You wait for the day to come when papers and exams are finally over. Unless you are pursuing graduate studies, this is it for you. Congratulations, you have made it out of college well and alive!
The last four (or five) years were probably the best years of your life, despite the occasional wishes for everything to be over soon. You have met the best people ever. You have lived the best time of your life. However, once the adrenaline fades, you will face reality no amount of preparation will ever prepare you for. If you are ready to hear some truths about life after college, read on.
1. There Will Be a lot of Confusion
It’s not like college is not the real world, but your university life offers some cushion for you. And once you graduate, that cushion gets suddenly taken off. And for the first time, you are feeling how rigid and cold the surface has always been.
You will finally get why adults kept telling you to enjoy your life while you still can. Not to sound pessimistic, but hangovers will no longer be fun. You will question your life choices every day. And you will be confused a lot.
There is this zone right after college where you feel like you are too old to enjoy the things you used to and too young to be like the grumpy adults who work corporate. That is a phase, and there is nothing much you can do but go with the flow.
Normally, the response to this would be to think about your following choices in life. You will start exploring the options before you, and even then, it’s rare to have confidence in your choices. You always feel like you are going to fail.
2. Fear Will Always Be There
It’s normal, not only after college but in life in general, to be scared. After all, fear comes from not having any idea what the result will be. Somehow, you officially become an adult once you surrender your library card.
You have all the reason to be scared. The minor decisions you make today have the potential to affect your life down the road significantly. You used to ask yourself before, “To shower or not?” But this time, it will be, “New York or LA?” or “To take out a loan or not?”
But life happens. Choices get made, consequences emerge. The thing about life is that you have to go on no matter what. It’s a matter of trial and error.
There is always a fifty percent chance of something being the greatest decision you will ever make if it is any consolation. Hold on to that.
3. There’s No Way Back
You will realize this as soon as you are out. You will miss partying till 4 AM even if a final exam is waiting for you at 7 AM. The random catch-up sessions between you and your roommate when you are supposed to study, you will miss.
Thankfully, there is social media to help you connect with your friends. Still, it’s different from face-to-face interactions, but it’s better than nothing. It will be harder to schedule meetups because your schedule just won’t let you, so a video call from time to time will be enough.
4. Some Relationships Don’t Last
You will also lose some friendships you used to think will last. It happens naturally because of the distance and the absence. Just like friendships naturally form over time and proximity, you can quickly lose touch with people once you get busy with your own thing.
And no, it’s nothing to be sad about. That is just the natural course of life. Just be thankful that you once shared moments with these people, even if it means they will no longer be around you in your next life milestones. So the friend who masterminded your last birthday surprise at the dorm, you will be awkward when you bump into them in person.
Just take this as a lesson when you form more relationships in the future. There is a possibility that after five years, you return to being strangers, so savor the moment while you can. Don’t be afraid to connect with people because you are only wasting time on things that will not last. You may lose the people and the connection, but the lessons and the memories stay.
Life after college will be hard to navigate. But think of the time when you are a freshman on campus trying to locate the admissions office. It’s normal to get lost and be confused when you start a new chapter in life.