Friday, May 10, 2013

Post College Advice

Happy Friday!!

This was originally a guest post on my lovely friend Diana's blog, where I talked about my transition from college to the real world. I listed the 5 lessons that I've learned since graduating in 2011.

I figure I could ramble on for hours, so for your sake (and to avoid getting carpel-tunnel), I kept it to 5 main points. 

I know many of you beautiful readers are going to find yourselves in this transition very shortly!
So I hope this advice resonates with you :)

1. Don't be afraid of rejection.

I was fortunate to find a job right after college, but believe me, senior year I sent out my fair share of job applications and resumes.

Most of which I never heard back from. And the ones I did? Well, let's say I quickly became a lot better at dealing with rejection. 

I had by far the worst interview of my life while applying for an actuary position. It was seriously awful. I probably should have known it wasn't the right fit when I had to google "actuary" before the interview. 

The plus side? I can now walk into every interview knowing it can't be that bad.  

If you're anything like me, the road up until college was pretty clearly paved for you. 

Elementary School: check
Junior High: check
High School: check
College: check

Okay... now what?

For the first time, I was faced with a completely blank canvas. Having endless possible doors staring you in the face can lead to a decent amount of them being closed for you. 

Don't be afraid of that. Embrace it. Throw yourself out there, and just see what happens. 

And rest assured that there is a very loving God who has a perfect plan for you!

2. What makes you happy?

Once you're done with school, you have this beautiful thing called free time

Unless your job is the kind that comes home with you, when you leave the office, that's your chance to check out. For me, week days after 5PM and weekends are my time. 

Since graduating, I've really been able to think about what makes me happy. I started asking myself what activities add joy to my life? Those are the things that fill up that priceless free time. 

What makes me happy? Running, reading and growing closer to Jesus. 

I don't yet have a picture of me and Jesus, but when I do I'll try my best to send it to you all. 

In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin talks about one of her Secrets of Adulthood:

What's fun for other people may not be fun for you - and vise versa. 

This is a huge thing that I've learned post college. Just because something brings joy to someone else, does not necessarily mean it will bring me joy. Do a little searching and find what's really fun for you

3. Make an effort.

Friendships take work. Any form of a relationship takes a lot of time and effort in order to thrive, and your friendships are no exception. After college, you might be lucky and still have your closest friends just minutes away. Or, maybe they are hours, even states away. 

Regardless, I have learned that the older I get, the more important quality time is to keep my friendships strong. 

Spoiler alert: after college, life gets pretty cray. Between working 40 or more hours a week, and filling your free time with that stuff that makes you happy, you may find yourself staring at a pretty packed schedule. 

Make an effort to keep in touch with your friends. And heck, I would dare to say make an effort to make some new ones! Get out of your comfort zone, talk to some strangers, you never know who's going to become one of your best pals down the line. 

Your friends that are far away? Go take a weekend getaway to enjoy some quality time together. Your friends that are close by? Set aside an hour every so often for that much needed coffee date. 

And yes, I'm gonna go here: that blog friend that you just know you would be bffs with in real life? Go ahead and schedule a skype date to get to know each other better.

When life gets crazy, you'll be glad that you have the amazing friendships in your life to help you get through. I know I am!

4. Write it down.

So, you just finished college, earned your degree and have either gotten or are searching for your big break into the working work. 

Now what?

Your career is just one part of your entire glorious life. So what are you gonna do with the rest?

A few months after finishing school, I got the crazy idea to start a blog. And I am so glad that I did! By seeing other people doing this post-college life thing, I realized that for a goal-oriented person, I had barely any concrete goals for myself. 

Get a job. Get a husband. Make some babies. 

That was it! Pretty lofty expectations for myself, huh?

So I changed that. I got to thinking, what do I want to do with this one glorious life? And as I figured it out, I would write it down. Heck, I'm still figuring it out, and still writing it down. Which usually lands itself on the blog.

Writing something down helps you track your progress, and holds you accountable. Pick some goals for yourself, heck even make some crazy ones. And go after them!

5. Enjoy the ride!

I learned something very quickly after college: none of us have it all. 

I found myself with a great job, great friends and living somewhere far greater than I ever could have imagined. 

You know what I didn't have? A great boyfriend. 

And growing up, that's what I most wanted to have at this age. 

But as I looked around at all of my friends, it became very clear to me that none of us have everything we thought we would. Some of my friends had the boyfriend, but not the career. Some had the great job, but felt isolated without any close friends. And some were like me, no where near close to marriage, but seemed to have the rest pretty lined up. 

I took a good look in the mirror, and realized I'm pretty darn happy with what I've got. 

You can always focus on what you don't have, but choose to focus on what you do have. 

Enjoy this beautiful ride of life, and all of the unexpected twists and turns that come with it! Don't forget. the Conductor knows what He's doing ;)


Pamela said...

I've been interested in reading that book! LOVE this post!

Anonymous said...

GIRL. I needed this. I've got the post graduate blues and I've had them for a good like 6 months now. Horrible.

I'll definitely be checking out that book -- thanks for the recommendation!!


Anonymous said...

Love this post! I still have a few years to go before I graduate, but this has been so helpful to keep in mind:)

Lee Ann said...

Amy, I love this advice and it is all so true and wise. I was told to "embrace being an adult". It was great advice, because the transition to the working world is tough, but can be oh so much fun. A bottle of wine that I don't have to share with 5 other people because I can afford it all by myself- yes please! :)

Lee Ann

Madalyn said...

What great advice! I would add the loads of bills and chores that you have to do for yourself after the fact and depending where you move, finding a church that fits your beliefs! That is what has been most difficult about moving and growing up - finding your home away from home at a church where I am most comfortable. I loved reading this post!

Kiki said...

SUCH a good post. As that recent college grad, being reminded to just enjoy the ride was exactly what I needed to read. It's so easy to get caught up in all of the "what am I going to do?" worries that it's easy to forget to just enjoy being a graduate and do things that make you happy! Thanks, friend!