So you’re either going through senioritis or you’ve recently graduated from college and it’s finally sunk in. Now what? This question usually hits around the same time you’re feeling “I miss being in college I wish I was still there.” Things will never be like how they were in college and this is a harsh reality that we have to eventually accept. The sooner we accept this, the better we can focus on creating an amazing future for ourselves. I had an amazing college experience (Go Noles!) with amazing professors, but there were honestly some things that I wish they would’ve mentioned to us especially in our last semesters at University.
Believe it or not- there IS a life after college and although it can be very scary, there are more options than ever with what you can do with your life. This all comes with learning to trust yourself over time.
It’s okay if you don’t have your ideal job right out of college.
Honestly, this is something that I definitely had the expectation of even before I graduated. I attended career fairs my Sophomore, Junior and Senior year, all in the hopes that it would lock down a concrete job for me before I even graduated. I know I’m smart, and I believe in myself so why didn’t this happen? Well, for one I changed my major 3 times throughout college. The result of what happens when you make 18-year-olds choose their careers for the rest of their lives!!
My point is that I had high expectations that I would find a great job that offers a more than decent salary, and to my disappointment did not happen. It took me time to realize this, but it’s okay. Until you gain real world experience, you might not get your dream job until a few years down the road, and if will likely take hard work and dedication for you to get there. I thought that a college degree was like a promised seat into Heaven but for a great full-time job. NOOOPE you’ll have to continue to work your ass off even after college if you want a comfortable future.
I do want to go ahead and give major props to the people who are able to achieve their dream job after college. That takes persistence, dedicate and probably some nights of saying no to Purgatory Thursdays to spend time on building your future. But for those who aren’t there yet, stay persistent, envision what you want your future to look like, and work your butt off saving money until you can get there.
Utilize the network you’ve built over the years.
When they told us to attend career fairs, join clubs, be involved- I 100% understand this now. And I wish that they were clearer as to how much this can help us in the future!
Right now, it is totally a job seekers market, but there are so many jobs, with so many people applying, it’s hard to say whether your resume will truly stand out. But if you have a colleague, family friend, sorority/ fraternity brother in an organization you would be interested in working for, utilize that! Having a referral from someone who’s already there can be your way into getting an interview (the hard part of finding a new job!)
Living at home may not be such a terrible idea.
I was so against this it’s not even funny. Not because I have a terrible relationship with my parents, but because I was over the city that I’ve lived in for over 20 years. I did not want to go back to the same city, with the same people, with the same things to do for another 20 years of my life. This horrified me with a feeling of being “stuck.” But, unless you’re applying for a program that encourages out-of-state or non-local people, there can be less of a chance that an employer will seriously consider you as a candidate. As a Recruiter for a little over a year, there was a common pattern of Hiring Managers at Fortune 500 companies that were resistant to even take 30 minutes for a phone screen with a non-local person. Until you figure out a realistic place for you to move where you have friends/ family, looking at where you already have a residence may not be a bad idea.
Did I mention the amount of money you can save? I now no longer live at home, but after college I moved back to the home town I swore I wouldn’t. But compared to what I’m paying for rent right now, I was able to save over $10,000 in the course of 13 months. Idk about chu but that is A LOOOOT of money that I am very thankful to have saved.
Life be expen$ive
As mentioned above, rent alone is really expensive, especially if you’re thinking of living in a some-what popular city. Living costs can vary depending on where you live (state, city, etc.) but overall, it adds up quicker than you think. After I realized how much my expenses were without even trying to be bougie, I became much more thankful for what my parents have been able to provide me my entire life.
What they don’t tell you during or when you’re about to get handed your degree is how difficult it can be to be financially independent right after college. In my opinion, having family that are willing to help you out is a huge plus after college. That can be financially, giving you a place to stay, offering to give you a referral or introduce you to higher-up people in their company take it! This ties in with utilizing your network, and you should definitely take advantage if you can.
Be able to say no to going out every night.
This is KEY especially if you just came from a party school that has themed nights every day of the week. Going out every night, or even multiple nights during the week is not a thing in real life. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t done this, because I 100% have, but after a couple of nights of coming back home at 2AM and waking up for work at 7AM you will see that being at work hungover does not compare to being hungover in class. You are unproductive, have trouble focusing, and you feel like you want to be in bed in the dark all day. Guarantee you’ll either be sleeping in your car or hugging the office toilet during lunch break.
Not only does your body feel like shit, but your wallet will be hurtinnnnn. Going out in a city that is not centered around college kids, or that doesn’t have great deals like college bars really adds up. Not to mention the Uber to get there, the dinner you should be eating before drinking, and the shots you’ll want to buy for everyone after your fourth drink and tips! That being said… you HAVE TO GET OVER FEELING FOMO. Once you do, and you realize it actually feels really nice to stay in, sleep more, not spend money (unless it’s on Uber Eats) and best of all not wake up hungover you will feel totally okay with saying no to going out.
Remember that this is not forever.
Still reminding myself this as my 20-something year old self. Your 20s are seriously the best years of your life. This is the time where you have the most freedom to do what you want, and what you think will make you happy. If you don’t like your first job, quit. If you want to live in another country, go! If you want to join the Peace Corps– by all means go for it if it means you are following your happiness.
And if you do find yourself feeling stuck and working for an organization that you aren’t feeling fulfilled, Google options, read Blogs, talk to your network, talk to family, tell everyone you know you want to be doing something else. Maybe even ask them what they think you would be good at. But it all starts with you making an effort to make a change. Do what you can control in the moment: make your money, save, don’t be foolish with spending and make that move to California you’ve always dreamed of. You’re only getting older 😉
If you’re going through a quarter-life crisis I feel you!!!
I realized this was a thing literally 2 weeks ago… and man it is real! College was simple, you went to class, went out during the week, went to football games, and repeated the next semester (put simply). But real life is WAY more complicated than that!
If your goal is to eventually financially support yourself, you will need to find a job that provides a steady income, you will need to be more selective when spending money, and you need to remain positive and hopeful that you will get past this crisis! At least that’s what I’m still telling myself… lol. Our 20-somethings aren’t just the best years of our lives because this is when we’ll look our best and have the most freedom, but this is also the time where we really discover our true higher selves, and build the foundation consisting of the morals, values, and spirituality we want to represent as we continue our journey adulting.