1. You’re going to drift apart from some of the people you thought you’d never drift apart from. No matter how much work you put into keeping your friendships together, some of them simply won’t survive in the real world and that is going to break your heart. But it’s also going to make you appreciate the strength of the ones that do pull through.
2. You’re going to land your first full-time job and realize just how much your life is tied up in what you do to make a living. This is going to radically change the way you look at everything, whether it’s for better or for worse.
3. You’re going to be lonely. You’re going to find yourself trapped in the no-mans-land of having lost your college community but feeling wholly unsure of how to go about making friends as an adult. It’s going to feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll learn to navigate the discomfort with time.
4. The dating game as you know is going to change entirely. Falling in love is no longer about sharing class notes and showing up to all the same parties. Now it’s a never-ending revolving door of vulgar apps, first dates and infinite options. It’s going to be exhausting and you may temporarily lose all faith in love.
5. No matter what grades you got or how hard you work or how many all-nighters you pull, you are not exempt from failure. It can and it will happen to you.
6. When failure does come around, some of the people you love are going to disappear on you. Other ones are going to move closer than ever and you’re going to realize exactly whom you can rely on when all the stakes are down.
7. You’ll have to re-define your definition of the word ‘community.’ It used to mean friends, professors, bosses, mentors, coworkers, acquaintances and neighbors. Now it means a few close friends and colleagues. It’s going to be smaller but not necessarily worse. Just different – and different is okay.
8. At some point, you’re going to feel like you’re entire life is suffocating you – like you were meant for big, huge things but somehow fell into a hole and got stuck along the way.
9. At other points, you’re going to feel vastly under qualified to live your own life – like the shoes you’ve been given are too big for you to fill and you’re sure it’s only a matter of time before someone catches on.
10. Money is going to take on an entirely different meaning. Even if you worked and supported yourself all through college, you’ll be shocked by just how expensive adult life is. You’ll feel like you simultaneously have all and none of the money in the world.
11. Some of the people who you thought would go nowhere professionally will end up succeeding with flying colors. Some of the people you thought would dominate the workforce will fall flat on their face. There’s almost no way to tell who success is going to visit and it’s a sobering, equalizing experience.
12. Your family is going to become more important than you could ever have imagined. If you’re lucky, they’re going to be the main people you can rely on to be there for you when you fall. And you’ll grow to appreciate that in ways you never did before.
13. You’re going to feel jealous of your friends – for having jobs, for having significant others, for having things figured out in all the ways you don’t. At other times, your friends are going to feel jealous of you. This is natural. This is just the way it goes in your twenties.
14. You’re going to find yourself forming surprisingly strong connections with completely unexpected people. You’ll learn that friendships crop up in the strangest places after college and to never write someone off without first getting to know them.
15. You’re going to feel both a little too old and a little too young for everything. Too old for parties but too young for happy hour. Too old for sweatpants but too young for blazers. Too old for college but too young to have a full-fledged career. You’re going to feel hopelessly stuck in the no-mans-land between youth and adulthood and it’s going to be a disorienting experience.
16. You’re going to feel lost at some point. And lost will no longer be a fun game of getting drunk and crying with your closest friends and roommates. Now it’s scary and debilitating and sad, and up to just you to figure out.
17. You’re going to feel found. You’ll feel found in the most unexpected places, with the most unexpected people and you’ll be genuinely surprised at the direction in which your life has gone. You’ll realize how much of happiness is reliant on purely unpredictable circumstances.
18. You’re going to miss college. No matter how much you swore you weren’t going to miss it, you’re going to.
19. Your life is almost definitely not going to go the way you want or expect it to after you graduate college. But if you’re lucky, it’ll go somewhere way better.