Real Life is Scary, But it Doesn't Have to Be

Get ready for some cat poster wisdom. It’s more than “hang in there, baby,” so bear with me.


Your cap and gown have been purchased (as if you didn’t spend enough on tuition), your family is prepping a celebration, you plan who to sit with at your graduation, but deep down you’re already starting to feel the anxiety of “real life” ahead.


As you walk across the stage you are presented with a tightly rolled piece of paper, which you will later find out is blank, you'll shake hands with the college president, and immediately get thrown into adulthood where sleeping until noon isn’t quite acceptable. And that isn’t the worst of it.


Lots of you have internships, grad school or jobs that will start immediately after graduation. But there are still a few of you who have no idea what your next steps are and I am here to tell you: “it’s OK.” Just breathe.


I was right there with you. When I started college, I thought I had it all figured out and everything would just fall into place as it did in my head. When it didn’t and I got a heavy reality check I may have had a meltdown (or two).


The fact of the matter is, nothing will work out the way you imagined (and if it does, well you’re lucky). Life is about rolling with the punches. The best advice I’ve ever gotten was from an event management professor, who said “always plan for the worst, but expect the best.” Although he said this in reference to the first events we were planning, it has remained true in all aspects of my life.


Never set your expectations for the worst. Consider the possibility that it won’t work out and plan for it. If there is a plan for the worst possible situation you will be more prepared if it happens. That’s not to say it won’t suck, but it’s not going to be the end of the world.


If you still don’t have a clue what you want to do, there is plenty time to figure it out. Many new grads are continuing their education with grad school, taking time off to travel or do volunteer work, and some will find a summer gig to buy some time.


After graduation is the time to try everything you want, or think you might want to do. Try jobs in fields that you haven't thought of before. You are completely allowed to tune out your mom’s book club friends when they ask about your future plans. Figure out what you are passionate about - your career will take up the majority of your life and time, you might as well enjoy it!


Whether you have it all planned out with a job lined up, or just plan to wing it, your 20’s are for learning. If you don't make any mistakes you’ll never know what you really want. The next few months or even year are going to be a roller-coaster, so try not to sweat the small stuff and remember that most of what happens in the time after graduation won’t matter down the road.


Don’t feel pressured to make a decision just to make one and remember to be proud of yourself for the accomplishments you’ve made so far. Even if you feel behind, you’re just getting started.


If you are ready to look for your next career or gig, check out some of your options on Jobs2Careers.

Last Updated: April 5, 2016
About the author

Cally Martin

Callan is a social media loving, blog writing, event planning freelancer who believes in the power of the oxford comma. Originally from America’s high-five (Michigan), she’s been in Austin since 2015 and doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. When not attached to WiFi, she can be found running around the lake or drinking mimosas at brunch.