College is four (and sometimes longer) years of stress, no money, and a lot of fun. Graduating is a huge accomplishment, but it can also be completely nerve racking. The years of finding a job in your field right after graduation are in decline. Whether you moved back in with your parents to save money, stayed with roommates, or went out on your own, life after college is a whole other beast.
Everyone is completely different, so you may be fine after graduation. If you’re not fine – THAT’S OKAY. Most people aren’t okay. Most people are struggling to keep up with work, bills, and a personal life. Hopefully, some of these tips can help you get through the years post-graduation.
Find One Thing You Love
Holding onto something you love during your post-college twenty-something years is crucial. After college, times may get a little rough. In order to save up money or put time in to get that promotion, you may find it hard to travel or spend time with your friends like you used to do. Holding onto one thing you love may help all that pressure feel a little lighter. Even if that something costs a little money, you’re going to need that happiness in your life. It’s the only way to stay sane. If you can’t find something you love, don’t feel pressured. It’s okay to not feel happy all the time.
Be Comfortable With Grey
I’m not talking about Fifty Shades or even wearing the color. I’m talking about the proverbial “grey area”. It’s messy in there. No wants to be in the grey area of relationships, jobs, or even money. As humans, we crave answers. We want to know that doing X will get us to Y. Unfortunately, no one tells you what you really need to get to Y. In fact, there are no real answers on how to handle the rest of your life following graduation. That’s okay. The sooner you get comfortable with the fact that you won’t know everything right after graduation, the better you’ll be in the long run.
This is true for ANYONE, so listen up. Balancing your work and your personal life is extremely difficult. No matter the field or how much you get paid, you will have to find a balance. Everyone struggles with this. Everyone needs to figure out what works for them. If you are struggling with juggling everything in your life, try a brain dump.
When I was in college, I saw this amazing speaker at a conference. She borrowed the idea, and now I am too. Take out a sheet of paper. Write down LITERALLY everything in your brain. All the appointments, bills, hopes, and dreams. Now, only circle five of those things. Those five things should be the most pressing. Deal with those first. Forget the rest of the page. Only when those tasks are done, will you circle another five. You would be amazed by how easy it is to get done a few things when the pressure of everything else is not clogging up your brain.
Pay Private Loans
Word of advice: pay private loans off as soon as you feasibly can. The federal government (FAFSA) are much easier to work with then private lenders. Private lenders tend to not care if you can’t make payments. It’s either pay for a deferment or go into default. The federal government will let you restructure your payment plan. Private lenders – not so much. Companies may not make that clear when you sign your life away in order to get a better education. Keep that in mind in 6-9 months when the bills start up.
Don’t Put Too Much Stock in Social Media
We ALL have that one friend who gets engaged right after college. Moved into that big house after the big wedding. What you don’t know is that your friend is actually in a terrible marriage, and they bought the house for cheap because the roof is leaking and there is termite damage. All you see, however, are the Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook photos of their life and think that you are left behind. DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO ONE SECOND GLIMPSES INTO SOMEONE’S LIFE. No good will come of it – trust me. You need to focus on your life and all the amazing or not so amazing things going on. Even try taking a break from social media for awhile. It is unbelievably less stressful. You have enough things to worry about. You don’t need to be worrying about what all those friends are doing. They might be miserable, too. They could be hiding it to save face because they too have the friend with the supposed ‘great life’. Just because someone smiles in a selfie doesn’t mean anything.
Get a Side Hustle
Speaking of working and the Internet, another great way to survive post-college crapola is to get a side job. This could be a standard part-time job, but it can be hard to manage all that. More and more Millennials are flocking to find alternative means to making more money without having to do full-time work. Many people opt for selling stuff online, being a representative for a company, online writing jobs, or even careers on social media. Sometimes, the side gig can turn into a passion. Plus, the extra money doesn’t hurt.
You are young. Don’t be afraid to be young. If you can’t do a brain dump – oh well! If your job sucks and you want something better, that’s okay. People (let’s be honest – our parents) can sometimes forget what it was like at 22 or 23. They forget what it was like to not know. Unfortunately or fortunately for us, Millennials have so many more choices than our parents did. The fact that people can become millionaires by working online is proof enough that we can do anything. Sometimes, too many choices can be a bad thing, especially if you’re indecisive. Again, don’t worry. It’s okay to work somewhere sucky until you get that better job. Just don’t forget to keep going no matter how crazy things seem.