Rewind to your first day of college four years ago. You were a scared 18-year-old and hey, let’s face it, most likely cried when your parents left campus. Everything was foreign and you had no idea what the next couple of weeks or months held for you.
Now think about your graduation day that just passed. You cried because you begrudgingly left this familiar world of college and probably had to go back home with your parents. Funny, isn’t it?
Let me put myself in your shoes for a moment. Everything is happening all at once and you just want to hit a pause button on your life so you can take a step back and breathe. Or maybe even scream. In the back of your mind, you know that life is going to change. And no, you are not being dramatic. It’s unfortunately true. Your life will change.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing! As I pass my three-year graduation mark, I would love to share with you some valuable advice I wish I had when I graduated.
1. Reconnect with your high school friends
You were friends with them in high school for a reason. Yes, it’s no secret that you have lost touch with them over these last four years. But remember, friendships are cyclical by nature; they are constantly changing and evolving. Don’t be freaked out when your friendship is not the same as it was in high school. That’s normal. There’s an unbreakable bond between old friends. At the core, your friendship will always remain intact, but don’t be afraid to build on it as young adults.
2. You’ll meet people like you doing things you enjoy
This is simple advice, but it takes a while to fully resonate with a lot of people (including myself). You’ll soon be released into the real world and you’ll feel lonely sitting on the train wondering where the heck all the other 22-year-olds are. The beauty of college was that you were surrounded by people that were your age and who had similar interests. You’ll start to feel lost. You’ll see your Facebook friends going to brunch in the city and fancy bars and you’ll think that is what you are supposed to do. Be your own person. Do what makes you happy not what you think you should be doing to keep up with everyone else. Join a sports league, volunteer, go to concerts! Put yourself out there!
3. “When people show you who they are the first time, believe them”
This is my favorite Maya Angelou quote. Don’t let people manipulate you. Be careful about giving someone too many second chances. The reality is that people don’t change and you won’t be able to change them. If someone screwed you over a couple of years ago, what makes you think they aren’t going to do it again?
4. Cut people out of your life that don’t want to be in yours anymore
After you graduate, you will find that people’s lives will naturally go in different directions. This might make you want to try to hold onto a relationship you once had. Sometimes you’ll hold on a little too tight. Remember that relationships are two sided. You should never have to convince someone to be in your life. You only lose what you cling to and sometimes you have no choice but to let go. Surround yourself with people who value you; they’re lucky to have you.
5. A mind stretched my new experiences will never go back to old dimensions
If I could give you one rule for social media, it would be to STAY AWAY from Time Hop. Yes, most post-grads will admit to scrolling through their Facebook pictures to relive the “glory days.” But when you don’t live in the present, your mind will dwell on the past. Focus on creating new memories and cherishing old ones.
6. Confidence is key
Ageism exists in the workplace. Seasoned professions sometimes will see young college professionals as incompetent. Don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings. Prove them wrong. This advice is equally as important in social situations. Even if you do not exude an air of confidence, fake it till you make it! Walk into bars with your head held high as if you are the coolest person in the place! Walk up to someone you find attractive and just talk to them. What do you have to lose?
7. Stay in touch with college friends
You’ll make promises that you’ll FaceTime each other every day. You know this will never happen. I can’t emphasize how important it is to keep in touch with your friends from college. These are the people that know you best. They have grown with you over the last four years. They’ve seen you at your best and at your worst. They will be your friends forever.
8. Create boards on Pinterest
This will be a confusing time in your life. You thought you knew what direction your life was going and all the sudden you feel lost. Create Pinterest boards on quotes, places you want to travel and even the type of person you want to date! It’s important to visualize the life you want and work towards getting it.
9. Have fun
Just because you graduated doesn’t mean you should stop having fun. You’ll have a lot of spare time on the weekends when you graduate. It’s a very liberating feeling not to worry about homework and papers on the weekends. You have two days where you can do whatever you want. You will be working and making money, so don’t be afraid to spend it and enjoy yourself!
10. Don’t compare yourself to other people
One of my favorite professors from college gave my class an insightful lecture on leaving college. He described leaving college as getting off a boat. He explained that in a way, we have been on a boat with our classmates our entire life. After you graduate, you leave that boat. You’ll be forced to enter the real world where everyone else goes onto separate boats. You’ll see people from high school getting engaged on Facebook and you’ll wonder if you’re behind in life. Focus on yourself and your own goals. Trust your path.