The start of college is a time of excitement and unbridled, unapologetic optimism. It is the beginning of what you have been told will be the best four years of your life. No matter how your college years ended up going, college graduation has a lot of very different meanings. When starting college, you are still in your adolescence in many ways. You aren’t expected to change much, or take on much more responsibility. You are still a student, and you are still a dependent.
Once you graduate from college, all of that is out the window. All of the sudden, you are a full blown adult, expected to make every decision for themselves, provide for themselves financially, and be responsible every waking moment. Despite the fact that you were still an adolescent student just days ago, you are now a member of the real world, and expected to be a contributing member of society. College life is focused on learning, having great experiences, and making great memories. Post-college life is focused on finding a job and paying off your student loans.
This is obviously right for a lot of reasons. You need a job, you need money. But it is also looking at it totally the wrong way. Just because you are required to make money doesn’t mean you aren’t required to be happy. Finding the job of your dreams and starting the fifty-year process of paying off your student loans will not grant you inner peace and tranquility. Whether you graduated from UNC or one of UIC’s nursing informatics programs, you will want to spend your post-college time winning at life instead of just getting through it. These pieces of advice will help make it easier.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Free
You are being pressured by society to take the conventional path. You are expected to start working, start earning money, and start being normal. But why do you have to do those things, really? You can free yourself of most of your financial burdens if you are willing to take some risks. And maybe your student loans will go into default. Will that really cross your mind when you are exploring Mayan ruins or backpacking through northern Canada? Think about what really matters to you and shape your new life after that.
Do What You Love
The world is encouraging you to go towards practicality instead of passion. But settling for something you aren’t passionate about isn’t just depressing, sometimes it isn’t practical. Pursuing a career in something you hate will ultimately lead to an unfulfilled life, which will ultimately lead to failure. Doing what you love is the only way to truly succeed in life.
Don’t Forget About Your Friends
Many adults go through the experience of slowly losing touch with many of their friends. You’re too young to let this happen. Figure out the people from your college life and before who you really want to stay in your life, and keep them in your life.