6 Things I’ve Learned in the Two Years Since Graduating College
I can’t believe two whole years have gone by since I graduated college. I wish I could package up everything I’ve learned, like these five things no one told me would happen after I graduated, and share it with everyone who is about to walk across a stage and get their degree in the next few weeks. For me, immediate post-grad life was not easy at all. It was super confusing and there were so many moments when I thought I would never have anything figured out. I still don’t have things figured out, but after two years, I do feel like I’ve learned at least a few things. So, in the spirit of graduation season, I thought I’d share some of the highlights.
1. A Lot Can Change in a Year
I’m not a patient person. Once I have a vision in my mind, I want to achieve it asap. This can be a positive trait sometimes, but I’ve found that it’s mostly negative because it can make me want to throw in the towel on something before it really comes to fruition. What I’ve learned, though, is if I just cut myself a little bit of slack and stay patient goals can be achieved. They’re not going to happen overnight but it’s incredible what can happen in a year if you just give yourself the opportunity to focus on something positive — something you really want.
2. Most Older People Really Are Wiser
As time goes on, I keep realizing that all the older people in my life that have given me advice, actually really did know what they were talking about. When I was in college or even right after I graduated, I was always saying “I know” to all the advice that was given to me. No. I didn’t know, I just didn’t know that I didn’t know (stay with me, that was a lot). I’m not sure when it happened, but I realized at some point in probably the last 6 months to a year that I don’t “know” everything. In fact, I know very little. So, I decided to shut up and really start listening to the advice of my older peers, colleagues and family members.
3. Good things Will Happen if You Work Hard
I’ve had so many moments where all I felt was hopeless, down in the dumps and just negative about my future. Moments where I was truly convinced that nothing good was ever going to come my way. I was wrong, but the good moments didn’t just appear, I had to put myself out there and make them happen for myself. If you work hard, I promise you’ll start to a see light in all the darkness.
4. Networking is a Necessity
One of my goals for 2017 was to start networking more — attend events and get to know different people, especially in Lincoln because I’ve lived here for seven years and I feel like I don’t know anyone. As uncomfortable as it may be, I highly recommend going to networking events alone. When you go with a friend it’s way too easy to just sit at a table together and use that time to catch up, not that that isn’t important, but it’s not why you’re at a networking event! I’m a firm believer in the idea that you have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations to truly grow.
5. Goals Will Grow and Evolve
Don’t be hard on yourself or feel disappointed if your goals change. If I was still stuck on the goals I set for myself at 18, I’d be crying myself a river right now because none of those “goals” ever came to fruition. That doesn’t make me a failure, that doesn’t mean I’m not on the path to success, it just means that in the time between now and when I was 18 (seven years!!), my life shifted and so did my goals. My goals will probably continue to change and evolve, which I’ve come to expect, so it doesn’t feel like failure anymore, it feels like growth.
6. Your first Job Might Make You Question Everything
There’s a really good chance your first job out of college could be a disaster for a couple reasons. One, the pay is horrible, two, you hate your daily work, or three, you spend all your time comparing yourself to the “success” of your friends (based on what they’re posting on social media more than likely). I’ve hated jobs for all of those reasons and it made me go home at night and really ask myself, ok, why do I really hate these jobs? Once I figured out what was missing, I gained so much clarity and started to feel like I finally had my own path.
If you’re freaking out about graduating and want to chat about it, please feel free to reach out to me. The last two years were so, so confusing for me and I felt like no one understood the frustrations I was having. If you feel that way, I can definitely lend an ear and any insight I have.