May has arrived, and that means two things: spring season is in full swing and yet another group of college students have graduated. It’s a time of relaxation and celebration for many, but for others, this time can be stressful. It can feel like you have to have everything figured out and start your life-long career now. However, that’s not accurate at all. Your 20s are the time where you can explore your options and try new things before settling into the 9-5 daily work grind. Read on for some suggestions on making the most out of your post-graduation time of life.
1. Don’t Get Caught Up in Comparisons
In today’s world of social media, it seems like everyone’s life is on display for all to see. And undoubtedly, you’ll have some friends or people you look up to that will have skyrocketing success. We all have someone like that in our lives; the person that seems to have everything figured out, gets the dream job right away, and is posting all about it. However, you have to make sure you don’t get stuck in a place of comparing your journey to everyone else’s. Each journey is unique and will have a course of its own. Instead of becoming jealous or beating yourself up that you’re not instantly successful, be glad for them and focus not on following their path, but on being true to yourself and forging your own trail.
2. Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
The years following college are a great time to explore new things. Whereas college could be viewed as finding out what you’re interested in, the years after college can be viewed as finding unique applications of your interests. Don’t be afraid to take some risks and chase your dreams to see if they pan out. If they do, that’s great! If they don’t, that’s great too! You have the rest of your life ahead of you to try again and you’ve proven to yourself that you can fail and move on. Failure is a normal part of life that everyone experiences many times. It isn’t a bad thing; not picking yourself up and trying again is.
3. Keep Expanding Your Skill Set
Just because you’re out of college doesn’t mean that you should stop learning. In every job field you enter, there will always be a learning curve and new challenges to overcome. One way to make yourself stand out to employers is to demonstrate a thirst for knowledge and wanting to learn new things. This task doesn’t have to be boring; you can make them skills you learn through hobbies or by spending time with people who have skills you want to learn. Anything relating to critical thinking, communication, interpersonal relations are great places to start and things that employers will recognize the value of.
4. Shake Off Others’ Expectations
When you’re fresh out of college, you’re sure to have experienced people’s expectations of you, whether it’s been parents, teachers, mentors, peers, or classmates. When you graduate, a new expectation can occur: the expectation that you know exactly what you want to do with your degree and that you’ll start on that path right away. It’s one that many graduates often face and it can be quite intense for some. Just remember: this is your path. You’re the one who just spent years of your life dedicated to studying and developing a skill set and that can be exhausting. If you want to start your career right away, go for it! But if you want to take some time off to kick back and enjoy a well-earned period of rest, that’s perfectly fine as well. Expect other people’s expectations, but don’t accept them.
5. Allow Yourself Some Freedom
Possibly the most important piece of advice we could give would be this: just be yourself. It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle of life and the pressures of needing to be an adult and have everything figured out. Here’s a secret: no one has life figured out in their 20s. This is the time of your life where you can experiment with new things and explore what all the world has to offer. If you want to travel, travel. If you want to return home and spend time with family, go for it. If you want to take a part-time job that has nothing to do with your future career to give you some time to continue processing your options and what you want to be in life, that’s great. Do whatever is best for you.
Again, this is your path. You don’t have to have it all mapped out on day one of post-graduation. Take it one step at a time. Make it your own. Don’t be afraid to take detours; you might be surprised at the scenery you can find by doing so.