WARNING: mental breakdowns, tears and lots of excitement ahead! ?
It’s that time of year when graduation caps are flying and the U-Haul trucks are rolling up to campuses ready to move graduating seniors out of their college apartments. Just one year ago, this was me! For those of you who don’t know, I graduated college from a rural school in Pennsylvania! I studied Communications, Public Relations & Digital Communication/New Media. Basically, I learned an absurd amount of facts about Aristotle and Plato and learned basic coding, website building and learned that I’m really good at Adobe InDesign. LOL! All kidding aside, I genuinely enjoyed my college experience – the most important thing that I think I gained from college is a sense of freedom and independence.
Right after college I moved out and moved to the city – I knew that living in the suburbs wasn’t for me. Nothing against where I grew up, but I knew that if I stayed there I wouldn’t be happy. I like action and instantly fell in love with the energy of Philly. There’s so much going on, and were constantly surrounding by people from all walks of life. Plus, the amount of opportunities here are endless.
The post-grad life is amazing, don’t get me wrong – it’s the start of your 20’s and the beginning of really finding out who you are and what you want to do. For the first time in our lives, most of us are making real money – a lot more than what we could manage to make working during the summer or on weekends. For some, this may be your first job, EVER! And that alone is confusing and a major life change. Luckily for me, I’ve always had a strong work ethic – I’ve been working since I was 15 years old. My first job ever was as a cashier at CVS, one time a rude customer made me cry LOL! ? My second job ever in high school was as a housekeeper at a local fitness club where I grew up. Yep… I quite literally cleaned toilets, emptied tampon bins and dusted the locker room. I also worked in restaurants as a hostess during college and with a florist at the same time! In college (and high school) I was always the person turning down parties or concerts because I had to work and make money.
Now, I work in social media for an advertising agency… I’ve put together this Post-Grad survival guide as a way to help those of you who may be feeling a little bit lost or confused. One of my biggest gripes with the modern education system is that I don’t think that they do a great job at focusing students. Unless you’re going for a specific skill and/or profession (engineering, medicine, teaching), you’re really left with a blank slate. There’s so many different avenues and directions that you can go in, which is AMAZING, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. Mostly because you don’t even know what’s out there or what you could be doing.
It’s Okay To Not Know What You Want
I think that a lot of students graduate college and feel an immense amount of pressure from family and society. It’s like you graduate college at 22 and are supposed to have your whole life figured out. Well, that’s just not how it freakin’ works. I believe that you figure it out along the way, through trial and error. I think that it’s okay to not know what you want, as long as you’re making a conscious effort to figure it out. You don’t have to have all of the answers on graduation day, but know that nothing is going to be handed to you. You need to work and put in the effort into figuring out what it is that you want to do. My advice is to write down a list of all of the possible directions that you want to go in. Are you really interested in art? Start researching how to work for an art gallery. Are you super passionate and innately talented at building relationships? Maybe a career in recruiting is for you! Have you always had a passion for fashion? Start strategizing ways that you could work for your favorite clothing brand.
Your Mind Is Going To Change… Let It!
When you started college maybe you thought that you were going to be a teacher. But by the time that you graduated, accepted your first job and are now approaching one full year of being a teacher you’re starting to realize that this may not be the career path for you. THAT’S OKAY! You would have never known if you didn’t start. The beauty of living and working in today’s age is that you can really do whatever you want. We’re in such a unique time where it’s easier than it’s ever been to start our own companies or turn our passions into businesses because of the internet. Your mind is going to change – I’d be scared if it didn’t. Because that would mean that you’re not growing. Don’t feel guilty or stuck because what you majored in during college doesn’t align with what you want to do.
Go With Your Gut & Follow Your Passions
I truly believe, and fully stand by the notion that you must follow your instincts. Is there something that you’ve always known that you love and are really good at, but you’re fearful of the financial risk? I believe that the best quality of work, highest levels of fulfillment and purpose come from when we’re following our passions. They always say to follow your passions and the money will find you. Jeff Bezos started with a crazy vision and dream and worked his way to become the world’s richest man. Anything is possible.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Everyone Else
Some people leave college and go to work for their family’s business. Some people graduate college and continue their education through grad school. Some people end up working at the place that they interned at. Some people may end up in a totally different field than they thought. Some people may travel the country and work remotely. Some people may move to a different city. Some people may work and live where they grew up. Some people graduate college and immediately start their own businesses. Some people graduate college and end up working for a company their whole lives. I’m trying to paint the picture that EVERYONE’S STORY IS UNIQUE TO THEM. Don’t feel less than or different because your path is different than some of your friends’. There’s no wrong and there’s no right… there’s just YOU.
You May Drift Apart From Friends… THIS IS NORMAL!
Guys… No one tells you about the fact that you may never talk to some people from college ever again. And that it’s NORMAL and completely okay. They also don’t tell you about the life change from living your life surrounded by your best friends 24/7 to living either on your own, back with your parents, or with a significant other. Life is going to change and you just gotta learn to embrace it. You’ll make new friends at work, during your workout classes, or even become closer with people from college that you never thought that you would! This is all a part of life, maturation and figuring out who you are.
I hope that this post helped and of you who may be feeling that post grad confusion! You guys can always DM me on Instagram, or reach out to me –– I’m here to help YOU!