For those of us who are approaching the terrifying yet exciting moment of our graduation day, there are more than a few thoughts that are definitely racing through our minds. Graduation is a liberating moment – a time that validates every single all-nighter, print credit, and tear shed that you had to experience during your time at school. Whatever school it is that you are graduating from, the sensational feeling of taking your final steps out of those doors will be one of the best moments of your life. But as soon as your feet step outside, over that threshold, and into the real world, those magical butterflies that you have in your stomach slowly start to transform into hundreds of thoughts and feelings about life after graduation.
“So, what are you doing after grad?!”
The millisecond you finish your convocation ceremony, it will feel as if every single person now has the right to ask you as to what your plan after graduation is. Are you doing your Masters? What university are you going to? Do you already have a job lined up? All you want to do is scream a giant “RELAX” to every human you pass on the street to defend yourself from this threatening question. I am literally just taking off my gown and you’re expecting me to update my LinkedIn profile? All in good time.
“So, what is a normal sleep schedule?”
After what feels like a million all-nighters, your mind is slowly going to start to question why on earth you are in bed at eleven on a weekday. What does a normal eight-hour sleep feel like? The student mind does not know normal rest as it is one who functions on twenty-seven coffees a day and has its most brilliant ideas about ten hours before a final assignment deadline. Scratch those late nights and start setting your alarms, because late night coffee runs and crying on your keyboard at 5:00 AM are going to become a thing of the past.
“Think of all the money I am going to save…”
“Think of all the money I am going to save by not having to pay for books and tuition”. Think of all the lattes, McDonald’s meals, and bus fare you have spent over the past four years at school. It seems as if a list of endless possibilities are rushing into your brain as to what you can do with the money you will be making. Yes we might have loads of student debt, but let’s not think about that right we don’t have to think about that right now.
“How do you adult?”
What is “adult”? Unfortunately, no one is going to give you a manual on “How to Adult” for those of you who think they are going to struggle with life after graduation. Being a student can be looked at as a safety mechanism, a card you can play to temporarily get you out of life’s responsibilities. So how do you enter the real world and come out from underneath this safety shelter made of essays and lab reports? Just try your best, pay your bills, and make sure that you refrain from the familiar sweatpants and socks and sandals combo that functioned as your library attire.
“What is it going to be like living away from this place?”
What is life-like roommate free? What am I going to do when I go back to my parents house? How am I going to live on my own? Whatever your living situation is after graduation, there is definitely going to be some kind of change or adjustment to your current lifestyle. Whether you are going away to university, or coming home from college, this transitional time is going to be a very interesting one.
“Can I still drink at random hours during the day?”
What is life going to be like without frequent keggers? Or 6:00 AM St. Patty’s Day shots? Or even drinking the next morning after you’ve gone out because your deadly hangover seems only curable with more booze? What is socially acceptable drinking? Your alcohol consumption will now be limited to a very “happy hour” and a glass of wine with dinner, because in the real world you’re just an alcoholic if you start drinking at 9am.
“Wait, should I have majored in something else?”
So you don’t think you’re going to find a job. You start trying to convince yourself that maybe you could totally get into the idea of computer engineering, or that maybe you should join the Peace Corps. Don’t sweat it, everything is going to work out. Remember the fact that you chose whatever you majored in because you loved it, and whether or not you still love it, you can always embark on another pursuit of knowledge.
Whatever it is that is running through your head before, during, or after graduation, just know that everything is going to work out. Don’t work yourself up just yet. The super clichéd saying of “everything happens for a reason” is ultimately the most reassuring mantra that we should all live by. Take your time, make the choices that feel right to you, and do what makes you happy, my friends.
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