Hello future and current college students! My name is Samantha Jacquest and I am a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewster. I studied journalism and professional writing and book publishing in my four years. After a year as a newspaper designer for papers across the country, I’m heading back to school for my master’s in publishing. I’m using my graduate studies as an excuse to travel and will be studying in London for a year! I’m so excited about everything I have left to do and love sharing what I’ve learned.
Congratulations! You’re almost there – in the final stretch! Whether graduation is a year or semester away, you’re finally getting that feeling that it’s almost over.
And with the end of college comes the beginning of something else. Let’s call it, The Rest of Your Life. That means it’s time to start making some big decisions: where will you apply for jobs? Where will you live after graduation? Should you go to grad school? Will your college relationship survive? Will your friendships still exist? So many questions, each with an unlimited amount of possible answers. It may seem overwhelming, but I’m here to give you some advice…
It’s not that serious!
Sure, it’s important to start The Rest of Your Life on the right foot. Dream big, apply for great jobs, look at stylish apartments in your ideal location. But while you’re doing this, keep in mind that you have the rest of your life for life in the big city with the dream job.
While I was planning The Rest of My Life, I was dead set on moving to the city and starting my journey to the perfect career. I romanticized life after college and I didn’t allow myself to look for other opportunities that strayed from that vision. I easily could have found a job more suited to what I studied in college, but that would mean giving up my vision, which I was not willing to do. So, I moved to the city, took a job that I was initially excited about, but knew wouldn’t last long, and started The Rest of My Life.
And you know what happened? My romantic vision died really quick.
I realized I had planned The Rest of My Life based on fairy tales: location doesn’t matter if you don’t like your job and don’t know anyone in the area, so you spend your free time binging on Netflix. The job doesn’t matter if you feel it’s a dead end. And most importantly, the lifestyle you thought would be so perfect doesn’t matter if everything in it makes you feel miserable.
Of course most first jobs aren’t great, or the location of your first job is dreary, but the point is to have balance. If you’re taking a job where you slave away in order to pay your dues, at least make sure it’s worth it, and it helps if you’re surrounded by people who cheer you up. If you’re in a brand new location and feeling alone, at least make sure your job is headed somewhere.
Having said all this, I do not regret making the move to the city and working the mediocre job, because if I had not done it, I would have always wondered what could have been. I said not to stress and to think about all the realistic possibilities, but at the same time hold tight to your dream. If you have the opportunity to start your romanticized version of The Rest of Your Life, take it. But don’t feel like you failed if the reality doesn’t live up to the fantasy.