Post Grad Life: The Advice I Wish I Would’ve Read

You can’t prepare yourself for graduating college. If I'm being honest, I was nervous, anxious, and depressed a month leading into graduating as well as about six months after.

I couldn’t really understand why I felt the way I was feeling. Various thoughts ran through my mind during the time - all the papers I had yet to turn in, all of the “see you laters” I was going to have to say, questioning if I accomplished everything I had wanted. I’ve never been good with change. I don’t know why, but my body and mind react to it in such ways that even I have a hard time understanding. This was one of those times. I think what was the hardest for me was having to accept the idea that life would never be this way again.

I couldn’t sit myself down to eat, I felt so uneasy. I had this constant pit in my stomach and lump-in-my-throat feeling. It was bad. I couldn’t go places alone anymore or go out to eat with friends. I was so fearful that every decision I made or opportunity I took would change or impact my life so greatly. Even if it was as simple as deciding to go to the grocery store or not. I felt all these feelings at once and had so many “what if’s” run through my mind. I couldn’t help but think, “What do I do now?” “Who put me in charge of my own life?” and “Can I trust myself enough to create my own life journey?”

Those are tough questions to swallow and I’m sure a lot of you may or have already felt this way. I want to tell you that you’re not alone. You may 100% feel that you’re alone, no matter how much someone tells you that you aren’t. I understand. I felt that way too. My advice to you is don’t think of all the things you have to accomplish at once. We have our whole lives to live and it took me six months after graduating to realize that.

Another question you may be asking yourself is, “What is my purpose?” Most of our life so far has been attending school, so now what is our purpose besides being a student? You may feel scared of the unknown or second guessing yourself, but trust the process. Trust that you will rediscover your purpose in life and might I add, you are full of purpose. If you’re having a hard time right now, it’s okay!

Find something that makes you happy. I found that happiness by simply going to the gym and learning how to take care of my body again. Find something you enjoy, whether that be taking art classes you’ve always wanted to take, doing yoga, or finally getting to that book you’ve been wanting to read. Whatever it may be, I’m sure you’ll absolutely love it. It’s your “me time” and you need that, especially now.

This is an exciting time to rediscover yourself. In college, you kind of attach to the interests that you and your friends like together. Moving away, has really opened my mind to new things – what I like to wear, what music I like to listen to, what books I like to read. You’ll discover new things about yourself and it’s truly a beautiful process. I’m so excited for you!

There is more to life than that “What do I do now?” feeling you might be having. If I knew this is where I would be now from where I was a year ago, then maybe I wouldn’t have had such a hard time and a more positive mindset. Feel your feelings and feel them deeply. You are where you need to be and if you think that is one step behind from the people you know, just remember that there is no time limit. It could be different from your surroundings, but they are where they need to be too.

This may lead you to having a hard time ignoring what your peers are doing. I saw my friends going to grad school, getting a big job right after college, or moving to a new city. The only thing I knew was I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and that I wasn’t ready to take on any of those big steps. I listened to what I needed and that was important. Listen to what you need during this time. Whether that is any of the things I just listed, do what YOU want and not because you think that is what you have to do.

It’s scary to have to trust yourself with these new sudden decisions, but take it each step at a time. Getting everything done at once is impossible. So, steps are good. After you accomplish one task, move to the next! Whether that be applying to your first big job or simply just getting out of bed. One step at a time.

I hope this helps. Maybe if I had read this a year ago I would have felt more excited about the process after graduating college and not have felt so alone or afraid. In my opinion, I feel as though it’s not spoken about as often as I think it should be. So, we tend to feel as though we are the only one and that no one else feels the same way. When in reality, a lot more people may than you think!

My last words of encouragement during this frightening time are - it’s going to be okay and that you’re going to be okay. This feeling you may be feeling right now is only temporary. Now go kick some real world butt!

Author: Kristy Dale | @kristyadale 

Photos: Kristy Dale | @kristyadale 


Anna Vatuone