Advice from a Soon-To-Be-Graduate

It’s that time of year—grad caps are being decorated, textbooks are being sold back for a fraction of the price and old homeworks are being tossed into ritualistic bonfires. Summer vacation is on the horizon, but for some, that means a head-first dive into adulthood. No matter if you’re already in college or studying for PSATs, this is the list for anyone who’s anxious about the future.

No one has it all figured out

When you were in high school, did you have any idea what you’d major in or what clubs you’d join? How accurate were your assumptions? Chances are you’ve surprised yourself at least five times over the course of the past few years. For example, I was adamant that I’d never study abroad, because I hated flying and all the stress involved with travel… less than a week after telling my dad that no, I refused to leave the country, I submitted a deposit for a three-week trip to Ireland. And, to my surprise, going abroad was one of my most memorable college experiences.

 

This same sentiment rings true no matter how old you are. You may think you’ll be working in a hospital your entire life. But maybe you’ll leave that place behind and train for the Peace Corps. Life throws a whole bunch of curveballs your way, and while it’s always a good idea to plan, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Everything works out in the end

This one took a looong time for me to learn. There have been plenty of moments in my life where everything seemed to be bad—from getting into a car crash on my parents’ wedding anniversary to a long and stressful job search (and a dream job rejection to start off the New Year), I’ve had plenty of low points. But no matter how off-kilter the world seems, it always manages to right itself. The car crash was humbling, and I’ve since been able to overcome much of the residual driving anxiety. I even have a car in my own name! And I’ve received a generous job offer that fits perfectly with my interest in digital marketing. While it took a bit of time for everything to fall into place, it was worth the wait.

This part of your life is all about you

Going to college was, from an introspective standpoint, one of the best things to happen to me. It’s the perfect environment to learn who you are. I’m reluctant to say you can reinvent yourself in college, because that implies fundamentally changing who you are. There are plenty of opportunities to meet new people and come to terms with your identity and all of the included aspects. If you start off in band or chorus but realize you don’t really enjoy that activity, you can quit. It’s okay. And if you want to do an activity but are scared you’ll fail… just try it. Because failure happens all the time, and if that’s the worst that can happen, imagine what one degree better could be.

 

Take time to embrace the present. Of course you should think about the future—it’s important to set goals and such—but enjoy the now as well. Enjoy learning who you are. Enjoy overcoming hardship. Enjoy discovering what makes you tick, what makes you smile and what makes you, you.