Cue Paramore’s ”Ain’t It Fun”
In college, we were told to appreciate the time we had now because the real world would be the biggest, coldest slap to the face. College is supposed to provide baby steps for us as we take courses and internships related to the field we majored in and hope to land a career we desired. It’s also supposed to give us a basic idea of independency when it comes to scheduling, bills, responsibilities, social life, etc.
All of this is provided but there are times where we took advantage of the baby steps and assured we’d be okay. We’d like to think we have the brainpower, personality, and courage to go out into the real world and challenge the clichés of feeling lost, broke, and/or stuck for a long period of time. We still need to possess the optimistic mindset and keep the knowledge we already have but unfortunately life quickly shows us we’re merely a little fish in not a pond—but an ocean.
According to the New York Times, around two million students graduate from college each year in the United States. The article tries to blend the truth and security as it provides a guide for college graduates to survive the real world. They discuss issues such as housing, jobs, and crappy first paychecks.
Six months ago I graduated from Temple University and what I discovered is that life is hard. I’m still figuring out who I am, exactly what I want, and where I need to land to make sure I put myself in the best position possible. Along the way, I observed a lot and provided a couple harsh tips that might be able to help out my fellow graduates or those who are on their way to graduation.
- The Change In Daily Relationships
As graduation approaches, we fear we won’t keep in contact with our friends. We call them up in hysterics, once again asking for reassurance if we’ll continue to stay in touch.
We’re aware some friends and family won’t be able to see or talk to us all the time but as long as communication is available, we’ll be fine. The thing is, there’s going to be periods (especially if out of state) without much communication. It doesn’t mean the friendship is heading downhill, it means life is taking its course. True friends will make time for us but we have to remember they have things going on as well. They can still be in college or adjusting to their new job, new state, new coworkers, etc.
While we’re in the process of new, we should take advantage by making friends with our coworkers and showing the company we want to be there.
- The Unwanted Urge to Compare Each Other
As humans, we constantly feel the need to compare our journeys with each other, seeing who has more going for them. We do this with just about every aspect in our lives and each aspect hits us differently. That’s obvious, but for first year graduate students in the work force or seeking work, we’re more likely to be hit with a high dose of depression, insecurity, and laziness.
We may have love and support from our peers, get told to not freak about finding the ‘perfect’ job, and that in order for us to level up we need to have some type of experience first, but we push the positivity aside and focus on the negative. We feel that we need to be doing something exciting, ambitious, scholarly, or even spontaneous at a constant rate to prove to insignificant people our degree wasn’t a waste and we’re capable of jumping the gun from college to top career.
We tend to waste more time trying to show people that we’re doing something that we forget thousands to millions of others are in our spot or have been in our spot. Granted, some people are fortunate to be given a dream job right away and kudos to them because odds are they hustled for that job. We need to learn to take that as inspiration instead of insecurity. We need to tell ourselves “we’ll get there” and seek for any opportunity to be productive and help us level up.
- Navigating our career path
When we graduate, our goal is to stay in a job that directly relates to our degree. We have to or otherwise what’s the point of studying it? This mindset is quite obnoxious for two reasons; the first reason is that we should be able to transition our knowledge into other fields. Yes, we want to proudly show off how much we utilized our skills from what we learned in college but expanding them works out in the long run. It gives us more experiences, teaches us other skills, and brings confidence.
The second reason is that sometimes it’s necessary for the first year or even midway in our career path to switch roles. Certain personal and/or financial reasons intertwine with this and it doesn’t have to be anyone’s business to why we had to switch.
It’s surprisingly more common than we think.
However, with this in mind, there are precautions to be aware of. According to The Muse, there are four crucial things to keep in mind when applying for the first job so we’re not completely stuck; not let the pressure get to us, ask the right questions, consider the office culture, and remember our 5-year plan. In the article the author talks about their personal experience but they tried to make it relatable to fellow graduates by explaining that we need to take a step back, reevaluate the job we could go into, and see if there’s a future there. We all need a job but it isn’t worth it if we feel that place is the only option, we can’t really envision a growth, and it provides no benefit to us.
- The Change in Social Schedule
College wasn’t easy, however we usually had more flexibility and freedom. We learned to reserve days for internships and weekends to study or complete exams, projects and assignments but we still spent a majority of the time going out. We could also nap during the day, go grab a bite to eat aside from the standard 12:00 lunchtime, we could meet up with friends right after class, and many of us had the privilege to go back to a house or dorm around campus instead of commute.
Now, most of us wake up around the hours of 5am-7am, commute to work through car, train, or bus, and are in an office around the hours of 9am-5pm. Not necessarily a bad thing, just a bit drastic compared to being able to pick our schedule during college. We can still meet up with people or race home to take a nap, we just need to wait until later in the afternoon and when we don’t have a lot of work to complete outside our job.
Even on the weekends we find ourselves going out one night a week and sometimes coming home around midnight instead of 2am.
- Battling Solitary
We aren’t alone but for a lot of things we’re on our own. They may sound the same except the difference is the second one forces us more to seek independency. After college, there’s no layout of what’s the next step to take.
Things become a trial-and-error as we attempt new things. Only this time we need to complete things without guidance or giving our parents a ‘how-to’ phone call.
It really is one of the scariest challenges to test not only our knowledge and skills but also our faith we’ll grasp things after the first few tries.
The real world is a tough, cruel place and failure is expected. That doesn’t mean our future is doomed. All of us have different silver linings in this outcome and I personally can’t predict what the next step is but hopefully it comes soon and it’s exactly what’s needed to go further up.
Take a deep breath and maybe even a step back. Have faith that we’ll get through this and persist.