No matter how ready you think you are, graduating from college and firmly entering the adult world can be jarring. You might be heading off to grad school, but even then, you’ll eventually be done with school and no longer in such a structured environment. While being a full-fledged adult is exciting, there are also a lot more responsibilities you’ll realize and you’ll have to take complete control over planning your own future, since you no longer have a clear goal like graduation to work toward and set steps on how to get there.
Accept the changes
The first step to adjusting to life after college is accepting that it’s happening. You’ve been spending most of your life working toward graduation and everything else likely seemed fairly distant. Now, you need to seriously think about a job, your career, professional opportunities, what you want to do in the near and far future, and how to achieve those goals. You’re soon going to be financially responsible for yourself (if you aren’t already) and you may be getting married and starting a family sooner than you think. Acknowledge these changes are all possible and begin planning.
Find a routine
Something that’ll keep you sane now that you’re out of college is creating a solid routine. Try to go to bed and get up around the same time, make consistent plans with friends, and consider regular workout times or something else. As long as you have a routine, you’ll have something to rely on and keep you focused.
Make a plan
After you’ve gotten used to no longer being in college, it’s time to make a plan about what you want your next steps to be. What kind of career do you want in the long run? Where do you want to live? Do you want to buy a car or a house? Begin crafting one, five, or ten years plans and you’ll feel a bit more in control of your future.
While in college, it’s completely normal to frequently multitask and juggle various responsibilities like class, work, socializing, video games, and clubs, but once you’re out of college, it’s harder to do so many things. One big reason is you are now spending a significant amount of time each day at a job (hopefully), so you don’t have the short breaks you used to enjoy between classes. Realize this reality and instead prioritize what you want to do outside of work. Do you want to go to the gym or go home and watch television? Do you want to get dinner with your friends or run some errands? These decisions are very real out of college.
Create a support system
You might no longer live next door to your best friends and you might work somewhere far away from your family. However, it’s important to create a strong support system. Make new connections with coworkers or other people where you live or reconnect with people in the area if you moved back home. Regularly talk to your friends from college and your family, even if you can’t see them often.
Take care of yourself
Finally, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. You’ll have to adjust to a new schedule and phase of your life and it’s going to be stressful. Give yourself time to sleep each night, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and get regular exercise. Avoid becoming burned out or too stressed at your job and take some time to do something you enjoy each day.