After the final essays are handed in and the ceremonies are over, there's just one thing left — you. No one ever warns you about how freaking terrifying it is to graduate from college. You may have thought that you had your life all figured out; that you were ready to take on the world one step at a time. But, when you actually get out into the real world, you're in for a real culture shock!
There are some many little things that change when you no longer live in that student bubble. From your best friends to your income, everything seems to just dwindle away. What's more, the whole world expects you to pick yourself up and get on with it. Yikes. Here are the things that you're likely to freak out about now.
15 That you might have picked the wrong major
The words 'well, it's too late now' spring to mind here. In truth, it's only after you've spent three years of your life studying philosophy that you start to reconsider your choice. You may wonder what the degree is really going to get you. Sadly, there's no guarantee that it will get you anything at all. After all, even the best degrees in the world don't mean that people get the jobs that they want.
While you may flit away the hours thinking about how you should have done it all differently, remember this: No one has a clue what they are doing. You may as well go ahead and do a degree that you adore and be happy, rather than doing something you hate and being miserable. Who would want to waste years of their life studying something they don't like?
14 Not knowing how to spend your time now
The rush at the end of college is kind of a massive deal. You have a million assignments to finish, exams to prep yourself for, and a whole load of other nonsense to deal with. Then, after your last deadline has gone, it all just kind of stops. It hits you from nowhere. Suddenly, you have absolutely nothing to do. Sure, you could apply for jobs and find a new place, but other than that, your days are free. Until someone wants to hire you, you have zero ways to spend your free time. It's a bizarre feeling, to say the least.
All that freedom feels like oblivion. You don't know what you should do with your time or how you should keep yourself busy. So, you spend most of your time watching Netflix and eating.
13 Failing to get that all-important 'Grad Job'
Ah, the elusive grad job. You were told that there would be a job waiting for you once you finished your degree, right? You were told that you would just waltz into a role that suited you. You were told that you would have any role that you wanted and that you could name your price too. Well, you were sadly lied to. The reality of the situation is that a tiny percentage get grad jobs.
For the rest of you guys, it's a hard, cold world out there. All of a sudden, you need to hustle your way into any job you can nab. All you know is that you need some cash ASAP and so you need to make sure that you get it. That means taking any job you're offered right away.
12 One of your bestie's being an overnight success
Not that you're jealous or anything but when one of your besties lands their dream job, it feels like a hard punch to the guts. Sure, you want to be as happy for them as possible. You want to congratulate them and tell them how very well you think they are doing. You want to smile, hug them, and let them know that you've got their back. But, for some reason that you can't quite control, you find it pretty much impossible to do any of the above. Instead, you muster a meek smile and say 'Oh, that's good'. Even you don't buy it.
The truth of the matter is that one of your pals totally will land that job. It's potluck as much as anything else. Still, when it happens, it's so very painful.
11 The fear that everyone is happier than you
And then, there's this other fear that you can't quite push out of your mind. While you're struggling like hell to get by, there's the horrid feeling that everyone else is all fine and dandy. After all, they seem that way! They smile and laugh when you see them. They are friendly and seem to be loving life. Well, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.... It's all fake. In all honesty, they feel just as you do about the state of things. Maybe they just don't want to say it.
Post-college life is hard for the very best of us. It doesn't matter how sorted we think we are, things are about to get way harder almost overnight. Luckily, this is just something that we all have to go through from time to time. It's not the big deal that you imagine it to be.
10 That you will be single forever
So, you stop thinking about your career and start thinking about something else. You might not be able to get your dream job, but surely you can get your dream person, right? Um, wrong. The modern world of dating is a truly awful place. What with apps and sites, there's hardly any way that you're going to meet someone authentic.
Since you're already in a state of despair, you have this 'all or nothing' mentality. That means that when you don't meet the one in an instant, you start to panic. You basically find yourself worrying that you will never ever meet the right person for you. You imagine a distant world where you are alone and sad while everyone else is coupled up and happy. Stop doing it to yourself. You know that's not right!
9 Having to pay back pesky loans
As soon as you graduate, your parents will be on your back about this one. For some reason, we know very little about the whole loan system and how it works until it's far too late. By then, we're in a place where there's no way we can go back. We've already committed. The idea of being in endless debt is one of the worst so far. You can barely cope with it once you start thinking about it!
The best way to deal with it is just to carry on like normal. There's no way you can pay back that loan yet, and so you will have to wait until you land that dream job. Oh well, at least it gives you time to figure out what you want to do with your life.
