If you had told me after five years of college that I wasn’t going to end up with a great life and no worries (Hakuna Matata), I would have laughed and hair flipped my way away from you.
Okay, just a tad bit dramatic but you can’t blame a girl for dreaming and thinking that once that hard work was over, that life was going to be slightly easy.
Life is not going to be perfect after college. There’s absolutely no way. Student loans are looming in your future. You have big decisions to make and your parents feel like you can make them on your own – when this happened, I had to sit down in a car lot and truly decide if I wanted to get my Jeep or not because they made no decision for me. It’s on me. It’s on you. You can’t just skip work like you could class because you’re being paid this time around. There are no more Wasted Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, and Friday through Sunday nonstop partying – unless you can really hang than kudos to you.
Essentially, you are in charge of your destiny but there are going to be a few roadblocks along the way. You can’t stop things from happening but you can decide on how you’re going to deal with them. There’s a positive in that.
I just wish someone had told me that college wasn’t the final stepping stone of learning. Every single day is a test. Every single day is a day of learning – it doesn’t just stop because you’re done.
Your GPA truly doesn’t matter
Unless you are off to grad school, this does not matter. Your GPA does not go into the interviews and answer the questions that you are presented with. Your GPA doesn’t do the work at the end of the day. Yes, it’s nice to see that 3.0 and above but don’t let that deter you if you are below that. In high school, it was a big deal and if you have scholarships, it’s definitely important but once you leave campus, it’s whatever. I’m being real with you – I’ve only been asked my GPA in one interview and that interview was one of those B2B businesses where they wanted to me go house to house to talk to AT&T customers… I did not do that and once I found out their real marketing plan, I was out. Nonetheless, I let my GPA stress me out and make me sick — don’t let that happen to you. Outside of school, you don’t have to worry about those numbers looming over your head. They don’t matter anymore. You don’t need to cry and stress anymore.
Everything will not be fine and dandy but that’s okay
Life isn’t perfect and you shouldn’t expect it to be perfect. Sometimes, we get stuck with this idea that everything is going to turn out exactly like we thought it would and it doesn’t — that’s okay. You should have expectations and you should have an idea of how things should be going but expect the unexpected. Everything will not always be fine and you’ll have to prepare for that. There might be months where you worry about if you can pay your rent or a bill or another month that you have an unexpected emergency and no funds to cover it, just remember to be ready. Nobody knows where they are going to end up, you can only expect and pray for the best. Just never get too down on yourself if things aren’t going your way. There will be rainy days and there will be sunny days. Just don’t go out in the world thinking that everything will always be okay.
You’re going to grow apart from people
Who would have thought this would happen after high school? We hear time and time again that you won’t always be friends with people from high school — totally wrong because most of my best friends are from high school. Once you graduate and everyone goes their separate ways, there is the possibility that you won’t talk to your college friends every single day and there’s the possibility that you will stop talking in general. People get busy and you’ll be busy. You’ll make time for the people that truly mean a lot to you, to be honest. And the friends you can’t keep up with, there is the chance that when you do get together it’ll be just like old times. Just don’t count on staying in touching with 100+ people and holding it against someone if they don’t text back because the adult world gets real.
Work can be challenging but leave if the environment is toxic
Many people feel obligated to stay at a job even if the people or environment is toxic. Once the challenges surpass interested and exciting and become tiresome and hard on your soul, you need to reevaluate. Don’t let that be you. Don’t allow such negativity to consume you and drain you of your energy. I think that’s one thing I had to learn that college would obviously never teach. I mean, you might have a great advisor or mentor to help you out and remove you from such a situation but not all of us are all that lucky. I have been stuck in a toxic environment and it’s not good for your health. The dread of going to work is not what those four years of college and tuition were for. I will always advise people to avoid bad situations and save their mental and physical health — your happiness is what matters at the end of a day, not your job.
I’m 2 years post-grad and I still feel like I’m learning something new every single day. There are challenges that present themselves every day and I’m not naive, I knew that would be the case. You just think that some things would be easier. You think you have less to worry about but more has been piled onto your plate at times.
College is not the best four years of your life, don’t let anyone tell you that. Yeah, those were great years but there is so much more to look forward to in life. Those four or so years might be some of the best to happen so far but I assure you that there is so much to look forward to.
If anything, I hope that you take from this post that you shouldn’t expect perfection. Just enjoy your life, the way that you want to live it. Remember your responsibilities and don’t let negative circumstances get you down. I have student loans, bills, rent, and a car payment. Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck but I get by. I’m actually getting by really well for the position that I am in. If you ever need to hear a post-grad story, I can go on and on. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, there’s been rain and thunderstorms thrown into the mix. But I’m learning and I’ll always be learning.
Enjoy post-grad life because it’s your forever life now. Don’t let the negative define you, build from that and do your thing in life.
Life’s a climb. But the view is great.
So much truth in this!! When I started college I thought my life would be awesome after graduating. That I could do whatever I want and be whatever I want. Obviously, I forgot the responsibilities than come with being an adult.
The responsibilities are what got me, too! I was so excited to stop taking midterms and finals that I didn’t think about the responsibilities.
Love your advice as a post grad for 2 years as well, I agree!
Caileigh (Odds + Ends Creative) says
Great post! I also learned that adult friendships are hella hard when you can’t just text them to go for impromptu coffee dates on campus. Scheduling in a social life is key.
I agree with this so much! Adult friendships can be hard to manage especially when everyone’s heading in different directions. Scheduling is such a big thing.
I can relate to this post so much! Everything you said…college is great but you have challenges after and if you get through the challenges then the rewards could be sweet.
Mary Leigh says
These are good reminders! It can be so easy to get caught up in the little things!
Life after college is not perfect! Far from it. College was the perfect part 🙂 You’re absolutely right, manage your expectations and keep working at it!
College was the perfect part! The part where we were in between being an adult and teenager. I’m looking forward to this adult life, though!
So much truth in this! I struggled through school because I hated it, but then I got in the real world and realized life was so much easier in school! You have a positive outlook, so you’ll go far!
So much easier in school! I think the one perk is no more studying and midterms. I just miss the wild stuff sometimes. The real world has its perks like no 8 AMs.
Zesty Olive says
Excellent article and observations! From someone who has 3 degrees – 1 Bachelor and 2 Masters – (hey I was smart enough to stop before diving into the PhD, which was on my list), I can certainly say life doesn’t get ~easier~ because of your degrees. There is more expectation from society and friends and family foisted on you with each level of “success” you achieve. Welcome to the world of personal responsibility! Sounds like you’re well on your way to figuring it out – way ahead of many of your peers! Best wishes to you. We’re cheering for you!
Congrats on all your degrees!! I wish I had that drive lol. It’s definitely an expectation I’m finding out and I’m always going to be proud of the achievement. Thanks for the good wishes!
Great post which I think many people can relate to.
I like this! Sure it kind of stresses me out even more because I’m about to graduate and I’m scared, but that’s okay. Thanks for your honesty!!!
Don’t stress!! It’s definitely different than college but the perk of no more studying is really nice! And, having everything figured out is never truly fun, imo. You’re still learning without tests in some ways.