So, this post has sort of become a tradition for me. After graduating from UNC in 2005, I was unable to attend the 2006 UNC Graduation, so I wrote an entry on what I wish I’d known when I’d graduated from college. Last year, because of my own graduation from UGA, I was unable to attend the 2007 UNC Graduation…and so I wrote another entry on what I’d wish I’d known when I’d graduated from college. I decided that I’d share these with my friends who were venturing out in the world, with hopes that it would be a bit of encouragement as they would face a world that is not always kind.
So, as graduation season is among us again- it’s time for Part 3 of What I Wish I’d Known When I Graduated from College
1. Work Experience is equally, if not more valuable, than Graduate School
As I write, I’m completing my first year at my first real job. And while Graduate School was helpful in the process of gaining knowledge towards what I will eventually be doing, I’m almost certain that having prior job experience would have assisted me greatly on this job. Don’t get me wrong- I’m a HUGE proponent of education and advanced degrees- especially in this economy and in these times. However, the skills that are gained from the first job are so valuable. Don’t rush graduate school- it’ll be there. Go find that first job that you feel overqualified for so that you can be humbled.
2. You’re figuring it out- just like everyone else
The adjustments from school to the real world are challenging. Being an adult with real responsibilities can put you in shock. Trust me. It all happens so fast. I’ve spent a lot of time talking with and observing some adults that I admire, and what I value the most is that like me, they’re still trying to figure it all out. No one has all the answers; we all just have our experiences. At best, we’re taking it one day at a time, learning from past situations, and hoping not to make the same mistakes twice. Don’t be afraid to not know, and enjoy the process of figuring it out.
3. Gasp! You might be like your parents!
For most of my entire life, I’ve heard how much I look like my mom- and I’ve never seen it until last week. I realized that all of the people who had told me that over the course of the last 24 years were somewhat correct. However, what I really mean is that you will find yourself doing things that your parents have done- and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Honestly, learning from their mistakes and their good decisions is very wise- and can serve you well. Besides, your parents did provide YOU. And that’s a good thing.
4. You might not be who you think you are
I think I’ve said before how college really elevates your sense of self-esteem, and how it really makes you feel like you are somebody (and you are!). While college can show you what you’re made of, it’s not until you go out in the world that you really figure out who you are- and you might not be the person that you thought you were. Your friends might not be the people that you thought they were, either. As we go out of our collegiate bubble, life happens- and we grow, change, and adapt to it. As that happens, we realize who we are- and that who we were in college is only a hint of who we will become.
So that’s all! Congratulations Class of 2008! Best wishes for your future!
Links to previous “What I Wish I’d Known Entries”: