So, you've finally graduated!
After four (or more!) years of hard work, you're all done. You should be elated, and you are. But you might also feel a little down. And that's totally normal.
My stepdaughter just graduated from college this past weekend. And she and I were talking a few weeks ago about how sad college graduation can be. On the one hand, you want to be done. You should be done and ready to move on. But it's hard to watch your friends go off in different directions. And it's just plain sad to leave to leave behind the college way of life.
And this is just the beginning. Be prepared: Your first year out of college can be tough one. Nobody ever really tells you that. Now, I don't want to make it sound like life after college is just one big bummer. It's definitely not. But if you're struggling a little to adjust in the next year, know that you're not alone.
When fall rolls around and you don't go back to class for the first time in your life, it feels weird. If you've started your first job you might think, "Wow, I'm really going to do this every day for the rest of my life?!" Don't panic — this feeling should pass by December when you realize:
- You're making money now, not just spending it — and that's kinda fun;
- You don't have to stay up half the night studying for finals.
But when mid-winter hits, things start to feel strange again. In college you get a little life shake-up every semester. New classes, new faces. You get to start over in a way. Out of college, life just kind of rolls on. Again, don't worry. It's something you really will get used to, and eventually you'll appreciate things about the post-college world that seem strange now.
At some point during your first year out of college, you'll probably really miss the social atmosphere of college, with friends your age who share your interests living all around you. Once you've graduated, you'll have to work a little harder to make friends and find things to do. You'll probably find some friends at work, but also try volunteering, joining a club, taking a class for fun or joining a gym.
For me, at least, once that first year passed, so did my nostalgia for all things college-related. I started getting used to the working world, and I really liked it. I had a new group of friends to have fun with, even if it wasn't the 24/7 togetherness of college. In short, I started enjoying my grown-up life quite a bit.
For those of you who graduated a year or more ago, what has your post-college experience been like? Any advice for the new grads?