10 Things No One Tells You About When You Graduate
Last year, I had the absolute pleasure of graduating from my Bachelors of Science in Nursing Program. Something I was so proud of, had worked so hard for, and couldn’t wait to get to the end was suddenly here! There was celebration after celebration, getting pinned into the nursing profession (a tradition similar to receiving an engineering ring!) and the sheer freedom of not having to get up and go to school (that summer, or for the rest of my life!) I’m sure you’re all feeling the excitement of graduating, or maybe you’ve felt kind of weird about graduating in the last year. In this post I’m going to talk about 10 things no one tells you when you graduate (because we’ve all been there, or may be shortly!).
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10 Things No One Tells You About When You Graduate
You know, because you’re so excited you probably won’t believe them, nor does anyone really quite know how to describe this mixed bag of emotions. I’m here to tell you whatever you’re may be feeling is totally and completely normal, and all of that is OK!
1. It’s Actually Exciting as All Heck
Like pee in your pants exciting. Like so exciting you want to cartwheel across that stage and dismount right off the front so exciting. You want to burn your books and shoot fireworks off and drop kick your alarm clock into a pit of hungry wolves. You are a free bird my friend, the world is truly your oyster!
2. It’s Also All Kinds of Nerve-Wracking
Adulthood just called, and you’re up to the plate. Now you don’t have the safety blanket of being a student. Gone are the days of people cutting you some slack because you’re just trying to get through school. The waves of pity and sympathy essentially dry up the moment you graduate. Gone are the student discounts, familiarity of being a big fish in a small pond and all sense of direction. As exciting as it may seem, you’re also equally terrified (and thats okay!)
3. Securing a Job Can Look Like A Lot of Different Things
You may have a job coming out of school! You also may not, nor do you have the slightest prospect. Friends will be hired or not hired around you, people you went to school with are going to do things you never even imagined or thought of. You’re no longer in the small pond where everything’s calm and familiar. You’re adjusting to a new kind of chaos as you scramble to get your resume somewhat prepared, or get all the forms filled out at your new job (and let me tell you, there are FORMS). Whether you have a job, don’t have a clue, or don’t even know if this field is for you, I promise you that’s all okay. Which brings me to my next point.
4. You Won’t Necessarily Be Handed Your Dream Job The Second You Graduate
You might have (and thats freaking amazing if you have!), or you may not have. Or you cold spend all summer worrying about how you’re going to get a job, cry about it A LOT, go work at a summer camp as your first nursing experience and THEN get hired on the floor of your dreams at the hospital of your dreams (not that I’m speaking from experience here…)
What I’m trying to say is you may not end up at your dream job for a while, and that’s okay. You may have gotten your foot in the door somewhere, and that means someone knows you’re alive and capable of doing said skill set. This also means that you’re actively adding to your work experience as we speak (and you’re most likely getting paid as well!) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Your first job doesn’t always look perfect, but it’s a start.
5. Everyone Around You May Seem Like They Have it Together
Like dropping a pebble into a lake and watching thousands of fish absolutely SCATTER, that’s essentially the feeling of moving on after graduation. People you went to school with will be starting their own businesses, getting jobs, getting married, etc. etc. There will be so many different directions that people take, you may feel like you’re not doing enough. If this is the case, sit down and write yourself out a detailed 5 year plan and try and put a set of blinders on (think horse blinders).
Comparison is the thief of joy. Define your own success and happiness by creating a vision of what you want your life to be like (and I promise it doesn’t have to look like Sally’s over there). It’s tempting to want to compare yourself to everyone else, but trust that you’re putting yourself in the right direction (and if not, change it!)
6. You’re Going to Find Out A Lot About Yourself
It might be shocking to find out that you have a lot more time and freedom (considering that ball and chain attached to a 200 lb textbook isn’t slowing you down). You may in fact have a whopping amount of time on your hands, which can do a few things to a person. You could start to feel squirrelly and anxious (because you’re not doing enough), you also might adjust your life to become more productive (ie. me starting this blog), or you may have more time to spend on wants and friends, and even develop a hobby! The point is, you’re going to find out more about what you want to be doing with your time when you’re not working, which will in turn shape how you live your life!
