Once I graduated college I dramatically felt like my world was ending. Looking back now (about a year and a half later) I can see why I felt the way I did. This amazing chapter of my life was coming to a close and I stubbornly didn't want to accept it. Prior to now, I was always the type of person that hated change; any type of change in life freaked me out, and it was something I always have tried to avoid most. The anxiety I felt after graduation was at times uncontrollable. The transition from being merely a kid, to suddenly an "adult", overwhelmed me to say the least. It was only through time, new experiences, and just the simple fact of growing up, that I then realized that my life was just truly just beginning.
1) THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING.
Each phase of your life has been leading up to the very moment in which you're done with school and have to start "adulting". For years you're raised in the school system and have a particular routine, in which that's all that you know...then before you know it it's time for the real world. You may feel completely lost, not knowing which way to go...this is only normal. As time goes on you experience new joys, new adventures, and with that new struggles/challenges. But in the end, you come to learn that you're growing into the person you've always aspired to be. It's scary, but even more exciting!
2) GETTING YOUR DREAM JOB RIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE IS NOT REALISTIC.
For years I assumed that once I graduated I would get my dream job, or that I would know exactly what I wanted to do with my life...that did not happen. At first I panicked, because we are brought up to believe that making this huge decision right out of college will be the biggest, permanent decision of our lives. Now I've learned that it's completely normal to not know, and that you will have more than one career. Your dream life will not fall into your lap, and you need to work hard for it...that can take a lot of time (yes, years), plus trial & error jobs. Like everything else in life, it's a process; but don't forget, the end result is unbelievably worth it if you are passionate and driven enough.
3) IT'S OKAY IF YOU DON'T END UP DOING WHAT YOU EXPECTED TO DO. THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY.
I can't tell you how many people I've met in which their major in college was not related to what they ended up doing. We all are instructed to believe that if we graduate with a certain degree we must find the perfect job that coincides with that subject. It's not true. Some people in their 50s, 60s, etc. are still not sure of what their actual "dream job" looks like...but the amazing thing is that once you do figure that out it's NEVER too late. Everyone goes through uncertainty in life; life is full of so many ups and downs, making the saying "rollercoaster ride" too real...but that's what keeps life interesting!
4) YOU MUST LEARN TO BE YOUR OWN SUPPORT SYSTEM.
In order to grow it's really important to learn how to be alone and be comfortable with it. You are the only one who is with yourself 24/7, and in that time there will be extremely hard moments in which you feel completely broken. Although there are people that can help, they can't heal you 100%. Just like a doctor helping heal a wound, you yourself (your body) is the main piece that ultimately heals on its own. You, and only you alone, are the one who heals with time, patience, and self growth (mentally, physically, and emotionally).
5) MAINTAINING RELATIONSHIPS/FRIENDSHIPS NOW TAKES MORE WORK.
This was a given once graduating college because now everyone has their own schedules and commitments to tend to; it's not as easy as meeting up in the college dorm, or in the café, like it used to be. But, it's definitely possible to maintain those special relationships if you want to. You must remember to acknowledge that relationships of any kind are truly a beautiful thing, and that overtime you will clearly know which ones matter to you the most. Those who are there to support you, bring light into your life, and encourage you to be the best version of yourselves are, without a doubt, the special ones; these are the people who make us happy to be alive. In life you will grow, and so will they, and both of you will be able to look back and appreciate it all because of how amazing that truly is.
6) TREATING YOUR BODY POORLY IS NOT FAIR TO YOU, AND YOUR FUTURE.
Getting told that you need to have healthy habits as a kid was always so repetitive; all I would think is "yeah yeah yeah". My thoughts about it changed once I started working at a senior living home right out of college; it is now advice that I have taken to heart after seeing my elderly friends' ailments and the issues they now face as they age. The first big step for bettering my health was to stop taking a medication that I used to believe I needed, in which the bad outweighed the good. Making the decision to get off it forever was something I did for myself, and I can honestly say it was the most empowering thing I've ever done. I now have full respect for my body and know that everything I do to it now will have an affect on me, in some way, forever.