Does life get better after college? Here are 7 things you need to know about life after college that no one tells you.
Life does get better after college. Graduating college is merely the beginning of your life and there are many opportunities for you to find success in your life after college. If you are worried about what life will be like after college, I’ll be sharing these 7 honest truths about life after college.
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Life after college isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either
The transition from college to adulthood can be quite a shock.
It’s no surprise, though, that after being in school for the past 20-ish years you’re used to the structure and the grind of learning something new, getting assessed on it, and going through the motions of moving up one grade-level at a time.
But now that college graduation is nearing, you are now being thrusted into the world of adulthood that’s full of uncertainty.
For some soon-to-be college graduates, the thought of life after college can be relieving. No more homework, no more tests, and no more teachers or professors controlling and sucking all the happiness from you.
But for others, life after college is frightening. There’s no true guide or manual to adulthood. You practically get handed a huge blank canvas and are told to paint whatever you want on it.
With all the uncertainty that comes with life after college, I am here to give you the inside scoop of what life after college graduation is really like: here are 7 things you need to know about life after college that no one tells you.
Life does get easier after college
The structure of school for the past 20 years has provided you a safe and consistent routine.
Get up, get dressed, go to school, do homework, eat, shower, and sleep–rinse and repeat–it’s a routine you can probably do blindfolded after being spun around 5 times.
However, once you graduate college, you’ll be surprised (if you haven’t recognized it already) how soul-sucking of a routine it is to go to school all day, do homework all night, and be expected to function day after day for 20 so years.
With that in mind–life after college is actually easier. Here’s how it gets easier…
Your success is no longer driven by letters
Grades in school are the absolute worse, especially if you’re wildly driven to succeed, study hard, and still do not get the grade you worked hard for. For some college students, grades can be anxiety-provoking and one bad grade can ruin their confidence.
Luckily, life after college means no more grades. And having no more grades can be so freeing. Now instead of grades, you’re working towards a paycheck, which can buy and get you a lot more than just an A+ written in red ink on your test ever could.
You get to pivot as much as you want
College places you in a weird situation where if you don’t settle on a college major, you’re going to be stuck in college way longer than you anticipated and spending more money just trying to find your pathway to a fulfilling degree.
However, if you do “settled” down with a major and want to change it later… well good luck graduating on-time.
Your life after college lets you pivot as much as you want.
You can literally start something and stop something whenever you want to and you can continue to progress through life.
New opportunities will always be right around the corner, as long as you seek them out, and there’s a lot of different pathways to success. In college, there’s only one pathway to success–passing one class at a time.
Money buys you
You’ve probably been told time and time again that money does not buy you happiness.
And while in some cases, money cannot buy you happiness–like working an extremely stressful job that pays well–in most cases, money does buy you happiness. But even more-so, money buys you comfort.
Having the money and knowing you have the money to pay for rent, groceries, gas, clothes, and non-essentials lifts a huge weight off of your shoulders.
However, many soon-to-be college graduates struggle with the thought of and making an action plan to start paying off their student loan debt.
According to Nerd Wallet, in 2018, the average student loan debt per student was $29,200. Knowing that you have to pay off that money, plus pay for your basic needs, can be overwhelming especially if you do not have a job lined up after college.
Here are a few things you can do before graduating to help ease your worried mind about student loan debt:
- Start building an emergency fund in college–begin with the goal of saving up $1000 and then go for a 3-month and then a 6-month emergency fund.
- Learn how to be more frugal with your money–like not buying a Starbucks coffee every morning, only buying things you absolutely need or buying second hand.
- Go to job fairs, be intentional with who you interact with, and make sure to follow up with the recruiter after the job fair.
- Get a part-time job and allocate 5-15% of each paycheck to help you pay off your student loans–every penny counts.
- Open up a savings account, like Qapital, that allows you to round up your purchases to the next dollar and use those round-ups to help you pay off your student loan debt.
- Do a deep cleaning of your college apartment and sell the items you won’t need post-graduation. You can use websites like eBay, Mercari, and Poshmark or even Facebook Marketplace to easily sell, advertise your listings, and communicate with potential buyers.
No one cares about your GPA after college
So you know GPA you worked your butt off for in college?
It doesn’t even matter after you walk across the stage at graduation.
Literally, no one in the real world or the workforce cares that you got an A+ in your organic chemistry class or if you got a C in statistics.
And no one goes around at parties using their GPA as an icebreaker.
Really all that truly matters is that you got the degree and, most importantly, that you can accurately apply the skills you learned in college.
Now if you are going for a Master’s Degree, Ph.D., medical degree, law degree, etc. your GPA does matter a whole bunch, so keep up the good work! But take what I’m saying into perspective though.
Of course, your GPA isn’t something you shouldn’t care about while you are in college. And I’m not telling you to do just the minimum in your classes. You pay good money for your classes, so make the most out of your education and strive to always do your best.
What I really mean is: your GPA does not necessarily guarantee you will be successful in life after college.
In other words, getting a 4.0 GPA doesn’t automatically result in you getting a 6-figure job out of college.
If it did, everyone and their mom would be striving for a 4.0 GPA. But do you know what could potentially result in a 6-figure salary after graduation?
Your experience and skills you have acquired during college.
So essentially if you are debating between a unique internship experience versus taking a few summer college classes to graduate early, take the internship!
That internship will look way better on your resume, you’ll be able to network with people in the industry, and potentially have a job lined up after graduating college.
And that’s a million times better than graduating early or stressing out about a B- on your last test.
You will lose touch with friends
Unfortunately, some of the friendships you made during college will dwindle once you graduate college.
