College graduation day: the day that your “real” life begins. No more term papers, late night diner trips, late-night library sessions, three-hour classes, or having your friends within walking distance. Graduation should be a time for celebrating one of the largest accomplishments of your life, but sometimes that’s not the case. For me it actually brought a lot of anxiety! The thought of moving back home with my parents and trying to build my career at the same time was overwhelming, but onward I went back to my small hometown in New Jersey.
If you’re still in college you will soon find out that the job market is extremely difficult right now! (Take it from someone who went to school to be a music teacher; jobs are extremely rare!) Post-grad, I was blessed to land a part-time job teaching music in addition to an assistant cheerleading coach position. As exciting as my new life was, my first year in the “real world” brought about a lot of challenges and raised a lot of questions. My head was constantly spinning, I felt more mentally exhausted then I ever did in college, and I really just felt lost.
Combatting these issues was difficult, but here is some of my acquired wisdom:
1. Did I make a mistake?
No! Going to college and getting a degree in a field that you love is never a mistake. The first year out of school is so difficult. You’re used to having a mentor in charge of guiding you, and now in the “real world” you have to guide yourself. It’s a transition, just like going to college was. Just keep remembering why you love your profession and all the rest will fall into place.
2. Can I really do this for the rest of my life?
Unfortunately, that is not a question I can answer for you, it has to come from you. All of the experiences you face in your first few years as a post-grad act as stepping-stones to your future. Don’t get discouraged by feeling like you’re at the bottom or because things don’t go your way, because one day it eventually will. The beauty of a stepping-stone is that it teaches you valuable lessons in patience and hard work, something we all need a little reminder of!
3. Do I want to (eventually) go to Graduate School?
Graduate school is becoming very mainstream in our generation, and you will be definitely be financially better off if you have a masters or doctorate degree. Some people go directly to graduate school while others take time off in-between. If you want to further your education, then graduate school is definitely a way to go.
4. How am I supposed to pay back my student loans?
Paying back student loans, if you have any, is a huge stress for post-grad students because you’re starting off your life with debt. If you have the opportunity to pay more than the required amount, do it! It will get rid of them faster. Paying the minimum amount is ok too; it just will take longer to be debt-free. Either way, try not to stress! It will eventually be completed.
5. Will I (ever) be able to move out of the house?
Moving home after living on your own is a huge (and sometimes hard) transition. You’re in your childhood room, you are around old friends, and your parents still care about what your doing. It can sometimes feel as if you’re a teenager in an adult’s body. A good way to make the most of the situation is to talk with your parents so you can all coexist in peace.
The post-grad world can seem like a scary place but it totally doesn’t have to be! Just remember that this is your life and you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to! #SheBelievedSheCouldSoSheDid