For everyone entering their senior year, I can imagine (ok, I can remember) that your thoughts are on one thing: what next? What happens after this year, when you’re in the real world, and you can’t quite party 4 nights a week, and you have to pay bills, and all those years of people asking what you want to be when you grow up become actual in your face real life issues?
Three years out of school, and I’m still working on getting my life together after college. I’m still transitioning. I’m still dreaming of grad school and law school and a world without student loans. I’m still searching for my perfect job, searching for that perfect kind of rundown loft Glee promised I would be able to afford by myself.
But in those three years, here are some things I have learned about how to get your life together after college, to the very best of your ability.
1.Don’t Spend Too Much Time At Home. Yes, you may have to move home after college until you choose where you want to settle down, or until you find that perfect place. But don’t get too comfortable. The more time you spend at home, the harder it will be to move out, and the easier it will be to still feel like you aren’t quite a grown up yet. Trust me, you’ll feel more pressure to make those grown up decisions once you move out.
2. Don’t Stress About The “Perfect” Job. You’re not going to find it. I chose to take the first well paying job I could find, and I’ve moved up in this career, I’ve received several raises in this career, some days I can see a future in this career. But no, it’s not at all what I had planned. Some people choose to wait tables and work in retail or fro-yo or whatever else until they find an entry level more their speed. But the point is—GET A JOB. Whether you get entry level in to a career or work 3 jobs on the side while still searching, do not sit around like a bum waiting for the perfect thing to find you. It won’t happen. And I don’t feel bad for you, because you are not alone.
3. Make New Friends. Even if you stay in the same town you attended college, or went to high school—branch out. Post college you will see how blurry age lines are and how little they matter, use this to your advantage! When you have friends of all ages you will be better connected, you will find new hobbies. Take advantage of the total uncertainty that is your life right now by finding people who either are just as lost than you to commiserate with, or that have their shit together and you can learn from.
4. Explore Your Passions. I love writing, so when I didn’t get a job in writing, I found this blog. I joined a book club. To avoid the depression that comes from realizing you won’t necessarily get the dream job in publishing or fashion or whatever that you always thought you would have, find an outlet for that passion. Even if it doesn’t pay or if it couldn’t necessarily lead to a job, it’s going to keep you sane. And keep you sharp!
5. Don’t Compare. Some of your friends will get a perfect job. Some of your friends will go to law school. Some of your friends will get married and buy houses. You’ll have to work really, really hard to not compare your life to theirs. And I guarantee you will be doing better than many people you know, even if you don’t see it. Try your hardest not to compare, but rather just observe. You’ll get to where you’re going.
[Lead image via Ann Haritonenko/Shutterstock]