As a kid in elementary school, I always thought about middle school as such a distant and relatively unachievable goal. In middle school, I had the same impression of high school and similarly that of college when I was in high school. When I thought about after college life as a college freshman, I had no idea what to expect or that four years would go by so quickly. Unlike the differences between elementary, middle, or high school, after college was a complete unknown and the beginning of a real world classroom. Life after college can be a giant question mark or unknown and it can be easy to speculate on what it might be like to no longer mean to be a college student. Speculation can lead to inaccuracies, but they can also lead to questions that may wait around for the truth. With this in mind, I began thinking about what I had speculated about life after college, as a college student. Many things came to mind, including the following, which are the beginning of answers to my initial college student speculations…
1) Just because you’re an art major, doesn’t mean you can’t be a business person
Graduating from college with a degree in a specific area doesn’t have to dictate where you go once you graduate. Picking your major in college and sticking with it through a career is not realistic for everyone. For instance, my mom decided that she wanted to go back to college and get a master’s degree to change fields. It’s not always as easy as going back to school, but don’t let a college degree stop you from what you want to do.
2) You won’t live in an apartment right away (or at least you won’t live in the perfect apartment right away)
Perhaps it’s just me, but I had a grand dream of living in an amazing apartment right after college. Now I’m not saying that living independently or living in an apartment isn’t realistic after college, but rather that you most likely wont find the “perfect apartment” right away. Why you might ask? Having crappy apartments and learning how to live independently makes the perfect apartment, “the perfect apartment.”
3) Moving home is not giving up, especially when your parents let you live there rent-free
Even if you have a great relationship with your parents, you most likely don’t want to move home with them. It’s important to keep in mind that moving home doesn’t have to be the end-all-be-all answer and that living at home is a great way to save money for a future apartment…
4) Staying in touch is hard, not impossible
Whether it be high school or college friends, there’s no doubt that staying in touch is difficult after college. Sure there are plenty of ways to stay in touch (Facebook, Texting, E-mail, Snail Mail, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc), but all of them still require effort to keep up communication with friends. It’s surprising how easy it is to be absorbed with your own problems and easily fall out of touch with those you once talked to everyday.
5) Don’t settle, but don’t hold out for unrealistic ideas
During senior year of college, I was determined to find the perfect job. Through job searching (read job hunting), I weeded through tons of databases and job postings. It’s hard to not settle when looking for that first job position. You’ve been training, educating yourself, and preparing for the future so it can be hard to settle. Now, that doesn’t mean you should start filling out applications for jobs that you’re overqualified for. Finding the perfect job is more about finding the perfect job after college. Location, money, time and resources are just a few factors that may inhibit a new college graduate from landing their dream job. Well that and the 3-5 years of industry experience, but that can be something to work towards.
While every college graduate is different and moves at a different rate, it is important to think about how life changes and progresses after college. In some ways, college and life after college are not all that different from one another.