1. Your friendships will never be the same.
For the last four years, you’ve lived within spitting distance of your best friends. You’ve split rent in apartments and houses and made dinner together every night. You’re used to having your friends close by. Now, things are going to change. People are moving for jobs or love or more school and you’re never going to live on the same street as your best friends ever again. That’s not to say you’re going to lose your friends, but there is going to be a period of adjustment.
2. You’re leaving the protective bubble of school.
When you’re in college, most things can be excused because you’re in college. You still have a shitty part-time job? It’s fine! You’re a student. You live in a less than spotless apartment? You’re busy with classes! Now, that excuse is gone. Time to get your life together.
3. Your first job out of college won’t be what you dream of.
Armed with your degree, you’re ready to take on the world – right? Well, chances are, your first post-grad job isn’t going to be what you worked so hard for. You might have to take a low-paying job to get more experience or you might have a boring part-time job while you apply for grad school. Still, that first post-grad job feels like a punch in the stomach.
4. Even though you thought you were ready for school to end, you’re going to mourn it.
You’ve had a countdown on your phone for the last year. You’re finally free from exams and papers and attendance points. So why does it feel so sad? Moving on from any stage of your life is hard and leaving college isn’t any different from that. You’re going to miss it. Let yourself.
5. You’re going to get too drunk and cry on the night of graduation – and it’s fine.
This is a huge milestone! It’s emotionally taxing. You’re looking back on your college years and celebrating and reminiscing and it’s totally normal to drink too many vodka sodas and cry in the back of a bar with your best friends. Don’t sweat it. Just fix your mascara afterwards.
6. You’re going to feel pressured to have your whole life figured out.
So you finished college. Now what? Whether it’s your parents or friends, everyone is going to be asking what’s next. It’s okay if you don’t know. You’re only 21. You have so much time.
7. You’re going to be absurdly jealous of everyone going back to school in the fall.
When you scroll through Instagrams of Welcome Week in the fall, you’re going to feel the most serious case of FOMO of your entire life. You want to be going back to school! It’s okay to feel this way.
8. You’re going to fail a lot in the next few years.
Armed with your newly minted Bachelor’s of Science, you’re going to apply for jobs. And, best case scenario, they at least e-mail you back to reject you. Worst case (and more commonly), there’s radio silence and you have to infer the rejection. You decide to take the GRE and apply to your dream graduate school programs. You’re so sure you’ll get in – you’ve always been successful in school! When the first rejection comes, you rip it up. When the second rejection comes, you can’t sleep. When the last rejection comes, you get drunk with your best friend and wonder if your life is over. Spoiler alert: it’s not. The only thing that failure says about you is that you tried to achieve something out of your comfort zone. So what that it didn’t work? Keep going. You’ll get there.
9. You’re going to grow up and wonder if you’re suddenly the most boring person on the face of the planet.
Now that you’re not in college, you don’t drink as much. You don’t go out for Thirsty Thursday or Taco Tuesday. You skip tailgating. What is it about graduating college that makes you suddenly age 10 years? Are you the lamest person ever? No. You’re just not in college anymore. When you’re not in that environment of constant partying and drinking, you don’t end up taking part in those activities as much. It’s fine. Take up a hobby that’s better for your body.
10. You’re going to be tested in ways more difficult and painful than you could imagine right now.
You’re sitting in your seat in the football stadium, surrounded by tens of thousands of other graduates. You throw your cap in the air and pop a bottle of champagne. You pose for pictures and laugh with your friends at your favorite college bar. Right now, the world seems so golden and full of promise. And it is. But you’re also in for some incredible heartache and grief. You’re going to look back at these days and wax poetic about how carefree they were. You’re going to miss every second of it. So for now, go enjoy it. You’ll be okay. Everything will be okay.