The nagging thought in the back of your mind is a thorn in the side of college students everywhere. What happens when the buzzing allure of campus is replaced by the concrete jungle of the “real world?” How are we to survive without the meal plan, the ease of social contact, and the free-flowing wisdom of professors? It’s a truly terrifying thought – the idea of complete independence.
In what will likely be your last summer at home in close proximity to the people that you’ve depended on for years, you might be reminded often that it’s time to “grow up.” What does this mean? You just graduated college (often regarded as some of the most formative years of life) and you’re still in your early 20s. You’re well acquainted with the stress of academics and the ins and outs of socializing. What you’re not quite so familiar with is professional and financial stress. Earning good grades is a start, but it doesn’t effectively emulate the challenge of being responsible for all of one’s own expenditures and making prudent life decisions. Now you sit, head in hands, slightly perplexed – it all came so fast.
Regardless of whether you plan on furthering your education or you instead opt to plunge into the job market, things will no longer be the same. The stigma attached to graduates differs drastically from that associated with the carefree, up-and-coming freshman or even the gradually maturing sophomore. Society’s expectation is nothing short of daunting and the professional world is no more forgiving. In truth, young graduates must emerge from the physical and psychological shelter of the past four(ish) years as soon as possible in order to avoid an incredibly rude awakening. Taking the time to carefully think about the future is an effective way to wriggle free from the past.
It doesn’t have to be a sorrowful transition, but things will change. Things will come with less ease, but will bring greater rewards. Fewer lessons will come in lecture form, but you’ll still be responsible for the material in the long run. The stakes are now greater and it’s important to brace yourself for the uncertainty ahead.