I recently graduated from college. Recently meaning a few short weeks ago. I was so unbelievably excited to be graduating (for obvious reasons), however I wish someone had given me a heads up about what was about to come next. I was overwhelmed with emotions. Some good, but a lot that were not so good. Everyone always talks about how wonderful graduation is, but no one prepared me for what really was going to happen after the graduation magic wore off.
1. You will not know what to do with yourself.
You have just spent four or more years of your life in school, studying, cramming, eating ramen, and wondering if the $50,000 you’re paying every year is worth it. If you’re anything like me, you are absolutely dying to get out! I can not explain to you the feeling of sweet relief when you walk across that stage to get your diploma. Knowing that you did it. Knowing that you never have to take another test again or write another 20 page research paper. You will feel like a kid in a candy store for a good few weeks. Sadly, though, that overwhelming joy is going to slowly wear off. Your friends will move back home and start new jobs. Some will go on to travel. Some will continue their education. Suddenly, you’re not going to know what to do with yourself. You will wonder if that job was the right choice, if you should’ve traveled instead, and whether you want to pursue higher education or not. You will also, at times, be extremely bored. I didn’t understand how much time school took up. Now that I’m not studying on the nights and weekends, I’m not quite sure how to spend my time. I’ve binge watched Netflix, re-organized my entire room and closet, cooked and baked more than ever, gone out with friends almost every day, started reading a few new books, and still I have time! I’m definitely not complaining, but I do wish that someone had warned me about this excess of time I was about to have so that I could at least plan some ways to occupy myself.
2. You’re going to constantly be bombarded with questions.
Everyone and their mother saw on social media that you graduated. Here comes the questions. “Did you like your school?” “What was your degree in again?” “Did you graduate with honors?” “Where are you working now?” “How does your job fit with your degree?” “Do you like your job?” “What do you plan on doing in the next few years?”
Basically everyone wants to hear how well you did in school and what your five year plan is. I wish I had printed out cards to hand out to people instead of telling the same 10 minute story every single time. I thought after a week or two the questions would die down, but I was definitely wrong. Be prepared for LOTS of questions, especially if you graduate around the holidays like I did. You thought everyone asking about your love life and career was bad before? Graduate. They will be so much worse.
Don’t let their questions wear you down. Trust me, I know how exhausting they can be. To help with this, I created a simple 2 minute run through of what I’m doing, or what I plan on doing, and then try to steer the conversation in another direction. As annoying as all the questions are, just remember that they’re asking because they want to know and their intentions are good.
3. You’re probably going to be just as broke as you were before.
If someone had told me this beforehand, I definitely would have saved a bit more. Unless you were blessed and had your education paid for, you’re going to have to start paying off those student loans. All of that extra money you thought you had and could spend on clothes, traveling, and expensive restaurants? Yea… it is going towards your loans now.
My advice – get a cheap bottle of wine from Trader Joes prior to logging on the student loan website. It makes it just a tad less overwhelming.
4. You’re going to reinvent yourself.
You won’t see it coming, but you’re going to start a “new year, new me” phase in the middle of May. You’re going to adjust to post-grad life and start adulting. With that comes a lot of freedom, a lot of change, and a really good time to work on yourself as an individual. I personally chopped off a good chunk of my hair and got a new wardrobe. Never saw that one coming, but hey it is a new phase of life so might as well embrace it!
5. You’re going to miss your friends ALOT!
You just got through years of cramming, awful tests, bad professors, and crappy cafeteria food. You also just got through years of 2am McDonalds runs, late night dance parties, Sunday brunches with your girlfriends, and honestly some of the best nights of your life. Your friends got you through a lot. They were there to save you from every awful first date and held you during the break up you never saw coming. During the past four years, your friends became your family and now you have to learn how to love them from afar. If you’re like me and my best friends, there will be a lot of facetiming, snap chatting, heart emojis, and tears as we learn how to be long distance best friends.
6. You’re going to be okay.
While you’re hating what you thought your dream job was or loving the job you thought you were going to hate, remember that what’s meant to be will be. These are the days you’re going to look back on and laugh about. These are the stories you’re going to tell your kids when they’re going through the exact same thing. So don’t freak out. Go live life. Take risks. Go on adventures. You will be okay. You graduated college so you’re obviously a smart individual. Live in the moment and live for yourself, not the crazy relatives around the dinner table.
Hope this advice helped some of y’all prep for graduation and what life is going to look like for you.