. There were times where I felt depressed and felt like I was behind everyone else in my life. My last piece of advice is don't compare to others because in the end, it's your life and you can take control of life for the better. Navigating through post grad life is tough but you're tougher and you'll get through it. School isn't your peak. Trust me and trust the process.