When I was a bit younger, I had a lot of preconceived ideas about what life would be like once I graduated college. Some of them came out to be true, but most of them didn’t. Below is a list of the top ten questions I get about post-college life. Feel free to ask me more questions in the comment section below!
- Are you finally free to do whatever you want to do?
In theory, yes. In reality, not so much. I’m an adult now, and as far as my personal life goes, I don’t really have a specific person that I have to answer to. However, if you want to make money and live a decent life, you’ll never really escape rules and regulations. That’s just the way life is.
- Did your college degree help you get a job?
Yes and no. I think my degree helped me get noticed, but I wouldn’t say it was solely what helped me get my first real job after college. The work experience that I built for myself is ultimately what helped me get my job.
- Do you have more money to buy the things you want?
Yes, I have more money. And as long as I remain responsible and plan ahead, I can properly budget and spend more money on the things that I like.
- What’s it like to move back in with your parents after graduation?
I won’t lie, it’s difficult. You’re officially an adult with your own opinions and your own ideas, but your parents won’t necessarily treat you as such. It’s a hard transition for everyone involved, but it’s nothing that good talks and compromise can’t handle.
- Is the professional world really as hard as they say it is?
It can be. When you combine your personal issues with your work life, it can be extremely overwhelming to hold everything together. But honestly, as long as you plan ahead and do what you’re supposed to do, it’s not really that difficult. In fact, planning ahead will help make up for the time when you’re going through a personal struggle.
- Should I continue my higher education (i.e. going to grad school)?
The short answer is: it’s highly recommended. A lot of professionals say that “a bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma”. And to some extent, they’re right. A bachelor’s degree is pretty much expected if you’re looking to work a white-collar job. But a master’s or doctorate degree can easily get you manager/director positions or get you promoted at a faster rate. However, at the end of the day, you do what pleases you and no one else. If you don’t want to go back to school, then don’t. I do suggest that you keep learning in some capacity though. Whether it be through books, webinars or online courses, taking the time to continue your education (in or out of college) is a long-term benefit. Knowledge is power.
- How long will it take me to get my first “real” job after college?
That depends on you. Persistence is key. You can’t just fill out a couple applications per week and think that you’re working hard. Filling out applications should be your full-time job until your real job comes through.
It also depends on your experience. If you haven’t taken the time to acquire any internships or work in your field, now would be the time. The pay may not be the greatest, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
- What’s the hardest thing about life after college?
I would probably say the accountability that comes with being an adult. Now that I’ve graduated and I have bills, there are many more things that are expected of me (along with every other adult). There’s no longer the excuse of “I didn’t know” or “No one told me”. It’s my job to know what’s going on around me…which is another reason why it wouldn’t be so bad to move back in with your parents. During that transition period, your parents can educate you about all the adult-y things you’ll need to know before you decide to leave the nest.
- What’s the best part about life after college?
The freedom, for sure. I don’t care what anyone else says, this is the epitome of happiness for me. If I want to try a new restaurant, I can go and try it. If I want to take a weekend trip to LA, I can save up and fly out the next month. If I want to take up karate lessons, I can do that, too.
- Is college really worth it?
My answer is a definite yes. I’ve always been an advocate for formal education. It’s not even about the work I did in class, but more about the life skills I learned along the way. For example, think back to when you first learned how to drive. For me, I initially was going to go through the self-taught program (being that it was quicker and cheaper). However, at the last minute, my mom decided to put me in a driver’s ed class. And she told me it was because “there are things that a formal course can teach you that I can’t”. Even though my mom has more than 40 years of driving experience, she understood that there are things she might have missed along the way. Any extra tidbits of information that she could add to my driver’s ed course was just a bonus. And I believe college works the same way.
However, I am aware that college is not for everyone. Whether it be because of grades, money or just plain willpower, not everyone is going to pursue a college education. And that’s OK! It’s still very possible to be successful without a degree. Will you have to work harder to reach your goals? More than likely, yes. But that doesn’t mean you won’t make it to the same finish line as your college-bound peers. Whichever path you choose, keep at it. And remember that you can’t control where you came from, but you can always control where you’re headed.
I hope this post gave you some insight on what life after college is really like. As mentioned above, feel free to leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below!