So you’ve finally made it out of college! Congratulations! After years of sleepless nights, hell weeks, and hard work, you feel that you’re now ready to tackle and navigate your way through the road called “real life.” Yet, days and months after graduation, all these little challenges start reeling in and you eventually start wondering how complicated life could possibly get.
1. Feeling lost and clueless after graduation
After the graduation hype and congratulatory remarks have all died down and the celebrations have ended, you suddenly realize that “real life” starts now. People seem to have gotten back to their normal routines and you now find yourself with so much time on your hands yet with little money to spare.
What to do: If you think you’ve gotten enough rest and are now mentally and emotionally ready for full-time work, start scouring job boards and applying for jobs that interest you. If not, you can always take part-time work and a few projects with pay that is just enough to sustain your everyday expenses. If you feel that you still need to boost some of your skills, there are online certificate courses that you can take for just a minimal fee.
2. Dealing with relatives who ask you where you’re going to work
A common scenario in every graduation celebration involves relatives asking you where you’re going to work. This is something you can never fully avoid. While you know that you just through that question of when you’re going to graduate – something that they’ve been pestering you with since you entered college – it may still be a bit unnerving to have to satisfy another curiosity fit from your relatives.
What to do: When you encounter this question, simply smile and say that you’re just about to start on your applications. Instead of dreading this scenario, you can even take this opportunity to ask them for suggestions or recommendations.
3. Seeing classmates get jobs and feeling left behind
Weeks after graduation and you hear news that your blockmates and some friends from the university have already had their first day or have just been offered a job. You suddenly feel pangs of anxiety and you start wondering whether you’ve been too lax in your applications.
What to do: First, remember that people all have their own time. Just because some of your batchmates have already started working doesn’t mean that you’ve already fallen behind. However, if you feel really worried about it, you can always enhance your job application efforts and prepare well enough to get the job you want.
4. Not knowing how to spend your first pay
You’ve finally gotten a job that you like best and are slowly learning the ropes of the work. Payday arrives and you feel like you have to reward yourself for all the adjustments and efforts you’ve made in the past 15 days. You enter the shopping mall and encounter that thing that you’ve been eyeing to buy for the past weeks. Yet, you have doubts on whether it’s logical to spend your hard-earned money on it.
What to do: You can, of course, enjoy your first pay however you want. You can buy something that you really like and even treat your family. Yet, make sure to develop the habit of leaving enough for yourself and for the bank. You’ll soon realize that money flies faster than you expect it to and you have to make sure that your hard-earned money is going to the right basket.
5. Suddenly realizing that your office clothes look shabby
After spending a few weeks at the office, you can’t help but look at how well dressed and neat your co-workers are. Everyone seems to have finely pressed clothes while you try to make do with the clothes that you’ve had since you entered college. As such, you’re always left struggling with what to wear at work every waking day.
What to do: While dress code depends on the nature of your work and the company you work for, it doesn’t hurt to dress well and look presentable. Since you already have some moolah in your hands, go ahead and invest on good clothing and comfortable shoes. Upgrading the closet is a necessary step in your transition from being a student to a young professional. Make sure to find pieces that are of good quality and can last for many years.
6. Wondering where college life went and secretly wishing that school didn’t end too soon
You’ve already had your first few months at work and are now aware of how much of a roller coaster ‘real life’ is. During lunch breaks and in your travel to and from work, you think about how much you miss college life and how badly you wish you’re a student once again. You think about the things that you did and didn’t do back then and wonder whether you’ll still have time to do them now that you’re mostly preoccupied with work.
What to do: Remember, transitioning from being a student to a young professional isn’t easy. The environment is different and you’re now accountable to many things. Yet, don’t dismiss this kind of life too soon. Know that you’ll always find time to do things that you want only if you try really hard. The good thing with this setup now is that you learn the discipline of working really hard in order to do something that you like and even getting “allowance” for it.