I’m graduating from college this spring and am starting to freak out about being a “real adult.” Any advice on how to prepare for this transition and confidently enter the real world?
We spend the first 18 (ish) years of our lives in school. Then, all of a sudden, we’re launched into the real world.
No big deal, right?
Big deal. Big, big deal.
Just one year ago, I was in your shoes. I was so excited to be done with school but also freaking out about transitioning into adult life.
But, two jobs and a trip to Spain later, I’ve gained some perspective on what it’s like to move from college-life into adulthood.
Here’s what I picked up along the way. Hopefully, these tips will help you make the transition:
Take Time to Process
I took graduating very lightly. I didn’t think that moving into the real world and becoming a professional would be a big deal.
In reality, it’s a pretty monumental step.
If you can, find an opportunity to process the transition before you launch into a career. Doing so will help you feel more prepared to start “adulting.”
Take a road trip with your friends. Maybe spend a few days pampering yourself and reflecting on the last four years of your life. Whatever you need to do, honor yourself for fulfilling such a significant step in your life!
Be Patient with Yourself
Two days after graduation, I jumped into my first “real” job thinking it would be just like the internships I had in the past.
My first job came with a lot of responsibility. I also made a lot of mistakes, which made me feel inadequate. I thought I was going to be in that career forever, but I ended up transitioning out of it.
For a while, I beat myself up for not following the plan I had for my post-college life. But, what I’ve learned is that this time in your life is made for mistakes. It’s made for experimenting and exploring. Don’t pressure yourself into finding a lifelong career right away. You might get lucky and discover it immediately, and that’s okay. But, you also may have to jump around for a while before you figure things out.
People will try and convince you that just because you’ve graduated you need to have everything figured out. Not true. You’re on a journey. You’re in progress. Don’t rush it.
Seek Opportunities to Discover Yourself
In college, you’re told what to do, where to go, when to turn things in. But, outside of college, you have a different kind of authority over your life.
Moving into the real world opened up new possibilities for me to connect with my true self.
So, if you want to confidently enter into the real world, I encourage you to try some new things.
With college out of the way, what do you have new time and energy for?
Being a real adult brings real responsibilities, but it also gives you a certain freedom that was never there before. Take advantage of it! Discover what you really love. Use this time to really find out who you are. It will make you feel more confident about your place in the world.
Establish a Routine
This transition is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever done before. So, it’s probably going to feel uncomfortable for a while.
One thing that helped me was creating a morning and evening routine that I could count on. It gave me a sense of stability that was seriously lacking when I stopped going to school every day.
For example, I love knowing that at the end of a busy day, I get to go home, make dinner, shower, then read in bed for a while. I do that almost every night during the week. Even when the rest of my life is chaotic, I always have my special time in the morning and night that I can rely on.
Try creating your own morning and night routines. It will provide you with a sense of stability to help you confidently take on each day – no matter how unpredictable it might be.
Congratulations on graduating!
Trust that you are exactly where you need to be. You’re going to mess up and make mistakes during this transition, but that’s okay. You’ve got this.
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