“Crazy how comfortable you get as 4 years go by. Then you gotta jump into the real world. A new environment. A new life. Don’t be afraid of the jump. The jump is just a new beginning!”- Anonymous
First and foremost, congratulations on making it through college and receiving a degree in a field that you hope will bring you joy, happiness, and financial stability. Congratulations for pushing through countless papers, staying up until the early morning completing that assignment that you procrastinated on for a full weekend (if not longer), and for creating some of the greatest memories to date. You are free, for the next six months, to adventure and grow into the adult that you were meant to be. Congratulations on sliding into adulthood with two feet forward and continuing to better yourself and the people around you.
Good. Now with that said:
IT’S A TRAP! TURN AROUND AND GO BACK!
Okay, maybe it is not a trap. Maybe it is just a large black hole that you are continuing to fall down and cannot seem to find the string to pull your parachute to help you land safely without crashing and burning. Yeah. That sounds more like it.
Graduating college has a similar timeline as grieving. First is shock. You did it! Your family and friends are congratulating you and you cannot get enough of the feeling of accomplishment. Soon after, you start feeling pain. Pain from leaving the town that you grew to love. Pain from leaving your friends and professors that you have become so close with. This pain takes over the feeling of shock quickly as you watch the empire you built for the past four to five years crumble. Within a week, you forget about the pain that you held in your heart and begin to become angry or bargain for your college life back. You start to think over the past five years and think about mistakes you made, things you could have done better and really feel ashamed of the opportunities you did not capitalize on. You are not angry at the university or the people around you, just yourself. You also become angry at the amount of job applications being sent out with hopes of a promising career, but you sit by the phone day after day anxiously waiting for the employer to call. You become angry with the career path you chose and angry with your efforts. Don’t be alarmed when the university sends out your college bill almost immediately after graduation, because this will make you even more angry and on the verge of tears. This quickly turns into a depression. Another name for this is ‘Bing-watching Netflix because you can’t even afford to get coffee with a friend.’ You begin to believe that you will never get a job. That you should have started grad school right away. You start calculating your student loan payments and start thinking about new ways to produce income because you are realizing that watching Netflix all day will not make you a penny. You become reluctant to people offering support and offering money. You believe that you can do this on your own! Once you are done loathing on your self pity and want to move on, you begin the upward turn out of depression and get back on that horse. You may only sit in a bing-watching state for a week before making your turn upward. You become so angry that you decide to apply to everything and anything because you can, because you have a college degree and because you want to make a difference in people’s lives. Onto the next stage of reconstruction and hope, you get a phone call, or two or even three! YES! Finally someone has shown me the light! Someone believes in me! Someone is going to be my parachute and make sure that I am going to be okay. You are excited to set up interviews, ready to talk about yourself and accept a job or an opportunity. You are going to grad school. Whatever it is, you have made it and your jump is becoming less scary and more exciting. You accept that you are growing up and you are ready to take on the world, similar to the day you walked across that stage and shook the president’s hand.
You are ready!
To be honest, college graduate. You won’t get the job of your dreams right away. You need to accept that you cannot run a company or manage a group of adults fresh out of college. Create a name. Create a ‘brand’. Sculpt yourself and make sure you are the best you can be. You are an adult and your decisions will be with you for the rest of your life. You cannot fall back on your parents or on your lack of knowledge because that is no longer an excuse, and that’s okay! Make mistakes! Enjoy this opportunity that you are given and make it worth every ounce of energy you have. Take care of those around you, your work colleagues and more importantly, take care your yourself and your interpersonal being. You can do this college grad. You have been given the tools and the materials necessary. Now go build a life worth living!