What You Need To Remember As A Recent Graduate

Photo: micki spollen
What You Need To Remember About Life After Graduation

By Laura Van De Walle

Four years of university, here and gone before I could even take the time to process or absorb it. I still remember how nervous I was going into the first year. I was afraid of this whole world of unknowns that I was about to enter. I had so many ideas of what it was going to be like, and where I would be at the end of it all.

Now, here I am, in an entirely different place than I ever imagined.

Despite how quickly these last four years went, so much has happened during them. I grew and I changed; I lost and I gained. I hit high points where I felt like I knew where I was going and was happy with where I was. However, I also hit many low points, where I felt lost and confused, unsure of who I was.

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They tell you that these are the years you have to figure yourself out; to determine who you are, where you want to be, and what you want to do. What happens if you get to the end of these years and you don’t have all the answers that you expected to have?

The reality of being just weeks from graduation is that, even though this stage of your life is over, you didn’t miraculously find the answer to every question you were supposed to. In fact, you might even have more questions than you did before.

At the end of every milestone, life forces you to stop and think about how far you’ve come and where it is that you’re heading towards. I never imagined that I would be so unsure of my future at this point in my life and frankly, that terrifies me. I just spent thousands of dollars on an education that I value, and worked hard to earn. That doesn’t mean that I have the answer to exactly what I am going to do with this education, though.

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I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have some ideas. Yet, how am I possibly supposed to choose how I want to spend 5 days a week for the next 50 years of my life? How am I supposed to know what I love that much, or how much I can handle of one thing? How do I know if it will provide me with the things I need — financially, emotionally, mentally?

Everywhere I go, people ask me, "what's next?"

I constantly feel disappointed in myself for not having the answers to give them. Society places such strong emphasis on this transition phase, that as the expiry approaches, it inevitably puts pressure on us. The reality of being just weeks from graduation is that not all of us have the answers to these questions.

No matter how certain we are of one path, life may eventually tell us differently. All we can do is make the best decision we can with what we are given and what we have earned so far. We will all find our answers in our own time.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.