Even though I am not a recent graduate, there are times I think back to who I was then. I think of the path I took, who I am now, and all that has happened between. It is crazy to think back on life and see how some things change and how some things went exactly how I wanted. But there are still things I wish I knew when I was a young college graduate.
Everyone is in a different place
No matter how far you get from graduation, people are in different places. Some people jump right into the workforce and never look back. Some people take time off after college to find what they really want in life. Then there are others who get married and start a family. No matter what route you take after you graduate, it is okay. People are different, that doesn’t mean what you chose to do is wrong.
Pay attention to your finances
There are so many things that pop up finance-wise when you graduate and most of us are not prepared for it. There are new expenses like work clothes, groceries, and home decorations. There will also be new bills for cable, utilities, rent, and your student loans.
An important aspect to these things that I wish I knew beforehand are how easy it is to lower how much money you are putting out each month. Most of us go through a phase where we want everything new for our apartment, but we could easily find great steals at thrift shops and garage sales. We could also easily cut cable, be conscious of our use of electric and water, and try to refinance our loans. The extra money saved will go a long way!
Plans and paths are flexible
Maybe you have your whole life planned out after college, but it is important to remember that plans are not concrete. It also is great to remember that just because your degree is in one thing, doesn’t mean you can’t visit new paths. There are ways to help your new path by going back to school, extra training, or even internships! Having an internship after graduation is a great idea if you are not ready to commit to a specific job. Plans change along with ourselves. We will learn more and grow differently than who we were Freshman year of college. Don’t hold on too tight to your plan.
The job market can be tough
It is made out to believe once you have a degree you have a job but in reality, the job market can be tough. Even once you start applying the process can be long. You may send out hundreds of applications and only hear back from five places. Remember to not be discouraged and to keep applying.
Taking a breather is allowed
Graduating college is hard enough, now add in trying to find a job and adulting? It can be crazy and you can feel like you are overwhelmed but remind yourself it is okay to take a breather. Take a break from applying to jobs or graduate school and take a day for yourself. This goes for every situation. Always have a stress free day for yourself.
Family is important
When we are young and in our twenties we just have this itching feeling to get out. We want to be on our own and be adults, but when we do this we sometimes forget about our family. Set up a day that you call your family to catch up and let them know how you are. You will regret not doing it when you are ready to settle down and have a family of your own and haven’t kept a strong relationship with them.
Just like paths and plans, life changes. Personally, I spent 10 years in the classroom and decided to be a SAHM for a year. These things aren’t planned ahead of time. Marriage and kids happen. Careers and jobs change. Hardships happen. Life changes. You just have to be flexible and hang on for this crazy ride.