You may slowly find yourself not speaking much to your sorority sisters post-college graduation or not reaching out to your previous roommates except for a few times a year on their birthday or around the holidays.
And it’s not because those friendships didn’t mean anything, they meant a lot to you at the time, but when you graduate college your priorities change.
No longer are you worried about studying for the next test or trying to see who wants to grab lunch with you on campus before your next class.
Now your focus is on being in the workforce and creating a future for yourself whether that means starting your own business, starting your own family, or even moving across the country for a brand new job opportunity.
You may also like: 9 Steps You Can Take To Prepare Yourself For Life After College
Your friendships will naturally grow apart and you will find yourself keeping up with your friends from college from afar on social media like Instagram and Facebook. And this is all perfectly normal.
You will make new friends in your current stage of life and you will find comfort in the people who mean the most to you like your significant other, siblings, parents/guardians, and those one or two best friends from college or childhood.
Nowadays, two years post-college graduation, I rarely speak to any of my sorority sisters. Occasionally I will text my sorority littles, but it may be months before we catch up again. Instead, I spend a lot of time with my boyfriend, my twin sister, and my parents. And honestly, I’m content with that.
You will always feel behind
One of the hardest parts about life after college is that you will constantly feeling like where you are in life isn’t good enough.
With social media platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and LinkedIn, it is easy to feel like where you are in life currently is 10 steps back from where everyone else is.
For example, you may feel angered seeing all your sorority sisters getting engaged, but you are still single and continuing to swipe right day in and day out.
Or, you may feel discouraged about the new job that you got at Target as a cashier, but everyone else on your Facebook feed is getting these sophisticated job titles at large cooperations.
It is normal to feel behind in life and honestly, everyone feels that way.
There will always be someone 10 steps ahead of you no matter what. But what is most important is that you find ways to be content about your life currently and take the necessary actions to mold your future into the way you want it to be.
How do you become more satisfied with your life? Here are some quick tips:
- Keep a gratitude journal like the Five-Minute Journal or simply keep a blank journal to jot down 2-5 things you are grateful for every morning.
- Start and end your day by focusing on yourself and your life by staying off social media the first hour you wake up and the hour before you go to bed.
- Reflect on your accomplishments and achievements. Those didn’t happen overnight, you made them happen. So take some time to reflect and write down your accomplishments and achievements. Save this list on your computer or in a journal and read it when you feel down about yourself. You can even use this list to help you create a resume or cover letter.
- Remind yourself that everyone is on their own journey and that there are probably other people in your life that wish they were you.
- Find or start a fulfilling hobby or side-hustle to fill up the time you would be spending on social media. And if you can monetize it or scale it up, even better!
It’s ok to not love your very first or second job after college
Many college graduates or soon-to-be college graduates get caught up trying to find the perfect first job out of college. But the truth is, the chances of you finding the perfect job out of college that you will be with until the day you retire is very slim.
You will most likely switch jobs many times before you find the job you want to stick with for the rest of your life.
Related: Adulting 101: How to Quit Your Job
And that’s ok because working the same job for 40 years would not allow you to grow as much or gain as many skills versus having three or more jobs throughout your lifetime.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, a person will change their job 12 times within a lifetime. With half of those jobs being held between the ages of 18 to 24.
It’s ok to start your first job out of college and quit it within the first year.
Your first job out of college doesn’t have to be a long-term thing. You can pivot as soon as you see the red flags, and trust me, it is more worth it to quit a job to save your sanity and mental health than to struggle day-to-day to get up for a soul-crushing job.
Routines and systems are the keys to success
For you to be successful in your life after college, it is important for you to create sustainable routines and systems for yourself.
Having systems and routines in place such as…
- A morning routine
- An after-work routine
- A night routine
- A system to pay your monthly bills
- A system when you go grocery shopping
- A system to clean your home
Will help you keep your life more organized, productive, and manageable, especially when you are having a busier week.
I remember after graduating from college, I started my first job out of college as a vision therapist and moved into my first apartment with my boyfriend. And I felt completely overwhelmed by EVERYTHING.
I would stay up at night thinking and feeling completely stressed out about how I would get rent paid, the laundry cleaned and put away, and when I would have time to go grocery shopping.
And I was a complete mental wreck the first two to three months of moving out of my parent’s house.
I ended up, over time, creating routines and systems for myself so I now have a plan to do laundry every weekend, to pay my bills on the 15th and 30th of each month, and to go grocery shopping bi-weekly every Saturday after I go for my morning run.
So if you are feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do when you start your life after college, start by setting aside just 5-minutes a day to do laundry or clean the dishes.
Then decide on a day when you will pay your bills.
If you are paid bi-weekly, plan to tackle your bills twice a month the day you get paid. And go from there. Soon you’ll be a pro at keeping your life together 99.9% of the time.
Concluding thoughts on life after college
There are a lot of unknowns about life after college. And there’s a lot that people won’t tell you about what it is really like after college.
In this blog post, we discussed 7 things no one tells you about life after college.
- Life gets easier after college
- Money buys you comfort more than happiness
- No one cares about your GPA after college, so don’t stress too much about it
- You will lose touch with your friends from college, but make new ones or get closer to the friends you still have
- You will always feel behind
- It’s ok to not love your first or second job out of college
- Having routines and systems are the key to success
Related posts to life after college
- 20 Things You Should Know How To Do By Your 20s
- Adulting 101: How To Quit Your Job
- How To Stop Spending Money And Start Saving Money
- How To Build An Emergency Fund
- How To Make Friends After You Graduate College
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