That is the one question I asked myself after college, "what is next?" It that uncertainty that is simply terrifying to think about and grasp. Graduating from college can be one of the best moments in your life. I remember watching movies like "Legally Blonde" and admiring Elle Woods for chasing her dream and pursuing her educational career. It's a huge milestone, something that your parents drill into your mind since kindergarten, least mine did.
I remember the pressure of excelling in high-school because it was constantly mentioned, without good grades you won't get into your proper college. As if the world would end if you didn't get into the college of your choice, quite dramatic, but that is how it felt at the time.
When I got accepted at Concordia University Chicago I was so thrilled. It was amazing to be able to check that life goal off my list. I loved being there for the 4 years that I spent there. I learned so much about myself, what I wanted to do, and I met friends that will last a lifetime.
Then I graduated...and it was like okay what now?
What happens when that one thing you prepared for has been completed? That's the grey area that so many people go through because life completely changes once you graduate from college.
I was pretty independent once I graduated. In fact, my parents were like you are on your own, time to spread your wings and fly. Which frankly, can be a scary thing, especially when you haven't mentally prepared for that yet. Luckily, my best friend and I rented an apartment together in the city right after college. I recommend navigating that hard 'after college' faze with someone close to you. It makes things so much easier. We rented a cute little garden unit, ate from cereal boxes, and watched Netflix until our hearts were content.
Some advice I have for you. Remember, your fridge will probably never be stocked the first year that you graduate. I think we only had condiments, wine (barefoot), and lettuce in our fridge for months, and that is okay!
You may not live in your dream home but you can live in your dream location. My best friend and I knew we wanted to live on our own after college. Some people decide to move back home and that too is okay. However, we wanted to take a different route. We knew we wanted to live in the city, without a city budget (we didn't fully have secure jobs) but we took a leap of faith. Garden units are not always the best, but it was a roof over our head and that is all we needed. Sure, we experienced a couple of floods here and there but we always laughed throughout situations. Hence, why I say live with someone you can laugh about life with.
You also may not come out of college with a sure job. Internships are amazing (I worked a couple in college) but sadly none of them lead to any potential jobs. I remember walking down the streets of Belmont with a stack of resumes in my hand and I went door to door handing out my resume. Luckily, I met the most amazing mentor, by walking into her establishment and she offered me a receptionist job a couple of weeks afterward. Now was that job my first choice? Absolutely not. In my mind, I thought I'd graduate and be this huge television anchor. Am I that right now? Also no, but that is life. You have to remember that things may not pan out the way you want them to but that's okay. There's such a misconception that you have to complete an absurd amount of checks off your list to be successful and that is simply not the case. Remember that success can mean so many different things. The ultimate goal is happiness, in what you're doing, where you're at, and the people you surround yourself by.
If you are trying to find jobs places like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Zip Recruiter, will be your best friend. Try to take the time to update you LinkedIn and make sure to make it fun as well. All you experiences is great to have but you never know if someone will hire you strictly due to the charity you're passionate about.
I can honestly say that the moments after couple were some of the best times in my life. They were probably some of the messiest, but they will always have a special place in my heart. A friendly warning, if you do stay out drinking the entire night before work, make sure to drink lots of pedialyte before bed, it cured tons of hangovers for me. These years are the uncertainty faze of your life but that is what makes it so fun. You have the opportunity to explore who you are and what you want to do in life. Now, that 'a ha' moment may not come over night, but as you continue to grow through jobs (and there will be many), friends (they will come and go but the best will remain) and relationships you will start to see the person, your true self, develop. Some of the best advice my father gave me when I graduated was "you will soon discover the real Rachel and who she is through these next couple years." I can fully say that I have learned so much about myself as I grew through the after college faze.
As you navigate through this crazy time in your life remember to breathe, love yourself, and know that life is only beginning to unfold for you. I hope these tips will help you throughout your growing process! Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote on this post! Also thanks to all of you who came and read, you're the real MVP. To all my grads reading these, I raise my glass to you! You should be proud of yourself for completing your years of school. That in itself is something to be proud of.
Love you all love bugs,
until next time