20 Things to Know After Graduating College (or something like it)

Maybe I know you too well or maybe I’ve got you all wrong. But I hope people out there actually read this crap. No I’m just kidding there is really great advice on here.

Your early twenties are a confusing time. Probably the most confusing time in any person’s life. Teenagers have nothing on us. I mean, at 20 we lose the ability to even call ourselves teenagers. At 21 we can drink (well legally). At 22, we graduate college. And then what? We’re expected to: getajobfallinlovegetmarriedbuyahousehavechildrenretire.and.grow.old. there must be more to life than that…. right?

Here are 20 things I believe you will encounter, feel, express, and relate to as a (recent) college grad:

1. looking forward to graduation is probably the most exciting thing you’ll ever experience. No more finals. No more tests. No more papers. Life is going to be great after graduation, right?

2. You are probably going to live at home for much longer than you anticipated. Hanging out with your parents MUCH more than you ever wanted to. But on the flip side, you get home cooked meals and you don’t have to spend money on food or rent. And if you’re like me, my mom keeps my fridge stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables (which is the way to my heart) and sews me things so I don’t have to spend $ buying them. (Think Lulu Lemon knock-off stuff :)) So it really isn’t the worst thing.

3. The economy sucks and it is really hard to get a job. Much harder than what you had imagined. Most of my friends work at smoothie places, restaurants or sports equipment stores. I am one of the lucky few who actually has a 9 to 5 job. And all of those college extracurriculars, clubs and good grades only get you so far in this world. Everyone coming into the workforce is probably more experienced and more mature than you. My boss didn’t even look at my resume. So much for my 3.6 gpa…

4. Work isn’t exciting and fun all the time. I had this image in my head of action-packed litigation, board meetings, and projects for when I started my job. Nope. I mostly sit at a desk for 8 hours trying not to lose focus hoping for a better job in a couple of months.

5. Taxes suck. As Rachel on friends once said “Who is this FICA and why is he taking all of my money??”. Exactly how I feel. I pay 600 dollars in taxes a month. SIX HUNDRED. That doesn’t leave me with too much to work with. Hence the reason I live at home.

6. Bills suck. Wow I never realized how much money it takes to survive. Car payments. Car insurance. Health insurance. All the stuff that health insurance “doesn’t cover”. Phone bill. And if you live on your own add: Rent. Utilities. Food. Life is expensive!

7. People don’t take us seriously. We are young and we have to earn respect. People are going to judge you on your age and how you dress. Wearing a pencil skirt doesn’t guarantee that people will accept you. For instance, the mailman the other day was delivering my mail and sarcastically said ” I have your People magazine for you”. As if to imply that I am some kind of idiot. I don’t even know him. Point taken.

8.  You’re going to feel like a loser with no friends. Just because you don’t have as much of a social life as you did in college does not mean that you don’t have friends. Maybe you don’t go out every weekend like you did when you turned 21. Or maybe, once a week is about all you can handle. Or maybe your social life consists of hanging out with a couple of friends one Saturday. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a loser. It just means you’re growing up. Everyone goes through it. Well maybe people who refuse to grow up don’t, but for the rest of us it is a sure reality.

9. You will start to see your friends settle down and get married. Thanks to Facebook everyone who gets engaged or married gets highlighted with a big heart for all to see. It will be weird to see people who you’ve known forever, in my case since I was 4, get married. And if you’re single it will make you feel like you’ve failed in life. But honestly, married at 22? Considering my longest relationship was a whole year and a half, it’s not really my thing.

10. You are going to feel stupid all the time. The people you work with have a lot more experience and knowledge than you do. Sometimes what seems simple to them, like filling out an expense report, is something you have never done before. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and put yourself out there. Right now you may feel embarrassed but there will come a time when all of these things get easier. There is only room to grow and mature.

11. It will get harder and harder to exercise. Before I had a job I was running about 20 to 30 miles a week. When I got a job I stopped running for two months. It’s hard to work 8 hours, commute for 1.5 hours and then come home to a workout. It’s hard to wake up in the morning and exercise. Sleep just rules out. You really have to try to get those workouts in.

12. Your best friends will get other best friends. You know that feeling of anger when somebody calls YOUR best friend THEIR best friend. If you’re like me your response is probably “bitch pleaseee she’s MY best friend”. But, like you, your friends went off to college and made new friends. I did too. I guess we have to learn to share.

