1. You’re not the only one who’s scared about this. Big change is a lot like reaching the top of a roller coaster. It’s exciting and you’re full of adrenaline, but it can be downright frightening to not know what’s about to happen next.
2. Being nervous about something means you care about it. That’s a good thing.
3. Your first job is just that, your first job. It doesn’t have to be *cue Hilary Duff* what dreams are made of. Getting a paycheck is exciting. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.
4. It’s just as brave taking a 9-5 to support yourself financially as it is following your childhood dreams.
5. Things take time. You can’t always rush to the next part.
6. Your goals are going to constantly change. Your passions might evolve too. You’re not required to love the same thing you loved five years ago, two years ago, or even a month ago. Give yourself permission to try new things.
7. You don’t have to work in the field you got your degree in.
8. You’re going to lose touch with some of those friends you made the past four years. It sucks, but that’s a natural part of life. The good news? The people who are meant to stay in your life will stick around. And those friendships will be so deep and meaningful.
9. Write a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to any professors or mentors who really shaped you during college.
10. You don’t have to travel the world to expand your horizons.
11. But if you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity, go explore. Try different foods. Learn a new language. Get to know another culture.
12. Dating never stops being kind of terrifying. But that’s okay! We’re all equally freaked out by it.
13. You don’t have to date just because it seems like everyone around you is coupled off. There is an empowering freedom in being single and figuring out who you are.
14. But don’t push away love. Taking a chance on someone means allowing a level of vulnerability that can be really scary. But scary doesn’t mean bad.
15. Your heart is going to break in various ways: from romance gone wrong, from nauseating disappointments, from people you thought you could trust, etc.
16. But each pain is valid. You’ll learn something about yourself every time your heart is forced to bounce back.
17. Cut yourself some slack.
18. Remember you’re a human being. That means you’re going to make mistakes. That doesn’t make you a monster. That means you’re, well, human.
19. You’re not in competition with the people on your Facebook timeline.
20. Stop constantly checking up on that one ex through social media. I promise, it will never end with you feeling good about life and yourself. Just block them and move on.
21. Hangovers get increasingly worse as you age. Know your limits. There’s nothing wrong with nursing a tonic water from time to time.
22. If you’re on a tight budget right now, you can’t afford that puppy you keep dreaming about. I’m sorry. Tough love, kid.
23. It’s not selfish to root for yourself. It’s necessary.
24. Be kind to everyone you meet.
25. Networking doesn’t have to feel fake. Don’t just approach the people who have something you want, take an active interest in people. In all people.
26. Get that haircut you’ve always wanted, but weren’t sure you could pull off. It’ll make you feel like a badass. And if it sucks? It’s hair. It’ll grow back. It’s not like you made a permanent change.
27. Put aside money in your savings account and DO. NOT. TOUCH. IT.
28. Make time for the people who genuinely love and support you. Make sure they know it’s reciprocated.
29. Carve out time for yourself. In the real world, everything can feel like it’s going by at such turbo speed that we forget to check in with ourselves. Listen to your body. Unplug when you need to.
30. Try to get 20-30 minutes of exercise every single day. This is good advice for everyone, but especially after college. You probably picked up some (not great) habits during all those all-nighters that you need to break while your metabolism is still young.
31. If things feel too hard, ask for help. You’re not expected to do life all on your own. That’s the purpose of society — we’re all in this together.
32. The best years aren’t behind you. You just ended one chapter. You have so many more to write.
33. And lastly, don’t forget to just breathe. You’re going to be okay. You’ve got this.