When school is over and you enter the real world, a lot of big changes happen at once. Your friend group will change. Your schedule will change. Your diet will change. It will seem like you’re living in a different place after graduation, even if you stay put (in some cases, you will actually be in a different city). This can be a lot to deal with, but it won’t last forever and there are things you can be proactive about to make the transition smoother.
Be patient and kind; build your support system. Some of your friends are going to become very busy, some of them are going to move home or move away, some may really struggle to establish themselves and be looking to you for support when you’re becoming really busy or moving away or struggling. Doing your best to be there for them and to understand what they need will help you to build a support system in the years to come. Be communicative and understanding now and they’ll give you space or a shoulder to lean on when you need it too.
Edit the way you portray yourself. One of the biggest struggles for people graduating college right now is getting a job. The unemployment rate is not good, especially for young people. But you can start making yourself stand out by creating an online brand i.e. have a twitter, have a Linkedin, have a website and edit them carefully to be sure that showcase what you want employers to know about you and how you want them to see you. Hopefully by now you have some internships under your belt, so change your cover letters and resume from “I’m eager to learn” to “I know what I’m doing” if you’re looking for a real, paid position. Think about everything you send out – how you phrase your email correspondence and what points you emphasize on your resume can make the difference between coming off as confident and competent or inexperienced and desperate.
Continue to better yourself. Take classes. Read books. Learn a language or brush up your piano. There are lots of things you can do for little or no money to continue growing. Don’t let school be the end of your education. Not only will it look good on your resume, it’ll make you feel good about yourself and help you to maintain forward momentum, even when your days are made up of coffee runs and phone calls and excel sheets.
Manage your expectations. Everything takes time. When you’re in school, things seem to fly by. There’s a set time limit on when you will reach each next step. After graduation, there are no more deadlines for reaching next steps in life. Be patient with yourself and with your career. Know that your dreams may change; or at least, realize that getting that amazing job and beautiful apartment may take time – and not 3 months time or 1 year’s time (unless you’re in something like finance or medicine, and even then, nothing is certain). It could be several years
But it’s not all bad! Some of it will actually be really fun, and at least we’re all in it together! Plus, there’s no homework (except what you give yourself, you nerd).