10 Things I’ve Learned During My First Year As a College Graduate

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you’ve had a great week. If I’m being honest, I’ve been feeling a little down this week. Let me try to explain. It’s that time of year again- graduation. My social media platforms have been flooded with pictures of graduates dressed in their caps and gowns and holding those empty diploma tubes proudly (don’t worry your diplomas will be ready to pick up in like a month or so). Even though I am so proud of these people for graduating, I couldn’t help feeling like I’m not where I thought I’d be a year after graduation. As these thoughts of where I “should” be began creeping in, I thought it might be helpful to sit down and reflect on some of the things I’ve learned this year. So, whether you graduated this weekend, a year ago, or ten years ago, I hope these things help you realize that you are exactly where God wants you to be.

10. It’s important to recognize your accomplishment. Graduating college is no easy task. In fact, I’m sure there were a few times you wanted to give up. I know I did. Before you begin trying to plan out your next step, take the time to be proud! Sometimes, I forget that it’s ok to be proud of myself. But the fact of the matter is, I worked really hard to be able to walk across that stage. So as I sit here a year later feeling like I haven’t accomplished much, I have to remind myself that these thoughts are not true.

9. It’s ok to be scared. I remember sitting back in my seat after walking across the stage and being terrified. I had no idea what was next for me. I didn’t have a job lined up….I didn’t even know what I wanted to do as far as careers go. I just felt uneasy. The girl that always had a plan, didn’t have a plan. I truly believe that God used this time in my life to remind me that I need Him. We can’t do it alone. As much as I try to be in control and figure out the best course of action, God is the one that ultimately has control. I think for a long time God was asking me to hand him the reigns and I kept saying, “Not yet, God. Hold on just a sec. Let me fix this. I can do it.” The scariest thing for a control freak is to give up control…but there is a certain peace in knowing the one person that makes no mistakes is in the driver’s seat. So, if you’re feeling scared or uncertain, give God the control and trust in His plan.

8. There’s nothing wrong with moving back home. I always had this idea that after graduating college, I would have this cute little apartment, fully furnished with a little patch of grass for Paisley to play…you get the picture. LOL what was I thinking? After living away from home for 4 years you get used to being on your own schedule and doing what you want when you want. So naturally moving back home with your parents isn’t something you dream about. Now don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love my parents. They have always been there for me and I appreciate them more than they’ll ever know. But I’d be lying if I said moving back home wasn’t a bit of an adjustment. For me, I think moving back home has made me feel like I can’t support myself. But ya know what? I can’t right now…and that’s ok. I am so lucky to have parents that will let me stay in their home rent free as I take time to figure out my next step. So, thanks Mom and Dad!

7. Be patient. This has been a really hard one for me to learn. I just want to have control over every aspect of my life, and it’s been difficult for me to step back and wait for God’s timing to happen. We live in such a fast paced society, so it’s frustrating to feel like you have to wait. I’ve found over the past year the longer I’ve waited for things, the more I appreciated them.

6. You may not see your friends as much anymore, but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about you and vise versa. In college, keeping up with your friends was easy. I think I took it for granted honestly. Everyone lived in fairly close proximity to each other, and there was always something to do. After graduation everyone goes their separate ways, and people get busy. I’ve found that no matter the distance, your true friends will always be there for you. You may find that you don’t have as many friends as you thought, but you’ll definitely appreciate the ones you do have.

5. The mistakes you made in college do not define you. I really struggled with some of the mistakes I made in college. Over the past year I have focused on learning to forgive myself and love myself for who I am…flaws and all. This is one thing that I actively work on each day. Who you were in college does not have to be who you are. The way you choose to grow and learn from your mistakes will define the kind of person you are…not the mistakes themselves.

4. Your job doesn’t define you either. In the past, I’ve had a tendency to search for my identity in the wrong places. For years, I allowed my dream of becoming a vet define me. I think that’s why I’ve struggled with letting go of that dream for so long. Who am I if I’m not a vet like I’ve always imagined? This past year has been really hard for me. I have applied to more jobs than I can even count, and I’ve received more rejection emails than I’d like to admit. A few months ago I wrote a post about hustling for your worthiness (you can find it here), and my job was a huge way in which I was searching for worthiness.

3. You may not start your dream career the moment you step off that stage, and that’s ok. Speaking of jobs, it is very likely that you won’t start your dream career immediately. In fact, you may not even know what your dream career is. It’s ok. Let me say that again. IT IS OK! Now is the time to explore your interests and really figure out what you’re passionate about. Even if you think you know exactly what you want to do, you may start and find out it isn’t anything like you thought it would be. You may hate it. I’ve come to realize that your first post-grad job will most likely not be your last. Either way it’s like the quote says, “If you’re doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

2. There is no set timeline your life is supposed to follow after college. Everyone is different. There is no cookie cutter timeline that everyone should follow. I had this idea that I needed to start a successful career, start thinking about marriage, have kids no later than 27, the list goes on. It wasn’t until I was able to take a step back that I realized how silly this was. Yes, after graduation engagement and pregnancy announcements start popping up everywhere. But everything will happen in due time. I’ve learned that a lot of the pressure I feel to make my life fit a certain timeline comes from myself. I’m learning to appreciate the stage of life that I find myself in and to stop trying to plan three steps ahead. I’m trying to start living in the moment and enjoy the here and now!

1. A year later you still may not be where you think you’re supposed to be. A year ago yesterday, friends and family celebrated with me as I walked across the stage (and thanked the Lord I didn’t trip). Yes, I’ve been a little sad this week, because this isn’t where I imagined I’d be a year later. But, as I sat here and reflected on this past year, I couldn’t help but realize how much I’ve learned and grown. God has me right where He wants me, and I promise He has you right where he wants you as well. I am absolutely where I am supposed to be and so are you.


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