7 Realizations You’ll Inevitably Have After Graduating College

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As a relatively recent graduate and eager twenty-something year old on a mission to get ahold of her life, I have finally come to terms with these seven undeniable realizations after college.

1. It is O.K. to move back in with the parents. Temporarily.

As if a full-time position as a college student isn’t enough stress on its own, throw in extracurricular activities, adult-like responsibilities, and the social life of a nonstop juggling circus act. Now, top it all off with a job. If you’re like me, the money part of college got swept to the back-burner. Where does that land a poor student after graduation? Back in a spare bedroom with the parents. But nothing beats moving back home like free rent, which allows just enough time to save up for that luxurious (we are still dreamers) studio apartment.

2. The dream job might not happen right away.

The time, money and sweat that go into the four or so years of college are still not enough to snag the dream job. But, congrats on the degree! As Drake so kindly points out, we must start from the bottom. Whether this be an entry level position or an unfortunate graveyard shift, take it. As stated above, chances are a steady income will be needed.

3. New excuses must be made for all tendencies that were heretofore written off as “because-I’m-in-college.”

Now that studying and cramming for tests are a thing of the past, the traditions that helped deal with such “stress” should no longer be practiced…right? Wrong. We must simply find new excuses. Let’s face it, habits are habits. Junk food will always be delicious; drinking on weeknights will never cease to entertain; procrastination is not going anywhere.

4. Never underestimate the power of networking.

After college comes the inevitable “real world” of big bosses and sophisticated businessmen. How do we get them to notice our fancy resumes and perfected cover letters? We don’t. Other people do: professors, employers, impressive connections. The networking that was done in college is undoubtedly used to find and nail career opportunities after graduation. Either nurture those relationships over time or start building them now.

5. Professional colleagues are just as gossipy as they were in high school.

Once you graciously accept that first job offer (no matter how long it took or how many other applications were submitted before it), do not be surprised when you realize you’ve entered high school all over again. As the newbie, get ready for personal interrogations about your relationships, favorite pastimes, eating habits, and pretty much everything else about your life. Also be ready for that information to quickly get passed around through the hierarchy of your workplace, infused with 100% judgment. But alas, they will become your beloved second family.

6. Student loans become a reality all too quickly.

And by “too quickly” I mean impossibly, hopelessly, insufferably fast. Depending on the type of loan and amount accumulated, running for the hills might seem like the best option. However, it is essential to realize options such as income-based payments, community service, and temporary deferment make the loans more tolerable. If all else fails, refer back to the habits mentioned in number three.

7. Days must be taken one step at a time (Shouldn’t I be in Germany right now?).

Life after college is one big confusion that leaves us to decide what we want, what should be done, and what to actually do. Accepting what is rather than what was going to be is essential. Despite the fact that I had detailed plans to travel the world and spend every penny on new foreign memories, I have instead found my temporary happiness by taking on one day at a time. It is important to accept the fact that while we might not currently reside in the beautiful streets of Berlin, there are a hell of a lot of other things to be thankful for. Like that luxurious studio apartment that was so graciously saved up for. TC mark

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