I wanted to have a space on this guide to be very candid about the reality of post grad life, but to offer resources to help you get through it. It’s hard to get people to be upfront about the less glamorous parts like loneliness, feelings of rejection, inadequacy, and uncertainty.
Here are some things that I learned after graduation:
You’ll grow apart from most of your friends from college, but it will feel like a relief.
At first I was really sad about not seeing all of my friends every single day, but I kept in touch with ones that were the most important and I got to find new people who were in the same transition.
It doesn’t mean that you’re a bad friend if you don’t keep in touch with everyone, it means that you’re growing.
If there are people you want to keep in touch with - do it!
You get a clean slate. All your prior obligations are cleared.
If you have a job, you get to go home and not do any homework.
I encourage you to find opportunities around your community but it’s a very different kind of “busy.”
Networking is exhausting, but is so important to do.
It will feel fake sometimes or like you’re a burden but it is so important for building a life and a career.
I personally love networking, but recognize it’s important to take breaks to avoid being burnt out.
If it stresses you out to think of talking to strangers, start small and reach out to a few people you already know.
There will always be people in your friend group or class that seem perfect.
They will get a job right out of school, love their boss, go to the gym, and appear to be very financially stable. But don’t compare yourself to them, it doesn’t reflect you.
There will always be people who are lazier, dumber, and more annoying who get a job before you.
Don’t compare yourself to them, it doesn’t reflect you.
It’s okay to cry.
There will be a point where you feel like you’ve done everything you can do, embrace that moment and let yourself be sad - it sucks sometimes.
If you move to a city like New York City, it will feel like nobody cares about you.
You’ll feel insignificant for a few months, but once you get settled in - it will feel like the best decision of your life
But let me tell you something, it will get better.
If you’re in the middle of a search, or are feeling lonely, please, please know that this isn’t going to last forever. I want to be transparent that post grad life is tough. But that doesn’t mean you can quit, or regret moving somewhere.
Be open, be excited.
For many people, this is the first time in their lives without a set structure picked for them. We’ve always known what the next step was. Middle to high school to college to what? Yes, college gives you independence, but there are still rules, and expectations looming over your head. Some might say “job” is the next step, and in a way, it is. But it’s truly up to you to decide where to go, and how to spend your time.
For me, the year after college has been the best time of my life - and I haven’t been happier.
If you need a little pick-me-up, check out some of these resources:
Podcast: Happier With Gretchen Rubin
Podcast: Worklife with Adam Grant
Podcast: How I Built This
Book: Better Than Before
Book: Let My People Go Surfing
If you need someone to talk to or want additional support, find a professional therapist. Do whatever you need to take care of your mental and physical health.
Be Your “And”
I had a great conversation with Christine de Michele, founder, experience designer, and educator at Compass Music Lab about her journey after college. She shared a piece of advice that has really stuck with me, that serves as a daily reminder: Recognize the significance of “and.” You are not your job. Your employment status is not you. Whether you are still on the job search, or are in a role that you don’t necessarily like, remember that you are still a person with multiple facets of your identity. Just because you are transitioning, doesn’t mean you have to be confined to one identity.
You can be an investment banker and an artist. You can be a journalist and an avid board game lover.
Keep your side hustles, passions, weird niche fan clubs - you’ll need them now more than ever.