Congratulations Class of 2017! You stuck through it all and you made it across the stage! You have done it! You made it through four years of classes that seemed way too long, countless papers that were either too short or too long, countless all-nighters that may or may not have been avoidable and the ever so fun weeks of finals. You’ve grown, you’ve laughed, you’ve cried, and probably considered up and leaving school either mid paper or mid-studying for that midterm exam.
You stuck through it all and you made it across the stage! You have done it! You made it through four years of classes that seemed way too long, countless papers that were either too short or too long, countless all-nighters that may or may not have been avoidable and the ever so fun weeks of finals. You’ve grown, you’ve laughed, you’ve cried, and probably considered up and leaving school either mid paper or mid-studying for that midterm exam. Remember when you graduated high school and you felt like an adult finally, all that freedom you’d have in college? I absolutely remember that and then when I graduated college I absolutely felt it again but I also felt a little lost. In high school, your biggest decision was where you were going to school, now that you’ve gone through it all, what’s next? What do you do? Here are my few words of advice coming from a newly graduated master’s student.
Be Proud of Yourself
No matter what, be proud of yourself. You have achieved something so wonderful, only 6.7% of the people in the world have a degree. In the grand scheme of things, your GPA doesn’t ultimately matter and honestly, you don’t even have to put it on your resume. Whatever it is, accept it and be proud of yourself of all that you’ve done. Even if you didn’t get into a master’s program or something you really were aiming for, don’t give up. You will figure it out but in the meantime be proud and enjoy the excitement.
Do Not Freak Out
If you don’t have plans yet do not freak out, it’ll all get sorted and you’ll find something, reach out to your alumni network! Also, you’re what? 21 or 22? You don’t need to have your career, love life, or anything figured and planned out already and if others do; don’t compare. We’re all selective in what we share in life so don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re the only one who doesn’t have things together. You’re not alone!
This was one of my biggest lessons I learned after I graduated from undergrad. The friends you made at school may not stick around. It’s sad and a hard truth but it’s true. I felt so hurt by the people I considered my closest friends because I would reach out and have conversations that went nowhere or had no replies. I remember being especially hurt when a friend came from out of state to Philadelphia for a mini weekend getaway with very few things planned. I found out via snapchat and was hurt that they didn’t even think to just say hi. But they’re at a different place in their life now and honestly despite what I thought, they probably did have something planned and if not then oh well someone doesn’t want to get together. Some of your friends will move on but some will honestly just be busy and haven’t figured out a balance yet. You’ll start figuring out who will stick around and who are really there for you. My very best friend and I barely speak mostly because she and I are so busy. She’s doing a doctoral program and I was working and in school, we usually catch up after finals and will see each other maybe once a year. It stinks but I know that if I ever did need her she would be there in a second for me. I also have another best friend who I see often and talk to on a daily basis usually in the form of jokes, and he has been such a reliable and true friend. I’m so happy with the few friends I have that are so genuine than getting stuck on who is and is not talking or hanging out with me. Do your best to reach out but don’t be afraid to just let it go. (Cue Frozen song, I swear that was so unplanned, I not so secretly hate the movie).
Find Out Who You Are
In college, it was the time to grow and figure yourself out but while you’re in school you don’t really realize how much your roommates and peers impact who you think you are. Now is the chance to really come to understand who you are as a person and really grow. This is the time to self-reflect and really understand who you are without all the outside and extra influences.
It’s not nearly as easy as it was at school to stay healthy. Now you’re forced to sort out your own groceries, meals and you probably don’t have a gym within a 5-minute walk. Staying healthy physically and mentally needs to become priority number one. If you’re working don’t fall into the office culture of working through lunch, don’t work when you’re sick, take car of your body. Go to your doctor appointments, take your vitamins and go for extra long walks.
Just because you’re in the real world doesn’t mean that you need to be serious and lose your creativity. Honestly, I put that character trait in my resume. If you’re someone who is creative you’re also better able to adapt because you think outside of the box. This is a really big marketable skill! Not only that though, creating things is such a great way to practice self-care.
You might apply to two hundred jobs and not hear back, you may apply to medschool and not get an interview. Do not give up. At first I had a job that barely paid for my rent, I decided to take a step back, work towards my masters and then look for a new job. When I started looking again I applied to so many positions and I either didn’t hear back or I’d get an interview and again not hear back. I actually applied to my current organization twice before finally getting an interview on my third application. They were for different positions but I wanted to work so bad at the organization that I kept trying. Here’s my hint for you, seriously work hard on your cover letters, they really do impact hiring. My husband even had to do two rounds of applications for medschool. It’s normal to hit bumps and obstacles, just keep going and get over them, you can and you will!
I think the number one thing you could do to be successful is to love yourself and be confident in yourself. If you do you’ll make decisions based on what is best for you even if they’re hard decisions, like leaving a job that doesn’t appreciate your work or takes advantage of it. If you’re confident in yourself and what’s best for you, everything will work out. Plus if you’re in a really wonderful position and you love yourself and are confident you’re only going to excel at what you do and impressing the boss is always a plus.
Tell me lessons that you have learned since graduation! I would love to hear all the advice and experience you all have!
Oh Darling Congratulations!