College gives us an incredible opportunity to find ourselves, go a bit wild, and learn a lot about the world. You're going to want to take some of that with you, and also leave some of that behind. Here are five things you already have that you should bring with you into the new chapter of your life after graduating from college.
1. Your drive and impressive work ethic
No matter what your GPA is, there is no doubt that sixteen years of schooling has shaped you into a hardworking, driven person. Try your best not to lose that work ethic when you face the real world. This time, it'll take you a lot further than just a good grade.
2. Your youthful energy and passion for life
Adulthood can sometimes turn people into fatigued, stressed-out zombies who forget to take time to appreciate the little things like children do! I always enjoyed the phrase, "you have to grow old, but you don't have to grow up."
3. Take your sense of wonder and curiosity about the world
As college students, we've been very privileged to be able to take fascinating courses on anything and everything and meet incredible people from all walks of life. It's a good idea to keep this enthusiasm as you continue to face new people and places after college.
4. Take your dreams and long term goals with you
This, of course, is a big one. Don't let the shock of adulthood shake your dreams out of you. Hold on to them tight, and even better, start working towards them if you haven't already.
5. Take your best friends
The close circle of friends you make in college is priceless. Don't forget to keep in touch with them, even if they're moving across the country. You should know without a doubt which friendships are worth the ongoing effort.
* * *
And now for five things you should leave behind when it's time to pack up and leave campus for the last time.
1. Putting school, work, or others before yourself
For our entire lives up to this point, school has meant everything. Most of us have sacrificed something or another in order to finish an assignment or pass an exam, whether it's going to the gym or trivia night with friends. Now that college is over and you have control, you are allowed to start putting your own wants first. As an independent adult, you are your first priority.
2. Junk food, binge-drinking, and take-out multiple nights a week
The typical student diet and partying lifestyle do not work out in the long term after college. Since we tend to go overboard with this stuff during school, you might need to cut down on these things to a normal amount.
3. Regular all-nighters
Just because it's Friday or Saturday night and you can stay up till 3 am (and sleep till 3 pm the next day), it doesn't mean you should. Not having a normal sleep pattern can really mess up your body and brain in the long run, and not to mention affect your productivity and energy levels. Also, I hate to say it, but your body isn't going to bounce back from a weekend of late nights as quickly as it used to.
4. People who turn you into someone you don't want to be anymore
As they say, you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. There is at least some truth to this, so it's important to choose your friends carefully and let go of the relationships that seem to hold you back from reaching your potential.
5. That weird feeling that your life hasn't really started yet
Spending four years at college is pretty much the definition of living in a bubble. even if you haven't been thinking about it consciously, you might have felt that you've been waiting for life to really begin. Fortunately, you're not in limbo anymore. You have an entire beautiful life of adventure, independence, and surprises ahead of you, and there's no more waiting around for things to happen. You make things happen now.
And that doesn't mean you have to know what you're doing. No one does. Life is going to present you with numerous crossroads, and mistakes are part of the storyline. All you need to do right now is take a deep breath and be excited for what lies ahead.