The world after college can be a scary and awkward place. You leave college thinking you are an adult ready to start the career you've spent years preparing for. Honestly, this could not be further from the truth. You think freshman year was difficult? Well once you graduate college, you are back at the bottom of the totem pole.
You are likely to go through a lot of career changes as you try to figure out the path you want to take in life. These are the times to gain experience and decide who you want to become. College was a bubble where you were only surrounded by people in your same age bracket. The real world is filled with people of all ages with tons of more experience than you. You think what you learned in the classroom is going to get you further in life? No, it's what you learn throughout your 20s that will shape the rest of your life.
“The party’s over. What am I going to do with my life now?”
There is no coasting through life after college. Sure you may have gotten an A by doing minimal amounts of work, but that sh*t don't fly in the real world. There are no pledges to check into your job for you. Your responsibilities are your own and your success is determined by your hard work. If you want to become lucrative, you need to exert every ounce of strength and determination you possess. You determine your future.
Dating in college was a temporary commitment revolving around partying and schoolwork. Dating in the post grad world tends to focus around long-term commitment. You realize that you are getting older and that each person you date comes with the question, “Can I see myself with this person for the long run?” Learn what you can from each person you date so that you better know what qualities you do and don't want from a partner. There's no reason to stay in a relationship at this age if it is not completely fulfilling you. Interact with as many people as possible and learn what it is you truly desire.
“I used to think it was lame to live with your parents after college. Now, I see the true value of not paying rent and free laundry.”
There are no meal plans in the real world; you are responsible for feeding yourself. Your parents no longer support your basic needs. You need to learn how to be fiscally responsible, a huge task that college does not prepare you for. This is not the time to waste money on things you don't need, this is the time to save.
The emotional rollercoaster you go through at this time can be gut wrenching. The uncertainty this world offers can make you happy one day and lonely and depressed the next. This is normal and should deter you from accomplishing your goals. Your friends will all be on different career paths, earning different salaries. You cannot fall into the trap of comparing yourself to these people; jealously is a limit you place on yourself.
It takes a long period of adjustment to become acclimated to the functioning of the real world. It helps to remember that you are not alone and there are thousands upon thousands of people going through the same feelings and situations you are. Everyone is just as confused as you are; everyone experiences the same highs and lows.
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”
Long gone are the days where you could go out seven days a week, the rigor of your career prevents that. There are no more tequila Tuesdays and no more wine Wednesdays. As you get older and more involved in your career, you finally realize all those college nights of staying up until 4 a.m. are not an option here.
You're in bed by 11, since skipping “class” is not an option. There's no hitting the snooze button and saying I'll get the notes from some chick in class. If you don't go to work, you're fired. There's no doctor's note or excuse you can pull. Your attendance in the real world is mandatory, not optional.
Your weekends that once were filled with day drinking and smoking are now replaced by running errands because you're too busy during the week. Instead of focusing on what you're going to wear to that party, you're concerned about grocery shopping, dry cleaning and buying toiletries. For guys, that Novem-beard is a notion of the past since the real world demands you show up clean-shaven everyday.
Life in college was basically a carefree ride, but now is the time to buckle down. Face it, we're adults and we're all in this together. Don't be discouraged that college is over, but instead embrace the new lifestyle the post grad world has to offer and make the most out of it. Lean on your friends since you are all going through the challenges. It will be an adjustment at first but soon you will realize that your twenties can be the best time of your life. You have a whole new world to explore.
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