Post-grad life is not what I thought it would be.
I was inspired to write this post after recently hearing from a few old high school friends, most of whom are graduating this spring. Many asked me about my experience with post-grad life, ranging from job searching to paying bills to work-life balance.
Everyone wants to know if what they are feeling is “normal.” I’m here to say, yes, it absolutely is. No one is sure of themselves right out of college. We are all going through a massive transition and it’s not supposed to be easy, but it will be worth it.
Here a few things I’ve learned since being out of college that I want to pass along to you.
You won’t have more time when you graduate
I believed I would have much more time when I graduated to focus on my side passions and blog. I thought without full-time class, my schedule would be super open, right? Boy, was I wrong. How you invest your time will still be the most important decision you make. Time is money, my friends. Spend it wisely.
There is no dream job
It’s rare to graduate college and know with certainty exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life. Even when you get a job, chances are you won’t enjoy every responsibility you have. It’s important to feel fulfilled at your job, but also give yourself some time to get settled in. Everyone feels “new” when they just start out. Give it some time.
Not all college friends are forever friends
There are many people you will lose touch with and that’s okay. Treasure the memories you shared together and spend your time investing into relationships that grow even in distance. Those are the kinds of friends you want to hold on tightly to.
People won’t always understand your sacrifices
Time for me to get personal. To save money after college, I moved back home. I had dreams of leaving Minnesota for warmer weather (hello, southern living!), but I wanted to have everything paid off by 2016. This means college loans, my new car, and the lease on my college apartment (one of the downsides of graduating a semester early).
This has been extremely difficult to explain to others, especially in the professional world. People really wrinkle their noses when they hear you’re still at home. There have been times where I’ve felt like a total failure even though I have an incredible agency job and a growing blog.I’ve started to enjoy my life much more after I decided not to let the stigma of moving back home after college bother me. I have nearly everything paid off and that’s pretty awesome. Just do what’s right for you and keep your eye on the prize.
Make room for rest and relaxation
Sometimes, you just have to come home from work and binge watch your favorite TV show. Don’t feel bad about it. It’s important to take time to unwind. I don’t do this enough so take it from me.
You won’t be in the same life stage as everyone else
Some people graduate from college and move across the country, others get married, and some even have kids. Don’t compare where you’re at to where anyone else is. Be happy where you are and look forward to where you will be.
The reward system works wonders
There are many “adult” things that are just… blah. Making your own appointments, keeping track of receipts, price checking, it’s not fun. To keep myself accountable in checking all of these things off my to-do list, I reward myself with something great after everything is done. Whether it’s a root beer float, re-reading one of my favorite poetry collections, or playing around with my camera, it always ends the day with something enjoyable.
“Adulting” is tough and there’s no guidebook to get you through it, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself after you graduate. Remember to not take yourself too seriously, follow your desires, and know we are all trying to figure it out.
What have you learned from post-grad life? What do you wish you knew about it? I'd love to hear your story in the comment section below.