Congratulations! You made it. You finally graduated college. Between actually applying for graduation to ceremonies to parties filled with family and friends, these are the moments that make all those all-nighters, last minute papers, and torturous professors worth it. But what happens after? It’s a question that you will be asked over and over again by everyone you are close to and those that you have barely just met. Will it be graduate school? Do you have a job lined up? Where will you be living? And if you are in a relationship, just wait: the questions about that aspect of your life will come rolling in too. Are you two going to get married? Will you break up?
I have been guilty of asking these same questions on more than one occasion. It’s only natural; after all, humans are curious beings. But when the ceremonies and celebrations end, and the questions die down, what really is next? These are the 3 stages of life after graduation:
1. You’ll find that even if you have a plan before you graduate, life simply cannot always be planned:
This was a hard one for me. I was always the girl with a plan. Even if the plan changed, I always had a new one waiting in the wings. You may have planned to attend graduate school, but you may not have planned to legitimately hate it. You may have planned to get a job but planning to get one is a lot different from actually finding one. You may have planned to stay with the man you love, but you may not have planned on being offered your dream job three thousand miles away. Whatever you may not have planned won’t be easy. Life just isn’t easy. But life is also a lot like Christmas morning: the best gifts are the ones you never expected.
2. You will get so discouraged that it seems as if you will be stuck forever:
How is the job hunt going? How was your interview? Did you get hired yet? These are even more questions that will continue as time marches on. Eventually, it starts to wear away at your confidence and your hope. You may have felt that the interview for your dream job went incredibly, and, yet, you still may not be the most qualified candidate. It is hard to hear rejection over and over again. But you must remember that you can’t stop now. Giving up isn’t an option. You need a job. You need an education. Pick yourself up again and keep trying to accomplish whatever you are working towards. You’ll get there, and you’ll learn about how strong you are along the way.
3. You’ll finally realize that the future is incredibly important, but it is never guaranteed, so you have to stop waiting for the next step, and enjoy what is here now:
If you are always waiting by the phone, life will pass you by. Be persistent in trying to reach your next step, but do not let it consume you. Put the phone away at night, and do something you have never done in the city you live with someone you love. Your city could soon change. You may not have the love of your life or your friends or your family around you forever. Take advantage of the time you have. Pull up Yelp or Groupon and go on an adventure. You’re supposed to enjoy your youth, right? So, go enjoy it before you’re tied to the responsibility that you have worked so hard to gain.