It’s so exciting to wear that gown, your best suit or dress, haircut or hairdo, and just look your best, to finally walk across that stage, get the handshake, your diploma and have people cheering for you. You may also have family and friends in the crowd beaming with pride. It’s an euphoric moment. I have experienced two graduations and I know the pride and excitement that comes with that milestone. It’s an experience everyone should have at least once. But, just like every celebration, there is life after. Graduations are beautiful and almost tend to suggest life after that is “happily ever after”. Well, the reality is that life after graduation is imperfect. I have no intention to scare or discourage you. Contrarily, I want you to learn the truth and be better prepared to deal with life after graduation. So, here are five REAL truths about life after graduation.
1. Things Don’t Go As Planned
This is the biggest lesson I learned in my journey. We all have scripts written in our head about how life should go or things will play out. It’s normal to have those dreams and plans. However, be prepared for plot twists that you do not see coming. You may not get a job immediately or get the job you hoped and prayed for. You may have to move to a place you never imagined. You may realize there are not many job opportunities in the course you studied. Every or anything you hoped and banked on may fail. I could go on and on; you get the gist. To tackle this, be flexible with your plans, have backups when and where you can even, more importantly, learn how to go with the flow of life.
2. Finances Get Tighter
This may or may not come as a shock to you, but universities shield you from a lot of bills. This experience also depends on your location, but overall, universities tend to have lower cost or could provide cushioning for you. After graduation, you become independent to a great extent. You may have to pay more for cost of living expenses than you had to before. You may stop receiving pocket money or free money like you used to as a student. In summary, you will end up with more bills and you will be expected to be responsible for most of it. Some ways to deal with this are: start a savings account as soon as possible and save more as your graduation draws closer. If you start working immediately and you don’t have to dig into your savings, that would still be wonderful. However, if there are glitches anywhere, you will have something small to manage emergencies.
3. The World May Not Be Kind.
Once you come out of that university bubble, there is a real vicious world waiting for you. A world where you have to constantly prove your worth. A world where you either work hard or get left behind. A world where you have to plan and be on top of things or get swallowed up by the system. There is no routine or schedule like you had in school to help you stay organized. You have to be disciplined. You have to create your own routines. You have to ensure you’re productive. You have to fight for yourself a lot. You have to constantly navigate and leverage relationships and people. If you thought you were busy in school or your life was complicated, life after graduation will so blow those thoughts right out of the park. There’s honestly no one way to prepare for this hard truth. The best suggestion is to keep this at the back of your mind and set minimal expectations if at all for people to minimize disappointments. Most of the lessons you will learn will come from real life experiences. All I can say is, brace up for the wild ride.
4. Your degree is not enough
Are you shocked? You thought all you needed was that piece of paper? I’m sorry to disappoint you. Think about life as a workshop where you need a toolbox. Your degree is just one of the tools. If you come out thinking your degree will spread red carpets and open all the doors you will ever need, you’re in for a rude shock. You need skills that you may not have necessarily learned in school. You need to be life-smart, just as much or even more than you’re book smart. You need to know how to work with and for people. You need to work on being rounded as a person in character in addition to what you learned in school.
5. You will fail so many times.
I can’t tell you where or how many times you will fail. I can’t tell you if you will have a soft landing or if you will crash land. For me, I’ve dealt with failure in my relationships, my career, spirituality, etc. For example, this is my third or fourth attempt at Winie’s Student World. I have started and quit and started and quit and as I’m typing this article, I’m going at it again. If I can suggest one thing to you, it would be to get comfortable with failing, it’s quitting that is unacceptable. Failure hurts, but embrace it as part of life. Do not let it keep you from trying again, or opening up your heart for more.
These are five of the truths I experienced. I’m sure there are many others. Please share with us in the comment section.
Until We Chat,
Let’s Make It a Winning-Day.