9 Lessons I Learned The Year I Graduated From College

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

There are so many things that I had to learn on my own. Some of those things were hard to hear, where others made me feel better about my life. On May 2nd, 2018, I graduated from college and officially became an adult in the real world. – or so I thought. I still don’t have everything figured out in just this past year, but I have learned so much in the past year.

These are just some of the things I have learned in the past year:

1. Putting yourself first doesn’t make you selfish

For as long as I can remember, every decision I made was influenced by what I thought would be best for everyone. I chose an in-state college because I knew that was what my family wanted. I worked two jobs because I felt bad about leaving my part-time college job of two years in the middle of summer. I acted a certain way because I thought that was what other people wanted me to be.

Putting myself and what I wanted lifted this weight off my shoulders. I had to start taking care of myself before anyone or I would’ve crumbled. No one can take care of others if they can’t take care of themselves.

2. My first job after college is not going to be the ONLY Job I Will Have

Unlike many college graduates, I was lucky to land a job in the career that I wanted with an awesome company. Even though I didn’t stay there for too long, I realized how many more opportunities there were than just this one job. In order to grow and become successful, sometimes that means that you’ll have to move on.

3. I can’t blame all of my problems/stress on anyone. It’s just a part of life

You are always going to have stress. There will always be some sort of issue, and something is always going to go wrong. The thing that sucks is that about 99.99% of the problems we have in our lives, is not caused by anyone.

No one is sitting in a dungeon somewhere plotting against you trying to make your life miserable. things just happen, and the only thing we can do is to deal with it and move on. (But I really wish there was a person hiding somewhere finding new ways to torture me. It would explain a lot.)

4. You don’t have to have a job in the field I majored in

Look, I majored in Human Communication. It was a great major in college, but besides grad school, journalism, marketing, and well- blogging on WordPress, there isn’t really a job that uses everything I learned about in colleges to a T. There just isn’t. And that is okay. My friend is a Manager for a Disney resort, and they were a biology major.

The point I’m trying to make is that beside graduate school and academia, no one really cares about whether or not you have a degree that correlates to a specific job. That’s just not how things work. All you need is a great work ethic and the ability to learn and adapt to new tasks and positions.

5. My college friendships went either one or two ways

You will either outgrow or drift apart from your college friends. The easiest way that you realize you’ve outgrown your friends is the difference in how much you party in the middle of the week. When you are becoming a real adult with actual responsibilities, you do don’t have the time or energy to get hammered at your friend’s apartment and go to work with a massive hangover. Have you gone to work with a hangover? It sucks and your boss can clearly tell what you were up to the night before.

Drifting apart from your college friends is the worst. You are all super busy with starting a career, probably planning a wedding, and a lot of you probably moved away after graduation. You see each other on social media, but it’s not the same as playing video games and drinking wine at 2 am, talking for hours about absolutely nothing.

6. I realized that certain relationships are unhealthy

Relationships are confusing in college, and I guess since we are still trying to figure things out, that means that we will let certain things slide. Things like, not texting back, only calling late at night on a weekend, getting into full-blown arguments over things that are so beyond stupid that it’s actually embarrassing to talk about with other people.

When you are done with the stress of classes and living in a dorm with random strangers, the air begins to clear, the clouds begin to part, and you realize how much you hate being associated with these people. You start to get what your limits are in a relationship and what is acceptable behavior. You begin to ditch those unhealthy relationship and start forming better and more stable ones.

7. You will always figure it out

There have been a lot more crying in my car moments in the past year than I care to admit. The first time handling something on my own has always seemed difficult at that moment. No matter what “crisis” I am facing, I know that I will figure it out and get past it. I’m just that good.

8. Don’t fall for every person who comes around telling you you’re pretty

If Tinder has taught us anything, it’s that we live in this bubble of attention and people telling us how hot we look. Not to sound conceded, but I already know how hot I look. I know what I look like. I own a mirror. I KNOW! But I also know that I am so much more than what I look like. I have more value as a person, and not just a “pretty thing” (yes, I was actually called this on Tinder). Don’t fall for the person who calls you pretty. Fall for the person that calls you smart or funny or complicated AND pretty. Don’t find validation and meaning in every person who gives you attention. Find out who they are and let them know you before you let yourself fall.

9. Adulting is hard, but you’ll get the hang of it, so I’ve heard

It’s only been a year of actual adulthood for me. I am nowhere near having everything figured it all out. It’s definitely a working process, but I’m sure I’ll get there. I still have some lessons to learn, and I have no idea when I will learn them. There is no syllabus in the real world. You just have to do the best you can and make sure you don’t become homeless. That’s the goal, right?

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