Two years ago I was graduating from college with a journalism degree in one hand and the uncertainty of what to do with it in the other. Listening to what people said was the right thing to do more than I listened to myself, I decided the safest option was to go to graduate school.
Once again, I packed my things and moved to a new city for one more year, this time to study branding & content marketing. I enjoyed it for the most part but it didn’t bring me the clarity or passion I thought I would feel.
When the year was coming to an end, I landed a three-month unpaid internship in digital marketing. After graduation and the end of my internship, I was officially unemployed and struggling to know what direction to take. The only thing I was sure was how unprepared I was for the “real world”.
It took me almost four months to finally get another internship, this time paid, which is the current position I’m at. Even though I like digital marketing, I realized I’m not passionate about it. The truth is, I’m still figuring out what I am passionate about. And it’s okay, this time of our lives is all about transition.
Now that I rambled on my story, here are some things I’ve learned so far about life after college. These are things I wish someone had told me when I was about to graduate. Sometimes it’s reassuring to have someone saying it won’t be easy but you will make it through.
Your first job won’t probably be your dream job.
You might have all these expectations of landing your dream job straight from college – I’m guilty of that – but more often than not, that’s not a reality. You either have no professional experience in that field and need to start from the bottom or are not sure what you want to do. Both are completely normal and okay.
So you will probably apply for jobs that interest you and maybe land some you don’t really like. But it’s all about the process of trying new things, understanding what you enjoy doing the most and taking something from each thing you do.
We all have to start somewhere.
It’s hard to make new & maintain old friends.
When you’re in school or college, you’re kind of forced to be with people every day and usually your schedules are pretty similar, so it’s easy to make plans.
But when you graduate you will have to make an effort to be together, to find time to meet between busy days. Friends of convenience will eventually drop off but, if you’re both making an effort, true friendships will stick around.
On the other hand, it can be harder to make friends once you graduate. You have to make an extra effort to find people with similar interests and make time to cultivate new friendships. But it’s different for everyone and you might even find your true friends once you enter the real world.
Your major doesn’t determine your job.
Don’t get me wrong, of course you can’t really be a doctor if you majored in english (although it’s never too late to change your career path!). But there’s this idea that your major will determine your career.
We are forced to make the big decision of picking what we “want to do when we grow up” very early in life and most of us have no idea what that thing is. And that is okay. It’s okay that once you graduate you realize you haver other passions you want to pursue.
It’s okay to explore different paths.
Even though I majored in journalism, that’s not what I’m currently doing or want to do in the future. While I’m not using it to its full potential, I believe some of the things I learned have been helpful to my career.
Life is not a straight line. Follow whatever you are passionate about and see where it takes you.
It’s okay to feel lost.
There’s no right or wrong to live your life. This is the time of your life to explore your possibilities and whatever brings you joy. And it’s completely normal and okay to feel lost. It’s part of growing up and becoming an adult. You need to try things in order to see what you like or don’t like.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on why it’s okay to not know your purpose and was overwhelmed with how many of you felt the same way. It might not seem like it but most of us are trying to figure out our path in life. We might pretend we think what we’re doing but, more often than not, we feel as lost as you.
What have you learned since graduating from college? And if you didn’t go to college, what lessons did it teach you?