13. Most of the clothes you owned and proudly wore in college will collect dust in your closet. I have to dress business casual in my office and we don’t even do the whole “casual Friday” thing. I guess that is what I get for working in the investment industry. Anyways those cute, yet slutty, shirts and dresses are a thing of the past. The worst part is I’ve become so accustomed to being covered up all day at work that it has become the norm. The only time I break out my college clothes are when I go to Vegas. Because you know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

14. Which brings me to Vegas. I discovered Vegas after I graduated college. My roommates and I went on a big Vegas graduation trip and I finally realized that all the hype was about. Vegas is amazing. And it gets more amazing as you get older. College is literally one big Vegas experience but real life is far from it. As you get older those wild Vegas trips are about the only thing you look forward to. *

15.  Everyone on Facebook always seems to be having more fun than you. I check it sometimes and I see that people are day drinking, going to the beach, eating out, playing volleyball, etc. you get the point. And what am I doing? Oh yes working. Does anybody have a J-O-B?? No, that’s right the economy sucks. So I guess there are two options: 1. be unemployed, live at home and have fun with the other unemployed people or 2. be employed, live at home and work/cry while others have fun. I’m kidding. But really don’t get down when you see other’s FB’s and how “happy” they are or seem to be. Facebook has become one big marketing campaign for yourself and it usually doesn’t mirror reality.

16. You will become really envious of, not the recent college graduates, but of those who still have years left in college. You know how much fun they are going to have and great memories they are going to make. But rest assured, they will have to grow up sometime too. And by the time they reach our age, we will probably have this whole “life” thing figured out. HAHA. Still envy them?

17. Taco Tuesday. I don’t know about all of you but my Taco Tuesday used to be more like “Blackout Tuesday”. (By the way, I am not endorsing this life choice.) Anyways, I still go to Taco Tuesday every week but it’s a more “toned-down-adult-appropriate” occasion. I usually order 1 glass of wine and maybe some tacos if I am feeling adventurous. But lesson is to try to organize a weekly taco Tuesday meeting with your friends. Sometimes Tuesdays are the only days I get to see them and it helps us keep in touch.

18. You will start to wonder how to make new friends. Not that your old ones aren’t amazing but they are all on different schedules and it is hard to make plans. I recommend www.meetup.com. No this is not a dating website. I am not that desperate yet. It is a cool site where people in your area organize meet up’s based on various interests. I am a part of a running club, a sailing club and a hiking club. All are super fun. Also I love to run so I joined the Lulu Lemon run club. It’s a great way to meet locals and also get a workout in. So word of advice: join clubs!

19. You will start to find new things that you enjoy in life. For example, I found blogging. I NEVER thought that I would be a blogger. I had some notion in my head of a tortured artist who uses blogging as an excuse for unemployment. Quite the opposite in my case. I have a job and somehow I find time to fit this blog in. So enough about me. What I recommend is that you try new things. Now is the time in your life when you should experience it.  Earlier this year I did a 30 day challenge: Try something new everyday for 30 days. If you’re in a rut I recommend it.

20. You will start to enjoy life after college. Yes I said it. Despite living at home, working like a slave, having no friends, the lack of exercise, paying taxes and bills, and becoming boring you will adapt and learn to love it. You have so much to look forward to: promotions, pay raises, moving out, decorating your own house, buying a dog, falling in love, traveling, having money to spend, a set schedule, new hobbies… You will notice a change in your attitude and one day it will dawn on you that all the sacrifice was worth it. I am not at that point yet but I do realize that it is just around the corner. Check back in a year 🙂

* Please note that I am being sarcastic in most of this. After reading this you may conclude that life after college sucks and that I hate my life. I don’t at all. Life is really great and realllllyyy different from college. But in a good way. Hold strong you college graduates.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Cameron Cook says:

    This is the most relatable article I’ve ever read. Especially 8. 9. And 15. It definitely helps to know I’m not the only one going through all of this. I’m living on my own but with a mediocre job I don’t plan on being at past next spring. I want to move to a bigger city with more opportunities and more people. Great article. Good luck with everything!!

  2. kuda says:

    you just enlightened my day i graduated recently never felt so lonely in my life. all i ever do is work and come home to see snapchat and how much fun other people are having.

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