How to Survive Your First Year out of College

Graduating university is such a momentous occasion and should be celebrated accordingly. All your hard work and dedication paid off in a big way, and after several long longs you have something to show for it. But with one chapter of your life ending, another is just beginning.

Now you are about to enter the real world. You’ll be trading in classrooms for offices and dorms for apartments. Even though you have been dreaming about this time in your life for years, it’s not as easy as it looks. You may be sick of homework and midterms and professors now, but eventually the challenges of the real world may leave you ready to run back to your dorm room.

Everybody’s path is different. It’s damn near impossible to present an instruction manual about surviving after-college life and it help everyone. Some people will choose to continue their studies. Some people will choose to move back home. Some people will decide to take some time to travel. Some people will choose to get married and start a family. So, a play-by-play would not be of use to many. But, there are some tips everyone can use to achieve the right mindset that it takes to survive your first year out of college.

First of all, realize that you do eventually have to get a job. You can’t continue to rely on loans, grants and your parents to support you. You will have your own home, your own car, and so on. Trust me, when your bills start coming in (especially your student loan bills) you will definitely want to start job searching.

College may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can stay in bed all day and go out all night. Sure, celebrate graduation and maybe even take a vacation to reward yourself and refresh, but you don’t want to make a habit out of it. Not only is the act of actively looking for a job just as time consuming as an actual job, it also take a lot of effort. You can’t just stroll into an interview after a walk of shame in last night’s dress and a hangover. So, even though you don’t have morning classes anymore, still make an effort to wake up early, go to bed at a decent time, and keep bar-hopping to a minimum.

Network, network, network! No matter what career path you decide to take, networking will always be to your advantage. Go to industry events and parties hosted by companies you admire, and chat with people in your desired field. Share your ideas and what you’ve learned in college and grab some of their advice. You will learn a lot, and may even get a new contact for a potential interview.

One of the most important tips to surviving the first out of college, is managing your own expectations. You may have dreamed of graduating college, and then landing the perfect job, moving into a mansion, and having tons of freedom. However, the real world doesn’t work that way. Your first year out of college will not be easy, and mentally preparing for that will make all the difference. You will most likely be living with roommates in an apartment, not owning a mansion. You will be working your way up the corporate ladder; so don’t expect a job that pays millions right out of college. You will have to start from the bottom and work your way up. Knowing that and preparing for it will give you a peace of mind that many people don’t have out of college.

Don’t get me wrong, the responsibilities that fall into your lap after you walk across that stage may be demanding, but being an adult doesn’t have to be. Have fun. Meet new people. Explore new activities. Never stop learning. During your first year out of college, meditate and reflect often. Look back at how far you’ve come and all your achievements. Take time to be proud of yourself. It will rejuvenate your passion and strength. That way you can be ready to work your hardest and finally get that mansion you’ve always dreamed of.