The Orion

Staying on track after graduation

Tara Miller

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Tara Miller

Before graduating from college, the majority of us have followed a prescribed path where we go from one temporary situation to the next. However, once graduation passes, everything changes.

Those temporary paths that we jump from will eventually come to an end after college, as we will ultimately learn to sink or swim on our own. This becomes the ultimate test for us to see how we handle independence, especially since we have spent so much of our life being told what to do, whether that was when we needed to turn something in for school or what time we needed to show up for our shift at work.

But as graduation comes and goes, we ultimately have to face the change that our lives will take. That change is a scary thing but let’s face it, the real world will become the first constant in our lives.

No matter what you go through after graduation — whether it’s having to pay off huge student loans, living with your parents, or scraping along trying to find a job — here are a few tips for staying on your feet after college.

1) Don’t compare yourself to others.

While in college, everyone is on some somewhat equal or at least close-to-equal playing fields. After college, that can change.

The people that you hung out with will go down different paths than you. The way that they choose to go may look better than the path you select. Remember that your friends were meant to go down the paths that they chose, just as you were meant to go down yours.

Comparing your life to theirs would only harm your self-image, no one else’s. So don’t compare your life to anyone else’s. It is definitely not going to do much good.

Illustration by Liz Coffee

Illustration by Liz Coffee

2) Keep a positive attitude.

This is probably the most essential part of keeping yourself from going in a downward spiral, emotionally speaking, and maybe even physically.

Before you graduate, you will probably have some sort of image in your head about what your plan will be once graduation is over with. But if that plan doesn’t happen and you start to freak out about what to do next, this can put a damper on your whole attitude about your future.

If this happens, just remember that no one said life would be easy. The only thing you can do is pick yourself up and keep moving along. Smile and remember that there are a million other things in this world that can go wrong. If it helps, make a list of other options that you can consider and make a whole new picture of what you want your life to be like.

3) Allow yourself to flounder a bit.

Taking some time for yourself after you graduate is totally OK, within reason. Any more than a couple months and the real world might start to catch up with you.

Take some time to settle into your new life before starting a new job that pays all the bills. It will definitely give you some time to really enjoy yourself and to have a little fun before the real business begins.

No matter what it is you choose to do after college, just remember that it is your path, no one else’s. Don’t worry about anything else except for the direction that you are headed.

Tara Miller can be reached at tmiller@theorion.com or @chicojournalist on Twitter.

 

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Staying on track after graduation