It’s been a year and a half since I graduated college. With a number of my friends still in school, I can’t help but reminisce on the college days. This past year has been full of ups and downs, all of which have been great learning experiences and I wish I could share them with everyone. Especially the ones that I see scrambling to graduate and job hunt while balancing the rest of their day to day lives. It’s no easy task. Everyone wants to tell you how to live but no one can decide what’s going to make you the most happy and the most successful.
I’m not an expert at much. I’m certainly not a genius. I barely have it all together but I’ve taken notes over this past year of post-graduation and come up with the top 5 things I wish I knew before I graduated.
Not getting a job right away is ok.
While I was in school, I felt extremely pressured to find a job as soon as I graduated, if not before. “The good jobs will be all gone,” “Employers don’t want to see you take time off,” “You’ll forget what you learned” was all I heard when I told others I was planning on waiting awhile before job hunting. After spending the last four (ok, five) years getting my college education while working full time, I was simply ready for a break. I waited a little over two months before even looking for a job in my field and it was five months before I started working. I continued working the job I had all through college, took time to travel, relax, and learn new skills I didn’t previously have time for while taking classes. And guess what? There were plenty of jobs available, I was not questioned about why I decided to take some time off and was able to learn more about my field with the downtime that I had. If you feel like you need a break or aren’t quite sure what direction you want to go, then take your time! Everything will be just fine.
Grades don’t mean much. Experience does.
This was something I definitely wish I knew. I was so convinced that my GPA was going to make or break my career. I spent too much time stressing about my homework and not enough time gaining experience and working with others. I was too busy studying to take that freelance job. I was up too late doing homework the night before that I was too tired to meet a good mentor for coffee the next day. Looking back, I realized I was doing things all wrong. Homework and grades are certainly important but the experience and connections I missed out on because of it I realize now would have been far more beneficial.
Investing in your unique skills and interests will get you far.
And likely land you a job you love. The more i honed in on my interests and unique assets, the more I found opportunities that I loved. It took a little digging and some hard work to prove myself but it’s been completely worth it. Combining my education with various other interests and things I had learned on the side helped me find something that was right up my alley and that I enjoy doing. Don’t be afraid of “odd jobs.” They’re what will make you grow.
College friends are important but making new connections after college is too.
You grow up a lot alongside your college friends. Sitting through that awful history class together can really secure a bond. Likely, you’ll stay close to your college friends for quite some time and even have some of them beside you at your wedding. But don’t let them keep you from meeting new people. It’s easy to stick with what you’re comfortable with and I am oh so guilty of doing so.
My college years were not the best years of my life.
Don’t get me wrong, they were great but are totally trumped by the freedom, opportunities and amount of growing up I got to do (and am still doing) afterwards. That being said…
…I would go back in a heartbeat.
You always realize what you miss out on after it’s over. I would go back and do college all over again if I could based off what I know now. I would try to learn more, have more fun, stress less, and make more connections. Honestly…I’d do highschool again just the same! I don’t want to look back and regret all the things I didn’t do but I do want to take it as a lesson to do every little thing to it’s fullest.
I could keep the list going but I think I’ve covered all the major things. Not to get all cheesy (as if I haven’t already), but honestly enjoy life no matter where you are at, college or not. There’s so much to learn and experience and the opportunities never stop.
Thanks for reading loves,