10 Warnings No One Gives You Before College Graduation
College graduation. It is a time that brings with it a little excitement and a little apprehension. You have the rest of your life ahead of you, so it’s time to take what you’ve learned and put it all together to figure out who you’re going to be for the next 50 or 60 years. Come to think of it, both excitement and apprehension are worthy feelings because of the uncertainty ahead. That uncertainty is because no one usually warns you ahead of time about the 10 realities that follow.
It really isn’t out of malice either. Life is hard to remember when you’ve lived so much of it, and you’ll find that in the next 10 years, you could be a completely different person than the one, who walked across that platform and collected a degree. Maybe people are not warning you because they’ve forgotten themselves, or maybe they are just too busy with their own thing to pause and give some advice. Whatever the case, we’re here to help. These are the things that you really need to remember.
1. Payback time comes sooner than you think.
When you get out of college, the forbearance period on your student loans may give you an extra six months, but eventually you have to start paying things back. And even though forbearance is there as a fallback, you don’t want to find yourself in the position of using it. That’s because it means your loans will be with you that much longer, and the extra relief you get from the 180 days-or-so will fly by. The best course of action? Get any type of job that you can immediately out of college, even if that’s the only bill you take on.
2. Six-figure dream jobs will not be your first exposure to the workforce.
Even for the highly educated, it is a very competitive world out there. That’s because you are often competing with a well-trained global job market. While you can get to where you want to be professionally, it likely will not happen in the first few years after college graduation. As a result, you may find yourself facing difficulties financially, while growing frustrated with a perceived lack of professional advancement. Don’t let it get the better of you, or the feeling that you’ve failed will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
3. If you make more, you will spend more.
As income rises, you have a tendency to pledge that money toward a variety of expenses and frivolities. It is important to know this ahead of time, so you can make sure that you’re not throwing your money away on things that don’t matter in favor of the things that do. Make a list of life goals. Do you want to own a home? A nice car? Be completely debt free? Use the immediate follow-up of your college graduation to determine what really matters to you, and pursue those goals first and foremost.
4. Friendships are harder to acquire.
While it is not as difficult as it used to be to find dates and online meet-up groups with interests similar to your own, most college graduates fail to take the necessary steps for doing so. They get wrapped up in their careers and their expenses, or they get too comfortable with their current station, and that significantly affects their social lives — unless, of course, they are aware of the dangers ahead of time and make an active and interesting social life their goals.
5. Friendships are easy to lose.
Unfortunately, many of the people that I used to see and speak to and party with on a daily basis are nowhere to be found in my life any more, nor I them. It isn’t that we had a falling-out. It’s simply that life got in the way, and we forged our individual paths away from one another. It will happen to you, too. That’s why you should use texting and social media and video chats and vacation time to your advantage. If these people really matter to you now, and you don’t want to lose touch with them, then don’t let it happen. It’s up to you.
6. Body- and mind-wise, you’re not the same person you were during finals week.
There was one former classmate, who didn’t sleep for 72 hours during finals week. Not an exaggeration. You try that at 30, and you’ll likely end up in the emergency room. Bodies get older, and so do our minds. It is important to use them wisely to stave off the effects of aging. That means not putting them through the same rigors that you did when your metabolism was still at its all-time high.
7. Time will move entirely too fast.
Just when you’re getting used to the idea that your 10-year high school reunion is right up around the corner, you’ll be shocked to find that it’s now your 14-year, and that 10-year anniversary is actually the one for your college graduation. It moves much faster than you think.
8. Your education should never be over.
The greatest myth in American education is that you can master a subject area. You can NEVER master anything of significance. There is always more to learn, and if you want to reach your full income potential or start your own business or achieve any wide number of life goals, you will commit to becoming a lifelong learner.
9. At a certain point, your dreams will change.
It may be depressing to find out that you’ll never be a star NFL football player or bestselling author, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your passions. At some point, the dreams that you have will align with the reality that you face. Happy people embrace that realization while unhappy people keep pining for what isn’t to be.
10. Figuring out who you truly are is essential to everything else.
Don’t wait until you have your first child to realize who you are and what you truly believe. You want to know these things ahead of time, so you can help lay a secure foundation for their upbringing. That doesn’t mean you should refuse to be open to change, but it does mean you should know what your strongest convictions are, as well as the justification for why you feel that way.
The world will be a much different place 10 years from now than the one you are likely envisioning today. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure if things don’t turn out the way you had planned; it means you’re normal. Being prepared ahead of time will help you make your life the best it can possibly be.
What are some things that scare you about college graduation? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Truth in Media]