As I’m writing this, it’s the eve of July, which means you’ve probably been out of school for a while. But I know there are some students who aren’t finished until the Summer Semester or Fall Semester.

Hey, it’s college. You can graduate when it’s best for you and your degree.

For me, it’s been a full year since I graduated from college.

And within that year, for me, a lot has happened:

I’ve gained and lost jobs, I started paying back student loans, I got a boyfriend, I moved twice, and I started freelancing and got some good gigs.

But I realized: when you graduate from college, nobody really tells you what your life will be like within the first YEAR outside of school. They just give general, life-long advice, like do what you love, empathize with others, and all that other bull.

Instead of doing that, I want to share with you what I wish someone had told me when I graduated from school last year. I hope that this can help you with the first year after you graduate, because that year is the toughest.

  1. Keep your college friends. With Skype and email, it’s much easier.
  2. Keep calm, but it’s still ok to cry.
  3. Don’t Forget to Be Awesome.
  4. PLEASE don’t forget who you are. It’s really easy to get caught up in petty grievances in the “real world” (like, arguing with someone about your place in the ticket line, or fighting over the last biscuit). Those grievances don’t matter. But don’t forget where you stand on the things that matter to you.
  5. About the subject of work and employment: CALM THE FUCK DOWN RIGHT NOW. You will figure it out as you go in life. Just because your current job sucks or even if your job is the best thing ever, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it for life. You WILL change jobs. And sometimes you will change jobs a lot.
  6. Remember: we’re young. Most of us traditional students are in our twenties by the time we graduate. We have at least another 70 years to do shit. DON’T BE IN SUCH A RUSH.
  7. Ignore the philosophy of YOLO, unless you’re actively avoiding dangerous events. i.e. “I think I won’t go skydiving, because YOLO.”
  8. You’re not a grown-up until you decide it for yourself. Adulthood is not an achievement to unlock in a video game, and it’s not easily broken up into stages. Life has no hard edges. Life often blends in together. But it’s a wonderful, chaotic, beautiful blending.
  9. The sudden realization that you and your parent belong to the same societal ranking of “legal adult” may take some getting used to, by all of you. And that’s ok. Take your time and respect each other’s boundaries.
  10. If you have a problem, SAY SOMETHING.
  11. Welcome the idea of getting lost.
  12. Life is not what happens to you. Life is what you choose to do about it.
  13. Always carry napkins with you.
  14. For god’s sake, learn to cook something that’s NOT mac’n’cheese or Ramen. Your body will thank you.
  15. Eat some goddamn fruits and veggies.
  16. You know how school (both college and pre-college) instilled in us that we should do what we’re told and be good workers and push pencils and we’ll be rewarded for our efforts? That system doesn’t exist (unless you’re in the military). We have to learn an entirely new system of doing things, one that everyone else conveniently didn’t tell us. I think it involves doing things we’re not asked to do and not being dicks to people. But we have each other to help us figure out the rest.
  17. Collaborate.
  18. Communicate.
  19. Read all those books that you said you would read while you were in school.
  20. Do all the things you said you would do in your undergrad years.
  21. If you don’t know how to do something, ask Google. If you don’t know how to do something but don’t want to read words, go to YouTube.
  22. Please keep in touch with your old professors. They’re probably worried about you.
  23. The traditional way of doing things (getting a job, getting a significant other, etc) are no longer relevant. Set your own rules, be a good person, and go into the world. If you need encouragement, I’m here.
You are welcome to print this out if you need reminders. If you have questions or concerns, you’re welcome to ask too, here on the blog or in email (kelcidcrawford at gmail dot com).
Good luck to you!