Getting close to graduating and wondering what the heck comes next? Here are the 7 most important things to know about life after college.
Life after college can be super overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what to expect. There are so many things that come up that make you feel totally unprepared for the real world.
The good news about life after college is that we are all just figuring it out as we go. There is no solid rulebook that shows us what the right things are. Unfortunately, there are some things you will just need to learn on your own.
However, as your self proclaimed fairy-grad-mother, I can warn you about a few things you should know as you prepare to graduate and plan for life after college.
This post will teach you the things you should know about life after college
7 Things You Should Know About Life After College
1. Your friendships will change
This was one of the first lessons I learned in life after college. There are so many changes that take place as soon as you graduate. You no longer live right down the hall from your best friend or share multiple classes with them. Friends start moving all over the place, start new jobs, and even get married.
Adult friendships require a new intentionality that you might not have had to have while in college. Sometimes, this even means you will lose some friends. As you continue growing, you will find your values and priorities will start to change and may not align with the friends you had in college.
Friendships changing doesn’t mean you are a bad friend or that you aren’t doing enough to make them last. However, there are a few things you can do to intentionally strengthen the friendships that do stay in your life.
- Send voice memos and texts to each other
- Plan FaceTime or dinner dates
- Schedule a once a week/month catch up call
- Plan trips to see each other at least once a year
2. You need to identify your values in life
Life after college may be the first time you don’t have any rules or structure in life. This can seem awesome at first but can quickly become overwhelming. It can be super easy to fall into a routine and habits you aren’t proud of and don’t love.
When you identify your values in life, you can start living in a way that honors those things. Life after college gives you complete independence to make all the choices in your life for yourself. Gone are the days when advisors are telling you what classes to take or professors are telling you when things are due.
If you realize you value community and relationships maybe that means you move to the city where you are in the mix of all the hustle and bustle. Maybe you decide health is a bigger priority to you than it was in college so you spend your time outside of work at the gym and cooking healthy foods.
Only you can determine what your values are but how you spend your time will determine if you are actually living them out.
Related: How to Create Core Values
3. You never actually stop learning
As I mentioned earlier, we’re all just trying to figure out this whole adulting thing. That means that we never really stop learning.
In your career, you will learn new things you didn’t get taught in school. You will develop a new skill set and ways of doing things that you might have thought you already knew.
In life, there are constantly new things to learn. As cheesy as it sounds, life really does become your classroom. You will learn how to file taxes, how to maintain a clean home, how to cook, and how to communicate in relationships.
Even still, you will make mistakes and have to learn from them. You will face difficult decisions and realize there is no right or wrong answer. But you will definitely learn from both.
4. Success looks different for everyone, determine what it means to you
This is a lesson I wish I learned sooner in life after college. So often, we are sold an idea of what success should look like for us. There is an unspoken timeline that it feels like we are racing against and if we aren’t reaching the predetermined milestones, we aren’t successful.
As soon as you possibly can, decide what success looks like for you. It doesn’t matter if you have to move back home after college if you have identified success as being close to your family.
Now that you have identified your values, you have a pretty good idea of what is most important to you. Using those values, figure out what success looks like to you.
Something I did to help me with this is to ask myself a few questions:
- Where do I want to be in 1, 5, 10, and 20 years?
- How do I want to feel in my everyday life?
- Is there anything I am doing now that does not contribute to those things or that I feel like I should be doing?
5. Figure out how you will handle money in life after college
It can be easy to feel like you have endless money with your first big girl job. Plus, it’s so easy to shop online these days, that your money can get away from you pretty fast.
Maybe the most important thing you can do for yourself in life after college is to figure out how you will handle your money. This will probably change a few times but I recommend starting with a basic budget and building an emergency fund.
Money is something that I am still figuring out at 26. However, this book has helped me significantly in better understanding my money mindset and spending patterns
6. Ask for help when you need it
No one expects you to have it all together in life after college. In fact, if I have learned anything at all post-grad, it’s that no one (not even the parents we thought knew everything) has it all together.
If there is something you are struggling with, ask for help. Adulthood throws a lot at you all at once. It is to be expected that you will have some questions!
It can be easy with social media to compare yourself to others and feel like you are behind. But the truth is, that is just a highlight reel and no one actually knows exactly what they are doing.
7. You are allowed to change your mind
This might be my favorite lesson for life after college. It is so freeing to remind yourself that nothing is permanent. You do not have to be the same person you were in the past. It is okay to realize you don’t actually want a job in the field you majored in. Or that you don’t like where you live or how you are spending your time.
At any given point, you can change your mind and actions. I always say I am not the same person I was at 21 or 23 or even 25. There have been so many different versions of myself with different dreams, values, and ideas that I no longer resonate with. And isn’t it awesome that we don’t have to stay the same?!
This post was all about the things no one tells you about life after college.
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