Embracing the Unknown After Graduation

Congratulations graduate! You have now entered a new realm within your life after four years of staying up countless hours to study for exams, write (what seemed like) never-ending research papers, and create PowerPoint documents for those "oh so boring" class presentations. You've busted your tail, and may have sacrificed a few fun nights out on the town along the way in order to maintain that 4.0 (or roughly 3.5) GPA that you knew you were highly capable of and deserved.

Let's be honest, a few times over your college career, I'm more than sure you felt overwhelmed, with sporadic thoughts of throwing in the towel -- but you didn't. Instead, you SURVIVED and made it through college! So congratulations to you, with your bad self! You finally obtained possession of that highly regarded "magical" piece of paper -- formally known as your degree and you feel as though you're ready to take on the world!

Here's a reality check, once it sinks in you'll soon realize that you're not as ready as you thought you'd be. You're now entering an unknown phase in your life, and must figure out a way to embrace it.

Now, don't misconstrue my words. If you're one of those individuals who was really on top of your "A" game during college and had that "perfect" job lined up upon graduation -- then that's great, I commend you! That's not the point I'm trying to make here. I still would like you to understand the bigger picture, which is: graduating college is an extremely life-altering event leading to an emotional roller coaster and discovery of your new found self -- which exceeds far beyond landing that "perfect" job or any entry-level opportunity.

At some point after the "congratulations... you made it" cards and phone calls subside, you are ultimately left with your thoughts and realize that days of the hustle and bustle registering for classes, logging onto ratemyprofessor.com (to ensure that your professor was actually cool, lenient with the work, and not a power tripping creep), and making sure everything is in good standing with financial aid -- are over. Unless you're continuing straight onto graduate school but that's another story. Anyway, it may seem as though everything you were ever positively sure of is now a little fuzzy, and once again, you're a small fish in a BIG pond, left to find your way in a place you so desperately craved away from the meaningless papers and two-hour lectures, called "The Real World."

Wait... wait, before you give this post a side eye, or start feeling sad, understand in no way am I trying to discourage you. I just want you to know that you're not alone. The reason we never fully prep ourselves for this moment (no matter how many times we've been warned) is because it's a part of life and we simply can't. It's one of those situations you must grow through, and find your balance like you've done many times before in the past. It's called starting a new journey.

Let's travel back in time a little. Back to when college graduation seemed like a distant dream that we knew we'd one day conquer but had all the time in the world because after all, it was 'extremely' far away... so we thought. If you think back, you'll notice that this isn't the first time in your life you had to learn the ways of a new journey and it certainly won't be the last.

Think of what you're going through now as a twenty-something-year-old college graduate, from the perspective of your former 17- or 18-year-old self, fresh out of high school. Remember the summer before stepping foot on campus? Your thoughts were probably running wild with wonder and excitement of entering into the unknown. Then the time came, where you had to bid farewell to the life you once knew as a high school student and entered the highly anticipated world of college. In the beginning, you may have felt out of place and realized that you must quickly learn the ways of this new environment causing you to dive into survival mode. It was a different vibe, which made you soon realize that your old immature ways of high school didn't fit in with this new place, so you analyzed, learned the ways of the upperclassman, made some cool friends, and adapted. If you really think back, you'll remember at the beginning, that wasn't easy to do, and you were probably reminiscing about your high-school days back then (as you are now about your college days). Eventually, a year and two semesters passed and you realized college wasn't so bad after all. By the time your sophomore year rolled around you somehow found your balance.

That's exactly what you're going through right now as newly fresh-out-of-college graduate. It's about finding internal balance again, that's all. It's somewhat like riding a bike after a long time, you're a little rusty and may wobble but you somehow are able to pick back up your speed.

I highly encourage you to feel out the streaming currents of life by allowing yourself to go with the flow. In the mist of searching for your entry-level job opportunity, try to focus on who and where you are right now in this moment. Think of yourself as a freshman again, in a new field.

The truth is, change is never easy for any of us, but if you give it time by embracing the unknown of this new journey you'll soon find it to be exciting. Growing enables you to realize that our lives are a constant tug of war letting go of the past and accepting the unknown future. Your college days are now over. It's time for a new start, by finding joy in making new memories, with new people, in new places!

It's not the end of the world. Trust me, I know. You must keep pushing.