8 Getting a job in a bar to pay the rent
Finally, after several unsuccessful interviews, you realize that you're going to need some money as soon as possible. Holding out for your dream job just ain't going to cut it right now. You have bills to pay. You have rent to pay. You have your own mouth to feed too. The only way that you can do all of the above is by getting a job. Any job. You just need something to pay the bills until the right role comes along for you. So you start applying.
Don't panic. Most graduates end up working in a bar or a cafe or a cinema to pay the bills. It's totally normal and nothing to be ashamed of. At least you can say that you're making your own money and trying. There's nothing better than that.
7 Having to move back in with your folks
Eek. And then, the worst thing that could possibly happen, happens. When you finally run out of money and you've maxed out all your credit cards, it's time to face the truth of the matter. You are only left with one option, and it's the one that you've been avoiding for such a long time. You're going to have to move back into your parent's house for a while.
Remember, this is really not the big deal you think it is and it's by no means a backward step. The fact is that you can save some money, reassess the situation, and find the right way to move forward. Sure, it may not be the most fun you've ever had, but try to enjoy some time out at home. It will be easier than you think.
6 Living off noodles... not by choice
When times get really hard, and you're too ashamed to ask your folks for cold, hard cash, your diet drastically changes. Luckily for you, you can get some seriously cheap noodles for mere cents at the local store. That means that you can essentially sustain yourself for a months to come on less than nothing... Well, at least, it feels that way. After a few hot meals of noodles, you start to wonder when you will have tasty food again. You want steak. You want chips. You want a three-course meal! You get none of the above.
Make no mistakes, eating these things all of the time is nothing short of depressing. It's hard to handle. Just keep sight of the future. One day, you will look back on this hard time and be utterly proud that you made your way through it all. That's how strong you are and you know it.
5 Trying to understand the tax system
Why on earth did no one ever properly explain the tax system to you? There's so many forms, codes, and rules that you honestly just don't know where to start. When you finally do get a job, you're expected to instantly understand what all of the above means. It's no fun and no one seems to want to help you. Your boss, the HR dept, your co-workers... No one seems to have a spare moment to tell you what on earth is going on here.
So, you do what every other person would do in this situation. You turn to your oldest friend — Google. After a few searches, you think you've got a handle on what's going on here. Still, you wish that someone out there would just give you all the answers you need. This is some seriously hard work here.
4 Figuring out what career you want
The worst thing about graduating from college is the fact that everyone expects you to know what you want to do next. Um, nope. For the most part, college grads have no idea what they want to do. Unless you've already decided on a career, graduating college is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Now, you need to make a snap decision and choose what you want to do for the rest of your life. No big deal or anything like that.
Remember, when times get hard, you just need to keep moving forward. It doesn't matter what you do so long as you do something. The chances are that the right career for you will make itself known so long as you try things. So, go ahead, try something new now.
3 Falling out with college friends
Was college the only thing that you had in common? Now that a lot of your friends have moved away, things feel kind of... different. All of a sudden, they are a little odd and you don't really know how you can deal with them. People stop calling as much as they once did. They don't text you anymore. They don't even bother to like your pictures on Facebook. Something is very much amiss here and you know it.
Many people find that they fall out with their friends after college. There's something weird about this period and so it's only natural that there would be some casualties along the way. Still, keep in mind that you may well make up in the long term. Don't rule them out completely. Let them deal with this time themselves and then wait and see what happens. They may well be back again soon.
2 The dilemma of going to grad school
When you realize how terrible the job market is, you may start to feel like you're missing something. Many people out there feel the need to carry on studying so that they can get ahead of the game somehow. There's nothing wrong with that. However, you need to keep in mind that it will be no walk in the park. It will be tougher than you can imagine, and so you will need to be sure that it's what you want to do right away.
Applying to grad school usually happens before you graduate. The good news is that means that you have an entire year to make sure that it's the right move for you. Remember, you are young and have time to figure everything out. There's just no need to rush into anything.
1 Learning how to actually 'adult'
Finally, there's the whole 'adulting' thing to worry about. For the first time in your life, people will expect you to have a grasp on what's going on. There's no getting around things by saying that you're just a mere college student. Oh no, now that you have graduated, you've unwilling entered into a whole new chapter of your life. Welcome, it's going to be fun.
In all honesty, being a graduate isn't all that bad. Sure, you put a load of unwarranted pressure on yourself to do well, but you just need to chill out and let things happen. This is an exciting time when you get to figure out what you want to do, who you want to be, and where you see yourself going. Don't waste the time. Enjoy it and have a blast.
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