As any recent college grad knows, reality can hit you hard: post-grad life is scary. When I graduated, I felt like I was supposed to know exactly what I was doing, but I really had no idea — and I was terrified of what was to come. I thought everyone had it all figured out except me. Now, I’ve learned how untrue that is. Here are nine lessons I’ve learned since walking across that graduation stage nearly two years ago.
You Work As Hard As You Can, and Then Work Harder
Being an adult is hard work — constant hard work. The majority of post-grads have to work 10 times harder than they ever thought possible to get the entry-level job they deserve. And once you start progressing, you work even harder to keep your job and move up in your career.
Nothing Will Be Handed To You
At a job interview, you may be equally qualified as the candidate next to you, if not more, but they could still get the job. Maybe they know the interviewer, they have the same alma mater, or they have an inside connection in the company. Instead of taking it personally, shake it off and keep trying. Nobody said it was fair, but if you persist, you will eventually earn the opportunities you deserve.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
So you bombed a work presentation or called someone by the wrong name in an interview. It’s not the end of the world! Every successful person has made more mistakes than they can count throughout their career. Always try your best, but don’t fret over one mistake. Instead, pick yourself up and move forward.
Work/Life Balance Is Hard
You only have 24 hours in a day — how do you work hard at your full-time job, take care of basic responsibilities, get enough sleep, and still have time to enjoy life? Work/life balance is a challenge and a constant game of give and take. Your social life won’t be the same as it was in college, and that’s okay. All you can do is figure out what works best for you, and try to spend wisely the free time you do have.
If You Don’t Know, Ask
Whether it’s at work, your doctor’s office, your bank, or anywhere else, if you want to know something, speak up! It’s the only way you can learn, and no one will judge you for trying to understand to the best of your ability.
Fake It ’Til You Make It
You may feel like you’re the only one who has trouble waking up on time, understanding how to execute all your job duties perfectly, or managing your money. But the truth is, no one has it all figured out, no matter their age. Everyone is just trying their best and learning along the way.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
A younger candidate in your field already has the dream job you’ve been eyeing, whereas you’re stuck in an entry-level position you hate. You only know what that person chooses to share, so there is no use worrying about whose life is “better.” Everyone’s journey is different, and comparing yourself will only leave you feeling discouraged and unmotivated. The only person you should compete against is you.
You’re More Capable than You Think
If you bypass doubt, you’ll learn that you’re able to take on more than you give yourself credit for. Whether that’s tackling a new position with longer hours, finally starting that after-work hobby you’ve always wanted to do, vowing to expand your social life or start a new exercise regimen, having confidence in yourself and your ability to set and reach goals is key.
Be Kind To Yourself
The most important thing I’ve learned in post-grad life is to be your own biggest supporter. Leaving the comfort of college and taking on the word is a huge whirlwind of change, and it’s vital to take care of your mental, physical and emotional health in order to be the best possible version of yourself.