What No One Tells You About Life After College
"Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What's important is the action. You don't have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow."
- Carrie Fisher
Figuring out what you want to do with life is hard. And frankly, it’s always changing. What you want to do with your life at 22 will be different than what you want to do at 35 or 43. Heck, even day to day what we want might change!
Everything is surreal during college. And even though there can be terror professors, a huge pile of requirements, crazy bills to pay, and a nose-deep flood of responsibilities, it is still somehow a comfortable and fun life.
First, you must know that after college it isn’t just the world watching you, you’ll be seeing yourself in a detached way somehow until reality sets in.
Another reality is, there will be those sets of people who await you to fail, they are vultures who feed on human happiness and suck the drive out of you. But never fail; it’s one way to combat these vultures.
I’ve been out of college for years and the truth is, there are some things that no one bothers to tell you about life after graduation. I may not have gathered all the wisdom of the world but I’ve learned some life lessons the hard way, which helped shape these thoughts. So here we go.
Finding jobs is a grueling process
Not just because jobs are sparse but because you are still fighting with reality.
Some are lucky and get offered a job right after college, and Some are not so lucky. For the latter, the path will not be paved. Remember, if you graduate today, even with honors or some distinction, then so are a thousand others. What will define you will be your perseverance.
Send out resumes and get into interviews. Back then when I started freelancing, I sent out more than ten resumes to different companies even out of my line until I landed my first job. And during this handing out process, you will always meet haughty people who will look down on fresh graduates like they’re incapable. Smile, they have the problem, you don’t.
There’s no room for being choosy
In reality, employers will always look for experience. And it’s one thing a college graduate doesn’t have. Once you are offered a reasonable job, take it. Take note of the word reasonable. Acceptable pay and acceptable workload.
You can’t get the right to CEO position after college. You have to work for it, for years even. Unless you’re with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg who skipped graduating from college for Facebook. But he can be an inspiration too; you can get on with your current job but work on your startup.
You’ll start low. And just accept it.
Your degree and your personality are your best assets as of the moment
You may not have the experience but you have your degree. That’s what will make you unique when you pair it with a persevering personality. Dress well and carry yourself well. Venture into your related industries but be never afraid to apply outside your comfort zone.
Vultures are everywhere
Well, if you have a very good boss, you are lucky :love
My previous boss was the first vulture I know. And after that, I realized the world can never be free of them, so laugh about it. You can never change them but you can be careful not to turn into these people someday.
These vultures may come in the form of your officemates who will pounce at you. They can be your boss. That haughty customer. Or that demanding client.
Patience is the key. These experiences with these people will be your springboard to success someday. A sheltered experience in a very ideal job isn’t ideal at all. Remember a knife needs a rough surface to sharpen.
When you get a job, immerse your heart in it
You can’t do a job effectively if your heart isn’t in it. Even though it will not be your job forever, you need to realize that not loving what you do will make all your work hard and heavy.
You may loathe your boss or that nosy lady in the next cubicle but at least try to like what’s in front of you. Put your heart into that note you are typing, even though it’s just the usual encoding job or smile while you’re filing those files.
Flexibility is needed for success
Your workplace is a community. Try to understand them. Be reasonable but never condescending. Learn to be with people. Remember that workplaces draw an entirely different environment from a classroom. College classrooms can be a haven of various personalities. But the workplace is a haven of different personalities with a far heavier life load, different age gaps, and different mindsets.
Learn to blend in but never lose yourself in the process.
A reward after a month’s work is needed
You can’t work all year long without some compensation. Save for a monthly reward. Be it a pair of shoes, a new phone or a painting you want; give it to yourself. A reward-less venture will tax you and will make you feel uncompensated.
But of course, this should come after you have paid out your monthly dues. Meaning you have to make your salary last for a month and avoid unnecessary expenses like that discounted gadget online. Just because you save something from the deal doesn’t mean you need to buy it.
Saving for travel is vital
Starting jobs may not yield that airfare yet. But after you get settled and you get the feel of a full-time job or even after transferring to a financially rewarding job, you need to save for travels. Travel is what makes people complete. Not that cross-country travel; go for an overseas vacation.
