Author: Danielle Devery
Last June, I graduated from the Ohio State University. A place I considered to be heaven on Earth. In the weeks and months leading up to graduation, I was a nervous wreck. Perhaps, even a train wreck. I was mentally checked out of school, falling victim to exceptionally bad senioritis, and burnt out from all my student organizations. Additionally, I was more than ready to get out of living in the close quarters of a sorority house, and dealing with all the drama that came with it. However, at the same time, I was desperately clinging to the time I had left in college. I wasn’t ready to make the plunge into the real world without a job or a plan for the future.
I was offered a post-graduate internship at an advertising agency about three weeks after graduation, a position I am still in today. The internship has challenged me in a positive way, but I was put a lot of pressure on myself to excel in hopes of being offered a full-time position. Initially, I was constantly worried about whether or not I was doing a good job, and in a way that hindered me. My bosses sensed my stress and anxiety, and told me what was holding me back the most in my work performance was my lack of confidence in myself.
I struggled with having my closest friends move away and adjusting to a life without campus life and student organization meetings. In college, a large part of my identity revolved around my major and the activities I belonged to. When I came home from work, I felt antsy because I wasn’t sure how to occupy my time.
As my one-year college graduation anniversary draws near, I can proudly say, “I survived my first year of the real world and you can too.” It requires
a little a lot of patience, confidence, and a positive attitude – three things I didn’t always have, but are absolutely essential to helping you get through the process of adjusting from college life to the real world. I think something a lot of college seniors don’t realize is how much you grow along the way, and that it’s completely okay for this process to take a while. Here are just a few things that I have learned so far:
It’s okay not to have all the answers. Half the fun is figuring them out.
It’s okay to be scared about what kind of changes the real world brings. There are thousands of other 20-somethings who are going through the journey. You aren’t the only one out there without a job, or the only one who is unsure of what to do with your life. Reading blogs, Tumblrs, and twitter feeds just like this one are often hilarious reminders that you aren’t alone.
It’s okay to miss college, but it’s not okay to live vicariously through you friends who are still in undergrad. Nothing will compare to your own college experience, so hold on to those memories and look forward to making new ones. Between visits to friends’ and family members’ new cities, I’ve traveled a lot this year. I’ve made a lot of new friends in Columbus and strengthened friendships with people I didn’t know quite as well while in college.
It’s not okay to compare yourself to other people. A decent number of my friends are engineers and had jobs lined up by October of my senior year. Some of my friends who took a fifth year even had job offers before I did. Comparing yourself to others takes energy away from focusing on your own job search and keeps you from thinking positively.
It’s okay to want different things than your friends. Don’t feel bad if all of your friends plan on living and working close to home when you’d rather move across the country or vice versa. You’re the only one who knows what will make you happy.
It’s not okay to sit and wait for things to happen to you. The real world is fiercely competitive. No one is going to hand you what you want, so it’s up to you to go get it.
It’s not okay to settle.
So where am I now? I’m more confident in myself, and what I have to offer. A teeny bit more patient, and a lot more positive about what the next eleven months will bring. I’m immersing myself with new hobbies and new activities such as yoga, reading, and blogging. I joined a great young professionals organization, and I am looking to for new volunteer opportunities. Lastly, it looks like there will be a full-time job on the horizon.
**All month we are featuring articles from recent grads and graduating seniors on where they are now. You can read the rest of the articles here. If you would like to submit a post for this segment, read this and/or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.**