Today is the two-year anniversary of one of my greatest accomplishments, the day I graduated from college. Graduations are always monumental and filled with emotions, but there’s a certain feeling you have when you graduate college. Graduating high school is emotional and everyone has that crippling sadness of knowing the only way they can communicate with their friends is through social media, and the only time you can socialize is when you come back from school breaks; but when you graduate from college, you have a sense of happiness that only those who have graduated from college can understand. It’s the feeling of knowing you can get through anything, and you can truly conquer the world. It’s the feeling of knowing that despite everything you’ve faced in college, you made it.
So now, that you’ve graduated from college, the question becomes “What do you do now?” and “What is life going to be like now?”. Well I’m going to answer the second question first. Life after college is going to be like college, minus the dorm rooms and group assignments. There are going to be mixed emotions. When you first graduate, you’ll still be in the celebratory mood, and still on that fresh-off-the-stage high. You’ll go around saying you’re happy you’re out of school, but towards the end of summer (most likely after the 4th of July or after Lollapalooza), you know deep down you’ll miss school, the friends you made, or even some of the professors. Then here comes the break-downs; you’re going to ask yourself if college was really worth going through. You’re going to get slightly jealous at the fact everyone’s life seems to be more together than yours, and there will be times where you feel like a failure. Of course, you are definitely going to get annoyed with everyone asking you, “what are your plans after college?”, “when are you going to get a job?”, “why haven’t you found a job yet?”. Oh, and I can’t forget, you’re going to get pissed every time you hear someone from the Baby Boomer Generation or someone from Generation X talks about out loud or in publications about how millennials are so entitled and are too lazy to get a job knowing damn well they are the ones who screwed up the job and housing market, but that’s another article.
Then comes the final stage of your feelings; after the tears, anger, confusion, and job-hunting, there’s comes a sense of relief. Whether it’s the first job, finding some way to let out your frustration, or discovering new passions and talents you didn’t know you had, you are going to feel brand new and relieved. You might even start showing up to some alumni events at your college. With the transition from one feelings to another, I can explain the first question, which was “what do you do now?”.
What do you do now? Well…you live life. Yes, it’s as simple as that. You leave college, and you start to live your life. No matter what feelings you may have, you should go out and pursue what you love and use what you learned in college to enhance your experiences. You might not have the job just yet and yeah you might be down on yourself from time to time, but that’s not an excuse to live life in an enjoyable fashion. Like many college graduates, I’ve had my ups and downs, but what kept me going and what kept me enjoying my life was focusing on my goals, not paying attention to others, and finding meaning in everything I involved myself in. I also found that the things I involved myself in, I could use in my resume.
When you graduate from college, don’t focus on the money, instead focus on yourself. The money will come later, but your happiness and sense of self are more important. Go out and try something new, and never feel pressured to live up to someone’s standard of success. Create your own standard and use the talents you have to stand out. I also advise you to never live a life of regret; live in the moment and appreciate what you have right in front of you. Whatever you wanted to join or accomplish in college, you can accomplish afterwards. I was fortunate enough to do some amazing things in college, but there are still goals I am actively pursuing (one of which is this website), things I am learning, places I’m planning on visiting, and interest I am tapping into.
Look at graduating as a clean slate for a new beginning. Oh and you can always go to Grad School (which to be honest, I’m somewhat considering).