Dear graduating college seniors,
Only one month until graduation? Promise you’ll make the most of it. I know, I know. Easier said than done. With all those final exams and assignments, who has time to just have fun? But try your best to make time.
Hate to break it to you, but the grade you get on that history paper? No one will care five years from now — in fact, no one will care five months (or five minutes) from now. Think big picture: school will be over before you know it (a sad-but-true cliché). Then you’ll be like me — a year out of college and not knowing where the time went.
Seriously, it feels like just yesterday I was pulling all nighters, writing essays the day before they were due and living with my best friends. Of course I don’t miss writing 10 page papers, but I do miss sharing an apartment with some of my closest college pals.
Yes, you’ll stay friends with some of them, but it’s not the same. It’s not the same because you’ll go off in different directions. You’ll have your own job to worry about — because yes, you will get a job (more on that later) — and coordinating schedules is tiring and tricky. You’ll no longer be only a walk-across-campus away from each other.
Don’t worry, you can still visit campus if you’d like. There’s always Homecoming. You know, that day filled with tailgating and seeing friends who graduated before you. Except you’ll be the alum this time. It will be strange seeing the school that looks the same and like it hasn’t changed — but it has and so have you. And that’s a good thing.
Now, the subject you’re either dreading or eagerly awaiting (maybe both?) Jobs.
If you are in one of those majors where students have jobs lined up months in advance, congrats! That is a huge relief, right? But chances are, most of you are in the panicky place. You’re wondering, “What will I do now?”
Up until this point, you’ve had a pretty good idea about your next step. Pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, college… but after that, what happens next? It’s a big blank and open to anything your heart desires. That’s what they tell you, at least. And it’s true to an extent. What they don’t tell you is that job-hunting can be pretty depressing. It’s possible this will be a very low point for you.
Leaving behind the comfort of college is a huge transition. You go from being at the top of the pack to the bottom of the barrel, competing for positions with hundreds just like you. You wonder why no one hires you. It’s likely you’ll get a rejection (or 10) and that crushes your spirits. You may question your self-worth — why aren’t you good enough for this job where you thought you’d be a perfect fit? (Note: You are good enough. There are a million reasons why they chose someone else, and it’s possible it had nothing to do with you.)
Now time for the good news: everyone finds something. No, seriously! I’m not saying it will happen immediately, but it will happen eventually. There is a job out there for you. You just have to find it. When you do, it’ll be all the more worth it because you worked hard to get there.
Work is exhausting. A 9-5 job is time-consuming and a change from your college class schedule. But if you’re working in (or towards) a job you enjoy, you won’t mind — really. The “real world” isn’t as scary as everyone makes it seem. It’s exciting and liberating and full of endless possibilities.
Before you get there, focus on the present. Don’t worry about a job (remember, you will find one). Your biggest worry should be how to decorate your graduation cap. Stay up late just hanging out — not studying. Go on one last college adventure. Spend hours at the diner. Spend hours doing nothing but talking with friends. Because of course you can always go back to visit college, but you can’t go back in time.
Someone who was in your shoes a year ago.