I graduated from college last June, and have spent the eight months since then in a whirlwind of confusion, uncertainty, and conflicted feelings about the future. Here are some of the things I’ve come to realize since that fateful moment I walked across that stage, received my diploma, and had my collegiate security blanket taken away.
1. Even if you stay in your college town, things will be different.
And this is not necessarily a bad thing. You’ll probably move away from campus. You won’t live walking distance or close to it or your friends.
And while this gets lonely at times and you’ll likely find yourself reminiscing frequently, it also gives you some perspective – you now have the opportunity to figure out who you are outside of your college identity. This is no easy task, and I for one don’t have it figured out. But hey, the opportunity is there.
2. You will grow apart from your friends who are still in college.
Their lives are now very different than yours. You said you would stay in touch, have monthly girls’ nights, and see each other all the time – but it turns out this is easier said than done.
Your lives, your schedules, your priorities, are different now – and that makes all of those previous grand plans much harder to stay faithful to.
3. You’ll have regrets and you have to learn to move past them.
Chances are, you aren’t going to be 100% thrilled with every single decision you made while in college. Maybe you should have gone out less and studied more. Hell, maybe you should have gone out more, and studied less!
Maybe you should have picked a different major. Whatever it is, the time frame in which you can do something about it has come and gone, and that’s something you have to learn to accept.
4. You feel a little less okay about going out in public in your old sweats.
One of the best parts about college is feeling completely okay going out in public looking like a hot mess. It’s okay, you’re a college student you can dress however you want! Now, though, this seems less okay. It’s like I have to start acting like an adult or…something.
5. College is a security blanket.
You get to kind of pretend you’re an adult – you get to live on your own, make your own decisions, etc. You feel (kind of) grown up. But graduation is there to show you that you’re really not grown up at all. No more advisors or office hours to go to when you have a question…now you’re actually on your own.
College is over, and you’re in the real world now. For better or worse. It’s confusing, it’s scary, and it’s uncertain. But don’t let it bring you down. Rather, try to embrace the challenge, go after new opportunities, and don’t be afraid to fail. These 20-something times aren’t easy, but it gets better (or so I hear). Stay strong, post-grads!