Life after graduation—blessing or curse? On the up side, recent college grads experience the rush of freedom as they take their first steps in the “real world.” But yes, times can be tough and 20-somethings can struggle as they enter the workforce, arrange living situations and maintain relationships.
Take heart! Life after college isn’t so bad, after all. Though it can be a trying time, it’s also an exciting period in your life when you can spread your wings and fly. That said it’s time to debunk some myths about life after the cap comes off!
You’ll go through a quarterlife crisis. While it’s great that most people recognize that there is, indeed, such a thing, you won’t necessarily have a crisis. It all depends on your attitude and how open you are to embracing change.
You won’t find a job. Recession–schmession. Sure the economy may be in a pinch but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a chance to get a decent entry-level job. Work on your resume and be open to new opportunities. If you think moving is a good idea to secure a gig you love, there’s probably no better time than now to start packing.
You’ll be depressed. While closing a chapter of your life can be sad, there is more out there for you. Maintain your existing relationships and be open to forging some new ones with friends your age who can relate. Having a support system is imperative to ensure your transition into “The After-College,” also known as the period of time after graduation when you shift into adulthood.
You never afford an apartment. While a cute pad may be a little pricey, it’s still possible to live independently. Consider a roommate or look for a solo place outside traditional apartment complexes. Seasonal rentals are a huge plus if you’re in the right locale.
You’ll get a job you hate. Most people think their first job means they have to be miserable—not so! You can find a good-paying first job out of school. Be a little selective and choose a job based on your established skill set and/or career aspirations. It may not be perfect, but finding a good first job can give you a solid basis for career growth. Choose something with transferable skills if you’re not sure what you want to do.
You’ll lose touch with your friends. If there are miles between you and your pals after graduation, it can be hard to stay in touch. But be thankful you’re part of the internet age. Emails, IMs, phones, and social networking sites make it viable to stay in touch.
You won’t use your degree. If you don’t get a job in your degree field, it’s not the end of the world—in fact, it’s great to explore other areas if you’re not sure you want to directly apply your degree. Wind up going into something else? Your degree provides a foundation, not a mandate to enter the field stated on your diploma!
You’ll have to move home. While there are more “boomerangers” than ever out there, living at home isn’t so bad. Some grads prefer it to be close to their families and save money. It is possible to live on your own, you just have to be smart about getting the right job and sorting your finances out. If you do have to shack up with mom or dad right after college, that’s okay—it’s only temporary.
You won’t be able to pay off your loans. Great news—most loans offer a six-month period immediately after you graduate where you can defer payment without penalties. Before graduation day, talk to your lender about a repayment plan that works for you. Many 20-somethings choose graduated plans that require a payment each month but start at a lower amount to accommodate starting out in the workforce.
You’ll be eating ramen noodles. While you may have to be a little restrictive when it comes to money, there are ways to still enjoy yourself and eat well. And if all else fails, sit down to a meal of noodles with artificial flavors in your favorite piece of college Tupperware—life could be a lot worse!