Time seems to pass so quickly! I can't believe it's been one year since I graduated college! I know there's still a ton ahead of me but this past one year has brought so much change and new learning experiences that I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the year that's gone by – My first post grad year.
My boyfriend, David, and I moved to Chicago this year to pursue our first post-grad “real” jobs! It was exciting, stressful, scary, and fun all at the same time. I’ve loved making a home with David and having a place to call our own. At the same time, it wasn’t all fun and games. We went through stressful job hunts, financial struggles, and these things really put our relationship to the test. Coming out of college is always quite a freeing feeling, but when reality hits you and the structure of schooling disappears, a lot in your life changes very quickly.
One of the biggest things I’ve noticed about post-college life is that hardly anyone knows what they’re doing and it really doesn’t hit you how little you know until you’ve been released out into the world. In a recent interview, I was actually asked what people commonly misperceive about me and kind of ended up blurting out what was top of mind at the time. Straight out of school, I accepted a position in a field that I enjoy, doing a job that I’ve really loved and I think what people often misperceive is that just because I held that position, then I knew what I was doing or knew where my career was going. This was not the case at all! I am incredibly grateful for my current job, but to be honest, I think that everyone is fumbling at this point in life. Whether you are in graduate school, have a full-time job, or have moved back in with your parents, none of us have this thing called life figured out. And you know what? I think that’s completely okay!
I'm very much a motivated person. I'm a perpetual optimist and am always looking for ways to to make today and tomorrow better than yesterday. But being a new graduate can be very tough when it comes to looking to the future and figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life. It's a challenging transition because you go from having complete and total structure to having no structure whatsoever. At times, it feels like your education did nothing for you at all! I’m still learning how to take everything one day at a time and truly appreciating the stage of life that I am in. I am constantly reminding myself of how lucky I am to be at this point in life. A point in life where I can truly focus on myself. It is rare to be at a place where you do not have too many other obligations outside of taking care of yourself (and your cat!) and I want to continue to make the most of this opportunity to learn about myself through hobbies, career growth, travel, and new relationships.
Throughout this year, I’ve also seen the ups and downs of working a full-time job and being a part of a company. What we take for granted as students is that most of the time, our teachers truly care about our success and want us to be successful. When you become an employee of a company, the CEO of your company doesn't necessarily care as much about where you end up as your teachers at school do. You are very much on your own and very much responsible for your own success and your own well-being. It has been a struggle this past year, learning to prioritize myself and learning to fight for my own needs. I’ve recently decided to leave a position where I didn’t feel appreciated or valued as an employee and it has truly been an eye-opening experience. In school, you’re often rewarded by the amount of work you put in. If you study more, you’re more likely to earn a good grade which serves as recognition for your hard work. At a real world job, however, it doesn’t really matter how hard you work unless you have an organization, a manager, and a team that appreciates the work you’ve put in. Unfortunately, I had to learn this the hard way - but I’m incredibly hopeful and looking forward to starting a new position, and a new chapter in life.
On a more personal level, this year of exploration has truly allowed me to learn more about myself. I always loved school, so I know that I need an environment where my role at work is constantly evolving, where I am constantly learning, and where my responsibilities change from day to day. I also know that a job is just a job and I’ve loved exploring interests outside of work as well. I’ve discovered new hobbies (home decorating, painting) and have even become more committed to blogging as both a way to share my experiences and keep myself sane after 40+ hours of work per week!
If there is any advice I could give to new graduates this year is to embrace this time of uncertainty as an opportunity to explore. Whether that’s exploring the world, exploring your interests, or exploring your career - being a new graduate isa fleeting time in life and one that is incredibly valuable when it comes to learning about what you truly care about and want out of life.
This post-grad first year has been an incredibly hard, yet exciting time for me. I’ve had some of the happiest moments, yet also some of the most lonely moments all wrapped up in the same year. I know I am definitely not the only post-grad feeling this way so if you’ve felt this way as well, I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if you’ve been there, done that already, what is your best advice for a new grad?
Thanks for reading :)