It has been just over one year since my college graduation and it’s been, well, weird. College graduation abruptly launches you into your early twenties with not much but debt and a piece of paper saying you met all the requirements needed. In an ideal world, we would graduate debt free with a job lined up, but I won’t get into that now. (Also, in that ideal world, money doesn’t exist, everyone is happy and there is a National Dress Your Corgi Up Like A Cowboy Day. It’s great.)
College graduation can feel like a bad breakup. You aim for a clean break but you still think about it constantly, it keeps coming up in conversations, and it won’t call you back (although that’s because it is a college, not a human. But I guess if corporations can be people now, anything is possible). I don’t mean to say college left me with nothing. I walked away with a pretty cool caffeine addiction and a penchant for getting work done at the last minute.
Adult-ing is hard. No one explained to me that for the first few months of my post-grad life, the overwhelming feeling is, what I can only describe as, “!!!??!!!” It can be hard to put your stress and anxieties into words, but I promise you I’ve been there and I understand. Here are the five thoughts you’ll have in your first year out of college.
1. This isn’t summer “vacation” anymore.
I remember thinking this in the car ride home with my dad, the day I moved out of my dorm (the same week I did this crazy diet). It may have felt like a typical early summer afternoon, but soon you’ll realize that September is not bringing new pencils and professors this year. To adults, September is simply the start of autumn and maybe, a chance to score on some Labor Day sales. Some may say you won’t be able to take it easy this summer, but I say do what you want. If you need time to adjust, take it. It won’t be the end of the world if you aren’t jumping on every single job lead. Find the balance between a summer vacation and a summer of hard work and hang out in that zone for a bit.
2. What is happening? We’re all aware that I’m not an adult yet, right?
“What is happening?” It’s one of the first and most frequent questions you’ll have this year. Every time you get dressed up for a job interview or issue a check you might feel like a child in adult clothes, I know I did. I walked out of my first post-grad job interview feeling like a total fraud. It can be weird to be treated like an adult when just a month ago you were still doing homework.
3. What is wrong with me?
You will have this thought a lot. When you are rejected from a job you really wanted. When you wish you were more independent than you can be right now. When you thought you had life under control. My advice is to take a deep breath, acknowledge the negativity, and recognize that there is nothing wrong with you. Sometimes it will seem like the universe is not working in your favor, but that does not mean you are deficient. It just means there is something else out there. Move on, smile, live your life. Everything will be okay.
4. Well according to this Facebook status and that tweet, Amy is doing way better than me.
First, stop comparing yourself to people on the Internet. It will lead to nothing but disappointment. The only person you should be concerned about beating is yourself. Try to be better than who you were yesterday, then sleep and repeat. Don’t forget that when you look at someone’s Facebook posts, you are seeing the best moments of their days/weeks/lives, you are watching their highlight reel. Don’t compare your “behind-the scenes” footage to their highlight reel, it’s just dumb and you are a college grad, remember? You are smarter than that.
5. Thank goodness I am not in college anymore.
You may not be thinking this yet, but you will. I know that college was fun but adulthood is even better. You are ready to move on, trust me. It is going to be scary but it will be worth it. Just picture decorating your first apartment and getting your first promotion, if that doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will. Take risks, make big choices, and say yes to things.
Now go have some (responsible) fun. You’re an adult now! Enjoy it!