Passing the last class in college is one of the happiest, most incomparable moments you’ll ever face in life. An enormous weight relieves from the shoulders, and a new sense of possibility and being able to do it all comes to invade the whole body. You set out to climb a hill and did it! Your crowning day is soon to arrive. Cheers and hurrah chants are everywhere, and deservedly so! Yet, a big question mark strains the celebrations. What does the future hold? The thing is, we treat graduation as a finishing line instead of a starting point. Hence, we do not talk much about what comes afterward. Noticing this void, I decided to tell you some facts about life after college. My goal is to address the things rarely discussed that can make a difference for you as a young professional.
Graduating Implies Lifestyle Adjustments
The sudden lift from stressful academic demands makes for a significant lifestyle adjustment. The hecticness of classes, long studying sessions, and socializing under a set schedule become a thing of the past. Freedom to pursue anything is the new ‘now.’ Sounds exciting, right?
Handle this adjustment period with care. Otherwise, it can suck you into a loophole that leaves you out of focus and delays the things planned next.
Inconveniently enough, ever-present worries about paying off student debt and lagging career opportunities will get you back to earth, though.
Embrace Adulthood for All It Is
We grow bombarded by romanticized tales about our high school and college years, both getting portrayed as the best time of our life. But the reality is that, as enthralling and reminiscent as those years can be, they also happen to be short chapters in our book of life. A brief tasting of the many things still waiting for us to discover.
Getting a diploma does not mean the future is laid out for you just yet. If anything, graduating from college is evidence of all you can accomplish when working hard towards a goal. It is also a dive forward into a heavily dreaded word, adulthood. Don’t panic about it! Instead, be open and embrace it for all the awesome and bittersweet things coming your way. Because of them, you will be a more rounded and prepared person, unafraid to take on challenges.
The Future Remains Wide Open
Not having post-college life figured out is more common than people dare to admit. Do not worry, though! The unknown is a welcomed part of life after a 180⁰ turn, like ending college.
Make the most of this ‘slow-paced’ period! How? Reassess priorities, regroup, and work towards your next steps ahead.
Feel bound by nothing when thinking of your choices!
- If moving back home is the next good move in your plan, do it!
- Do you want to intern for a company? Go for it!
- Want to be an entrepreneur? Why not?! Start developing your business idea.
- Not ready to quit your formal education just yet? Go to graduate school.
Leave room to step away from your comfort zone. It will do wonders for you!
First Jobs Are Not Always a Perfect Match, But They Get You Noticed
I invite you to relax your aspirations about first jobs. Fresh from college, they seem like the first stepping stone towards achieving career dreams. In reality, they are closer to being a vehicle to gain experience and enroll in the market workplace.
I witnessed firsthand how close friends from engineering school got their start, doing jobs unrelated to their major. A system engineer’s first gig was as a planner. A mechanical engineer got his break working as a reservoir analyst. Surprisingly enough, both liked the roles so much that they continued their professional path in those areas.
Pick Good Company
As the new kid in town, you are likely to feel impressed and intimidated by most of your senior coworkers. Yet, this doesn’t mean they all are great role models for you.
Like any other group, the workplace assorts different personalities and types of professionals. Some of your coworkers love their work, others are frustrated by it, and the rest are probably just getting by.
Having been there, I can confirm that fraternizing with proactive, knowledgeable, collaborative, ethical, and kind peers influences you positively to thrive at work. So, if you like your job and see it as a long-term fix, choose your companions wisely. They will enrich you professionally and personally.
Be Quick at Learning the Differences Between Work & College
There are huge differences between going to college and the workplace, for better and worse.
While in college, you could sleep right through classes and recover like a champ. Work-life is not simple like that.
The best advice I can give about this subject is for you to commit to staying present on your job, zeroing distractions when it matters. Or, else, that Friends bit where Chandler agrees to move to Tulsa could be you on any given day.
Meteoric rises come and go. So, expect some friends of yours to succeed immediately. Most often will be the ones you least expected. Don’t stress about it. Keep moving forward. Don’t compare anyone’s trajectory to yours. Every journey is unique in its own way. Believe in yourself! Trust your gut! The right opportunity will present itself, and you will grab it.
I hope this piece gives you more insight into what happens after college. The challenges ahead are multifaceted but also worthy. The way you approach them will shape your unique professional style.
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