10 Things You Learn After Graduation

hxdyl / (Shutterstock.com)
hxdyl / (Shutterstock.com)

1. How much college changed you.

You go in naive, shy, and ready to meet new people and learn new things, but you come out entirely different. After graduation, you quickly realize you are no longer the person you once were. You changed for the better—and maybe in several ways for the worse—but you learned a hell of a lot, not only about topics such as business and science but about life, where you are going, and the type of person you want to be. You go in with one group of friends and leave with another, realizing how entirely different you now are from one another. It changed you and it changed them, but you accept it and move forward.

2. Being a real person sucks.

As you grow up, everyone tells you to stay in school as long as you can. While you are there, you may not appreciate the hours you spend studying for a test, the mornings you are so hung over you can’t even move, the important Wednesday class that you skipped because your Tuesday night was much more than you could handle, but believe me when I say you will. Life post-grad is not all it is cracked up to be. Going to bed before it is dark out just to make sure you are up before the sun, hoping to make it to work on time never gets any easier or any more enjoyable; day after day it’s the same routine. While you are making money much faster than ever before, it seems to disappear faster than it appeared due to new expenses you never even knew existed.

3. When your parents cut you off, it’s the worst thing in the world.

The end of the world comes the day the privilege of owning a parent-paid credit card gets revoked. That little piece of plastic that was your lifeline for so long fades away and all you are left with is the wonderful memory of pointless purchases and carefree living. These are the types of things you will soon dream about, waking up crying as you realize everything comes at a price and often a price much more than you are ever willing to pay. Everything is not free, the credit card isn’t attached to Monopoly money and gas is way overpriced. It is horrible.

4. Living at home is the only way you will have money.

The past four years of your life were most likely spent living in a dorm, apartment, or house with a bunch of your closest friends. Ah, yes—those were the days but are now nothing more than a figment of your imagination. Once you leave those four years behind you realize with no job and no money your only choice is to head back home, and while you may fight that with every inch of your existence you will quickly appreciate that safe haven. Thank God for having a place to go where food is free and rent doesn’t exist. Thank God for mom and dad! Without this simple luxury, debt is something you will certainly learn too much about. Appreciate the offer, don’t fight it, and learn to pitch in. Be thankful for the opportunity to save any bit of money that you may or may not have. If you don’t appreciate it now, I promise you soon will.

5. Being single isn’t the end of the world.

It seems that if you look around everybody has somebody except you. All you friends are in serious relationships, posting pictures in love, getting engaged, and maybe even getting super-optimistic and popping out babies. Don’t fall into that trap. Graduating single does not mean there is something wrong with you; it does not mean you are going to be single for the rest of your life, even though you may think so at the time. This all simply means you are waiting for something better; it is out there. Stop looking so love can find you. Recognize this as a time to be independent, to see the world without having to tend to anyone, pursue your dreams and make a life for yourself. When you stop looking is when you find love—trust me ☺.

6. Your entire wardrobe is no longer applicable.

99% of your wardrobe immediately becomes inadmissible the minute you land yourself a job. You can no longer wear the short dresses that consume your closet; crop tops become extremely awkward in public because believe it or not, the world is not one giant college campus. The fewer clothes that you wear do not make you more attractive just as you once thought it did on a Friday night. While that may have gotten you laid, it will not land you a job, which sadly enough is all you really need at this point. Black pants and pencil skirts suddenly replace your skinny jeans and high-waisted shorts. Understand this now and embrace it in order to help prevent yourself from spiraling into an adult depression when this realization hits you hard.

7. Greek life affiliation is entirely irrelevant.

Four years at a college highly affiliated with Greek life definitely influences the experience you have, both good and bad. Participating in rush each year is like a girl’s Christmas and a guy’s worst nightmare. These affiliations create an invisible totem pole that way too many people follow. But after a year of affiliation you realize how little these labels matter and after you graduate you realize how nonexistent they really are. No one cares if you were an AXO or an Alpha Phi. No one cares if you were a part of FIJI or Phi Delt; it is all that same and all the same in a sense that it truly does not matter. The only attribute these affiliations brought you were a group of friends you will never forget and for that you can be thankful, but leave it there and quit the name-dropping.

8. Noon is no longer considered the morning.

With a full-time job comes the inevitable waking up at 7AM to get to your job by 8. It will be cold no matter what season it is or state you live in. It will most likely be dark and you will without a doubt feel groggy. Within the first week you will question why on Earth anyone feels the need to be up so early and wonder what sort of sick individual thought working for 9 hours a day starting at 8AM should be a thing. When you make some sort of sarcastic remark about how you shouldn’t be awake before noon, people will make fun of you. They will make fun of you and show zero sympathy, so I suggest biting your tongue to save yourself the embarrassment and unwanted lecture that you will without a doubt receive.

9. Drinking every day is considered alcoholism.

You are used to waking up every day, going to several classes (if you felt like it), and ending the day with an ice-cold beer or twenty. Monday and Tuesday became part of an extended weekend, Thursday became the new Friday, Friday the new Saturday, and Saturday was a day left entirely to drinking. This is no longer acceptable. Drinking every day is not considered cool and fun anymore. The new word for this excessive drinking action is “alcoholism.” Day drinking isn’t a thing anymore, especially during the week although you may be able to get away with it on the weekends if you muster up the energy to do so after working a 40-hour week.

10. Life goes on.

While college life as you know it is over, a new one is only beginning. You meet new people, experience new things, and find a new sense of independence. Your world is opened up to something entirely new just as it was as you first entered college. Look forward to the people you have not yet met and the experiences you have not yet conquered. Continue to strive to learn new things even though they are no longer required of you. Never forget the memories you made, but always remember there is room for new ones as well. TC mark

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