7. You Don’t Have To Have Your Whole Life figured Out Right Now
Unfortunately, this is a very real feeling come graduation. The soul crushing feeling of wanting to have every last millisecond of your life planned to a T. While that would be convenient, it’s not quite how life works. Chances are, you don’t know how the next month is going to pan out, let alone the next year. Start by taking it each day at a time and adjust to your new surroundings. Remember you’re going through a HUGE life change, and you’re going to be experimenting with a whole new sense of freedom! Take it one day at a time and stay optimistic it will all work out.
8. You’re Going to Feel Scared Sometimes
You just went from being a student, mini-adult with a student centred job to possibly thrown into a real, adult, scary work force that you have no idea about. Or you’re getting your first car, house or apartment and making big financial leaps that have you waking up in night sweats. It’s okay to feel scared. Stepping out of our comfort zones makes us scared sometimes. Without fear, the change will not occur. It’s okay to feel this way, just remember it isn’t permanent.
9. Your Friend Circle May Change
Like everyone else scattering, your friend circle may change. Your friends could be up and moving back home, to new cities, or traveling for months on end. They’ll enter relationships and leave old ones. They’ll start jobs and businesses and just like you, find out more about themselves. This doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Friends that are meant to be change and grow together, and even spend some time apart. You also will make new friends and change as your social circles change. Embrace the change, grow together and seek new faces.
10. Chaos May Surround You, But You’re in Control
For the first time in your life, you aren’t defined by a set of rules or someone else’s idea of what you should be doing. You’re likely going to be moving away from your parents, making your own decisions, and choosing a job that works for you. You’re going to get out and try new things, make a whole whack of mistakes, and open the door to an endless world of opportunities.
While it can be overwhelming and scary, you ultimately get to choose the path you want to take! You hold all of the power to create a destiny for yourself that involves whatever you want it to be! Remember you’re the captain, you can adjust the sails and you can set the tone!
One Last Thing
My time in school was an endless learning journey. From anatomy to basic patient care, we covered what I thought was almost everything I would need to know about nursing. Little did I know I would spend the rest of my life learning something new each day. Learning doesn’t start and end with school. Learning moments can be found every day, and in all things. Never stop pursuing the life you want, never stop chasing your dreams, and always take the time to learn more about yourself. The world really is your oyster!
I can really relate to what you’re saying in this post. I’m in my first job out of college that’s related to what I went to school for (Communication Studies and a minor in Psychology). I tend to beat myself up a lot for not being more successful at this age. I just have always been hard on myself. Thanks for reminding me to be easier on myself – so many people need to be told that.
I felt the exact same way when I graduated! It’s completely normal to feel that way! You’re going to figure it out as you go! You’re doing an awesome job and can’t wait to see where you end up!
I really relate to this! I graduated a few years ago and only now have somewhat of an idea about what I want to do, and am trying to get jobs that are related to that. I definitely feel like everyone around me has their lives together!!
Yes, it’s absolutely okay not to have your shit figured out. One of the most successful women I’ve ever met, who is in her 50s, said she still doesn’t know what she wants to do. I think the main thing is that you’re happy on your own terms and by your own standards. The part in this post where you said about not comparing your success to other people’s should be gospel. I couldn’t agree more and wish that people could see that for themselves because comparison can be so destructive. Also, this part – “drop kick your alarm clock… Read more »
I’m glad you found this helpful!! Your comment & feedback truly has me smiling! There are so many things we only find out by going through it and this is definitely one of them! I’m glad I was able to make you laugh, thanks for your ongoing support 💛
I’m graduating in May and Im already starting to feel some of these things that you mentioned. Im honestly terrified because I don’t know what to do next. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who feels like this.
You absolutely aren’t! Graduating is both scary and exciting, enjoy this time!