Let’s be honest, the transition from college to adulthood is a struggle. I went from going out on a Tuesday night to thinking about my credit score on a daily basis. But, like my friend Krista says, “once you find your own balance, you can find adulthood to be the most exciting time of your life.”
Some people jump straight into their career once they finish school. That’s great! You worked hard for that degree and now you finally get to use it.
Others need a more advanced degree for field, while some just love education and decide to go back and study something completely different than what they originally studied. Either way, stack up those degrees!
Personally, I decided to take some time to travel after graduation. I went to Australia to live and work for a year. The transitional time of life after college allowed me the freedom to see another part of the world. For me, this was a great decision and I haven’t regretted it for a second.
No matter what path you decide to take, you might find it helpful to have some tips.
Here are the 5 Lessons I Learned After College
1. Be Patient
I asked my friend Janea for her thoughts on transitioning into the real world. She told me that she “anticipated job opportunities but things took longer than expected, which was discouraging. However, you have to be patient and sometimes let things run their course. At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason.”
Nearly every single one of my friends has talked to me about things taking much longer to get started than they expected after graduation. This is why “Be Patient” is my first tip. When I graduated, I expected all these opportunities to automatically open up to me. This definitely wasn’t the case. Truth Moment: Most of us have to put in serious WERK to achieve our goals. This is totally normal and you are not alone! Don’t get discouraged; great things are coming your way.
2. Be Flexible
Your first job may not be your dream job (or your dream salary). So when deciding what to do after college, it is so important to be flexible and HUMBLE. You may need to accept a job that isn’t your “ideal position,” BUT can potentially lead to major opportunities. This may include unpaid internships, assistant positions, or entry level grunt work just to get your foot in the door. Some people even accept jobs in a completely different field and end up loving it.
Being flexible doesn’t mean settling. It means that at this point in your life you have not had much work experience, and could end up being passionate about something you never imagined doing.
3. Appreciate the Moment
This is a tip I am currently working on myself. When you are a young adult, it is so easy to constantly think about your future and what your next move is going to be. You should be thinking about your future, but don’t get so consumed with the future that you forget about the present.
Young adulthood is such a special time in your life; take advantage of it! When you have the chance to do something fun, take it. You won’t get these days back, and worrying about things won’t change the outcome. Take a deep breath and enjoy your life!
4. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparison is the thief of joy. It is so easy to look at another person’s life and think “well they have it together” or “this person is happier and more successful than I am”. First of all, just because someone’s life seems a certain way, doesn’t mean that is the reality. Secondly, even if they do have it more together than you do, it’s not a race. We are all on our own journey and will get to where we need to be in our own time.
5. Don’t Let Other People’s Opinions Dictate Your Life
For some reason, after college so many people will have opinions about what you “should be doing.” This drives me crazy!! I think usually these people think they’re helping, but no one knows what is best for you except you. What other people think you should be doing might not make you happy.
My friend Courtney is currently living in Guam. Her advice is, “Don’t let societal pressure force you to think that after college you need to jump straight into your career, marry your soulmate and have children. That isn’t the path for everyone.” If those things would make you happy, then do it. If not, do what would make you happy. You can’t live your life for other people.
The point is, you deserve all the best things that life has to offer. I hope these lessons I learned after college help you with your transition. No matter what you decide to do, I’ll be here on the sidelines rooting for you.
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