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6 Things I Wish I Knew About Life After College When I Was 21

Feeling lost, and stressed after graduating with no idea what to do? You’re not alone. Read on if you want to feel comforted with a new sense of motivation.

college graduation
Image: Nick Starichenko/Shutterstock

For many university and college students, graduation means leaving the familiarity of home and stepping out into a new world. With new responsibilities come new challenges, but it doesn’t have to be as scary as you may think it is.

Leaving university is a major change in your life and it can feel overwhelming. You might wonder what this new chapter will bring, including how it will affect you as an individual.

If you’ve watched Gilmore girls then I’m sure you’re familiar with Rory Gilmore’s breakdown about her future which I think everyone can relate to.

“ Everything’s just ending, I just feel like everything is gonna be over….and it’s just like I’m standing on this cliff, looking out into this huge, foggy abyss…I don’t know what’s out there…”

Gilmore Girls, season 7, ep 7

Knowing where to begin when everything feels so unfamiliar again can be daunting. While some people adjust to life as an adult with ease, others struggle to fit in at first, which is normal. This article highlights some great examples of how transitioning from university to adult life can be easier than you think!

1. Prepare, plan and relax

Have a list of goals and things you have in mind that you want to do, or plan to do. However, not knowing what your next step is is absolutely normal and more common than not. I remember having no idea what my next goal is and kind of letting life take me where it does but with this, you also impact where life takes you based on choices. For example, make a mental note of finding a job and aim to put this into action, then leave what you can’t control to the universe.

2. Find activities you love

Whether it’s running, photography, or volunteering, find an activity that you truly love and will keep you busy. It doesn’t have to be the most popular hobby or even something that you would have considered before university. You might be surprised at what you discover if you explore new interests.

It can be easy to get caught up in the daily grind of classes and responsibilities when you are still trying to adjust to the new normal that comes with leaving university, but there are also plenty of ways to enjoy your newfound freedom. As clique as it sounds, the world is your oyster and you can do literally whatever you want.

3. Don’t be afraid to go out alone

One of the first things people notice when transitioning from university to adult life is the increased pressure to socialize. Many people come out of university feeling like they are expected to know everyone, but that’s not how life works in the real world. It’s okay if you don’t know everyone in your city or your town.

You don’t have to be someone you are not. You may feel pressure to conform to the social norms of your new community, but that pressure only exists because it’s new to you. You may be surprised how easy it is to let it go once you’re in the rhythm of life again.

4. Networking is key

Networking is key. I didn’t really get this until I found myself doing it and realizing it’s one of the best things to do after university. Surround your social media with people who inspire you and who are alike in the things you want to do, whether that’s writing, photography, or whatever goals you are trying to achieve. Reach out to people and try to go to events where you can collab and talk.

Networking is a great way to meet new people and make connections with people who can help you in your career and personal life. Many people transition from university to adult life feeling as though they don’t know anyone, but networking is a great way to reverse that feeling. Networking can be done through various activities, such as attending events, joining clubs, or volunteering at a local organization.

5. Ask for help when you need it

Often, university students don’t realize that they need help coping with the transition to adulthood. It’s easy to forget that you have responsibilities and may even forget what those responsibilities are. It’s important to remember that you are not alone during this transition period; you can call your university’s counseling service or ask a family member or friend to help.

6. And finally, don’t forget to enjoy yourself

Life is short, so while you are working hard to build a great life, don’t forget to enjoy the moment. Often, university students forget that they need to enjoy their new lives as adults and put too much focus on their futures. Your life is happening now, be responsible but also have fun and live life on the edge sometimes.

Yes, you’re an adult but that doesn’t mean your life as you knew it is over, it’s just a new chapter.

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