As graduation is right around the corner, most college seniors don’t have the proper words to describe how they feel.
I would say I feel all of those things about graduating—about leaving the “fake real world” and entering the “real world.” Some days I feel only one of those emotions. Some days I feel all of them at the same time. Those are the most overwhelming days. The days where I am terrified to be on my own, anxious about getting a job, excited to be presented with new opportunities, ready to move on to bigger and better things, while also being in complete denial that my time in college is coming to an end.
Lately, I have found that everyone expects you to graduate with a job already lined up. They ask months in advance, “Oh what are your plans? Where are you going to work?” As if we know those answers.
But there is still that “what if” that lingers on your tongue when people you hardly know ask you about the future. You want to look at them and say, “Well, what if I want to travel over the summer before starting my ‘real life’? What if I want to move home and take more classes because I’m not completely sure of what I want? What if I want to take a gap year, go back to my serving job, and move back in with my parents to save money? What if I don’t know what I want?”
The adults in our lives, they all say different things. Some talk about avoiding regret and just experiencing the world, some talk about “seizing the moment” and taking the first job that is presented to you. Some say travel while you’re young while others say to jump right into the work force and travel later on. It sometimes seems as if they don’t remember being 21. 21 and terrified, anxious, excited, ready, and in denial and having to think about where they were going next.
They all say to not worry—that everything will fall into place and, while you do believe them, there is always that little voice in your head mocking you—taunting you with the idea that everything won’t fall into place and you’ll end up living in your parent’s basement forever and ever. But, let me tell you, despite being the most anxious person on the planet in regards to the future; despite being scared and thrilled all at the same time—it will all be okay. You have friends and family to lean on. You may not get your dream job, you may decide to travel, you may have to move back into your parents’ house. But all of that is okay.
Your dream job will come eventually with hard work and determination. Starting somewhere to get your foot in the door is key. It may be the back door and not the front door like you envisioned, but it’s a door, and you will get there.
No one ever said they regretted traveling. Go get ‘real life’ experience. Go see how other people live, how other people interact, how other cultures work. It will only make you more well-rounded and a better future employee.
Move back into your parents’ house! Take advantage of the cheap (or free) rent! Enjoy your mom’s cooking, save your pennies, live frugally and, while they may drive you up the wall, enjoy your parents’ company while you can.
Becoming a “real” adult takes time. It’s a learning process that is hard, that pushes you, that throws challenges your way that you never thought you would have to deal with in your early twenties.
But while you are at it—while you’re doing all of these things and trying to live your ‘real life’—take a deep breath, remember you’re not alone, and keep pushing forward.
Author: Savannah Riese
Author Bio: College Senior just trying to figure herself out. Lover of all things related to coffee, Spain, her Honda named Rhonda, Twenty One Pilots, and the color red.
Link to social media or website: https://www.instagram.com/savy.sav_/