Life After College: What I Wish I Knew Before

“Omg I can’t wait until I have a real job and settle into an easy 9-5” I groaned after pulling my 4th double in a row that week. “I just want weekends and holidays off and not have to waitress 50 hours a week with a comfy salary. Is that too much to ask!”.

Isn’t that the dream for all college students? To begin their career, work their way up the latter, become mildly successful, save up for a house and pay off their student loans. That was certainly my dream.


Even in college I never knew how to really answer the question, “So what do you want to do with your degree when you graduate?” Ugh not wait tables anymore Aunt Liz okay?? I dreaded the question, I never knew what to say. 

Okay, I never really knew what I wanted to do. I never really put that much thought into it. I guess I figured, maybe I’ll be a makeup artist or a cool magazine columnist. I went to school for communication because I wanted to write for Cosmo, but I never did anything to work towards that dream. The only thing I was certain about was that I wanted a normal 9-5 job right after I graduated.


When all was said and done and I graduated college with my shiny new bachelor’s degree in communications I was ready to get out there and begin my career. I started my search, 6 months later I secured a job and began my trek into adulthood. 


Most of us dream of graduating college and landing our first job. Maybe we are jumping to this conclusion a little too fast and need to take a second to really figure out what we want. 


4 things I wish I did before starting my first job

Life after college, Advice for college students, what to do when you graduate, College grads,

Explored what I really enjoy

While I was in school I did 3 things; work, school work, and hang out with my boyfriend. Those were my priorities. My schedule didn’t allow me much time to explore the things that potentially would interest me. It wasn’t until after college that I decided to try my hand at new things. I started my blog, I signed up for some fun classes, I got back into reading for fun, and I began doing things just for the sake of doing them. I found that my love for reading and writing was stronger than ever and that I grew out of things that I used to really love. Being a freelance makeup artist in my spare time seemed less interesting than blogging. If I realized that sooner I might have looked for more jobs in marketing or content creation. 


Moved back home

When I went away to college I moved out of my mom’s house and into an apartment. I loved the freedom, I relished the responsibility, and I could have my boyfriend over whenever I wanted. Apartment life was the best and I vowed to never go back home. After college, I worked more but somehow seemed to have less money. The freedom and joy I felt initially, turned into stress about paying my bills. I got a job because I had to, waitressing wasn’t paying the bills anymore. I think if I lived at home I would have weighed out my options more carefully and not pounced on my first opportunity for employment. Negotiating would have been easier too “Oh you can’t give me 45K fine! I live at home anyway! My mom will pay my cell phone bill”

Thought about my goals

The farthest ahead I thought about any goal was finishing a class. In college, 5-year plans were like “whoa that is so far away. How would I ever know what I’m going to do after college 5 years from now?” Then 5 years shows up on your doorstep like an old homeless dog and you’re like “Okay, I didn’t think this one through” We tend to have more ideas rather than actual goals. The trouble is, ideas are based on how you feel at the moment. One day you want to work a 9-5 job because you think, having weekends and holidays off beats waitressing by a long shot. Having motivating goals help you to push past your feelings and focus on the bigger picture.


Took risks

Sometimes I think, “if I had moved home sooner and held off on finding a job then I could have hopped in my Jeep with my dog and drove across the country living out my fantasy of traveling and living like a gypsy”. Then I remember that I am such a chicken shit and nothing terrifies me more than being alone, especially at night, and I also am terrible at driving in the dark. That doesn’t mean that I don’t wish I put more thought into the different, crazy, but potentially life-changing options that I might have missed. Maybe I wouldn’t have driven across the country in my Jeep Wrangler with the wind in my hair but I know I would have done something awesome. 


Now you


What stage of your life our you in?

Are there things you wish you did before jumping into the workforce?

Do you wish you chased a passion or a dream?


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1 thought on “Life After College: What I Wish I Knew Before”

  1. completed college last year, and i teach at a jonior high school at the moment .wish i was more organised and goal oriented when i was in college. i love what i do currently but wish i had more plans

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