Not only is travel to a strange place exciting, but it’s also fulfilling. Meeting new people, seeing new places, and leaving behind your work desk is simply amazing. And take a day off from travel guides, take a map and explore.
Everyone has a story, listen
The world is a book. Every person you meet has a story to tell. Once people open up, don’t hurry and try to get your story heard first. Listen first and tell later. In the pacing of the world today, a listening ear is hard to find. Listening to what people have to say, no matter how little or how trivial, is forging an eternal trust.
But It’s not as magical as you thought it would be. It’s really hard
Surprisingly, the initial freedom of post-grad life is overwhelming. Without the structure of school, schedules, and assignments, I remember, I found myself floundering a lot of the time. I didn’t know what to do with myself and so I often found myself alone with nothing and no one, but my thoughts and fears.
No one tells you how lonely it is to leave your friends behind. No one tells you how much you’ll miss your favorite professors. No one tells you that maybe, along the way, you had fallen in love with schooling and learning.
Worst of all, no one at college prepares you for what the job search is like. All those courses and internships and hours you spent sitting at those tables with career services advisors can’t possibly prepare you for the inevitable heartache and overwhelming pain of rejection after rejection.
So you’ll beat yourself up a lot because you’ll feel like a failure. You won’t understand why you keep facing rejection. You won’t understand what you’re doing wrong. You’ll be angry and bitter and wish you had not wasted four years and thousands of dollars on an education.
You’ll be tired and exhausted and worry about what is going to happen when that first bill comes in the mail. No one tells you that your first few months out of college are spent in “survival mode.” You’re trying to learn how to live again. You’re learning how to survive as an adult. It’s a really big, really hard transition to make.
And it’s perfectly okay to struggle for a while.
Being an adult is not glamorous
It usually doesn’t involve the handsome husband and the brand new starter home and the shiny car you imagined as a young adult.
It involves a lot of bills and work responsibilities. It involves a lengthy commute and boring hour-long meetings. There’s a lot of housekeeping involved and cooking and cleaning and finally a lot of sitting around the house.
You don’t have as much energy or free time and so you don’t see your friends so much anymore. You don’t spend each weekend in a cloudy, alcohol-induced haze. Eventually, it becomes a chore to go to the bar. You don’t want to party. Instead, you want to stay at home and cuddle with your husband. (Only if he has time for you ) otherwise have a pet.
The truth is that life after graduation can be boring most of the time
And if you want your life to be interesting and fun you have to work to make it that way. You have to find things that make life worth living. You have to explore and be creative. You have to put your talents to good use. You have to make a concentrated effort to work for more than what most people are willing to settle for.
PS: (Depends from person to person)
Because Nobody Cares What You Do
This might seem depressing at first. As a child, there was probably a lot of pressure on you to do something. You may have thought a lot about success and failure and what you would “become.”
When you’re an adult, nobody cares what you do. Everyone is wrapped up in their drama or raising other young kids.
It might feel strange at first not to be the focus of that attention, but it’s also liberating. Try something and fail. Make a few mistakes. Learn something you think you’ll suck at, just because. Eat at a restaurant by yourself. Buy a raunchy book .
The real world is the ultimate classroom
You learn a lot about yourself. You learn what makes you happy. You learn what you’re good at. You learn what you’re bad at too and even what you hate. You learn what issues are important to you. You learn about dozens of other people. You learn how to have healthy relationships and how to manage family troubles and take care of other living things. You learn empathy and compassion too.
Each crappy job and each crappy relationship or friendship teaches you more about what you want and what you don’t want out of life.
At first, you will stumble
But with each step, you’ll find yourself getting closer and closer to where you’re supposed to be
And most importantly you learn that life is not a staircase or a ladder or a series of perfectly synchronized steps, but a winding road with branches and forks and deadends.
Each part of your journey is important. Each adventure teaches you valuable lessons and each struggle makes you that much stronger.
Most importantly, no one tells you originally that it gets better
It may take a while.
Years if I’m being honest.
But you eventually learn how to navigate this world as a lifelong learner and not just as a student.
You learn how to be an employee, a writer, a traveler, a wife, a mother, an activist, or whatever it is you want to be one day.
You learn that there is beauty in everything. You learn that you are strong.
Most importantly, you learn that life is what you make of it.❤️
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