Things I’ve learned one year out of college

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Well, it’s officially been over two months since I’ve posted. Yikes! I guess I’ve been looking for a little inspiration since I’m not in Spain anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to fill your news feeds with more posts about Spain, but I figure I may lose some credibility since I’m not actually there anymore. Oh well, on to the next adventure!

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while and tweaking what I want to say. I personally feel that I’ve gone through a lot of changes my first year out of college. I don’t know if anyone else can relate to these observations, but I think they’re worth sharing nonetheless. So here we go, here are a few things I wish I would have known before I graduated from my undergraduate university…

It may seem like everyone knows what they’re doing, but in reality, no one actually knows what they’re doing. I think this was my biggest misconception of life after college. I thought that my college diploma held all the answers. I thought that not only my career, but everything else in my life would just naturally fall into place. I thought this because everyone else who had gone through this transition seemed to know what they were doing. Everyone knew their next step and had a plan that made sense for them.

It wasn’t until I actually graduated that I realized how untrue all of this was. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. My plan to seamlessly transition into professional school had flopped. I had to figure out my next step and make the most of it. Then I slowly began to realize that many of my peers were in the same boat. We were all just trying to figure out the next step and make the most of it. Once I realized this, things were much less stressful.

 Work is wonderful and frustrating. I’ve had a history of successful summer jobs throughout high school and college, but I never really had an “adult” job until after I graduated from college. Let me tell you, having a job is wonderful, but also frustrating at times. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of putting in a hard day’s work and feeling like a productive member of society, and if you are lucky enough to do something you love, it’s even better! That being said, there are days that are frustrating. There are days that will make you angry, as well as days that will make you cry. A good friend once told me, “You just have to make sure the good days outnumber the bad days.” The nice thing about a bad day is that even it eventually must end. Then you go home, go to bed, wake up, face another day, and vow to make it better than the day before.

Maintaining friendships is hard. Maintaining friendships is something I’ve really struggled with since I’ve graduated from college. Living in campus housing for five years equipped me with a built in community in which I had at least ten friends within a five minute radius (and probably five times that amount within a ten minute radius). That being considered, living outside my college bubble has impacted my social life. Not only my physical location, but my amount of free time (due to my “adult” job) has impacted how much I’m able to communicate with my friends. So, after a year, this is what I’ve learned…it may sound heartless to say this, but you can’t have lasting friendships with everyone. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Maintaining meaningful friendships takes an investment of time. Friendships really are an area in which the quality versus quantity rule applies. Now this isn’t to say that I don’t value all of the shorter relationships I’ve had. I’m definitely a big believer that each person was placed into my life for a reason so that I could learn something from him or her. I just know that since I’ve graduated from college, investing more of my time into just several friendships has been more practical than trying to maintain hundreds of friendships without being able to devote adequate amounts of time to each.

You don’t have to grow up. This last one is a secret. Sure you may have to grow up in terms of being financially responsible, but in terms of your dreams (the things that truly matter), you’ll never have to grow up. Don’t be afraid if your dreams change. It’s only natural. As your life progresses, your goals and dreams will follow suit. Don’t be afraid to not like your job in your chosen career field. There’s no rule that says you have to work in one career field for the rest of your life. Do what you enjoy! So what do you think? Is there anything I need to add? What have you learned since graduating from college? If you’re a year out or even five, ten, or more, let me know your thoughts.

“Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it.” John Mayer

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