So You're A College Graduate: Now What?

Dreading becoming a real adult? Here are 5 steps to help you through it.

So You're A College Graduate: Now What?

So you graduated college. Now what? I'll tell you what: If you're anything like me, you're feeling lost, uncertain of what to do next, and without direction. You feel this incredible pressure to make it – to accomplish something worthwhile, and even more than that, to start making your own money. And those feelings are okay. I'm also here to tell you you're going to be just fine.

If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives.

–Lemony Snicket

There's no reason your next step (and every step) can't involve focusing on doing what you love. Why should becoming a productive, adult member of society have to be synonymous with boring? Or, for that matter, creatively stifling? Okay, okay, so maybe I'm being a little dramatic here.

Regardless, being a dreamer is not something to be ashamed of, but to be celebrated. And maybe those dreaded words "entry-level job" shouldn't really be dreaded at all. Maybe they should instead be something to get excited about. After all, I'm writing this to you from behind the desk of an entry-level job.

Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now to deliver to you, straight from one screen to the next, 5 important tips to celebrate your accomplishments before you set out for whatever is next on your path. Trust me, it's going to be big!

Celebrate Yourself.

First, give yourself a pat on the back for what you have accomplished so far. Graduating from college is a big step, and it means you're ready for the real world now... right? (Wrong. I still pretend I'm in college most of the time. Especially at parties.) I think you really start realizing that you've "grown up," or are in the process of doing so (ew, awkward) when staying in and drinking wine, with or without your girlfriends, sounds much better than going to said parties in the first place.

Get the Internship.

Next, if you haven't already had the experience in college, get an internship. Bonus points if you majored in the exact field you want to work in, have the internship of your dreams, and are all set to continue down your perfectly pruned path. Fight the good fight, soldier! Now if you're kind of scrambling around for something, that's alright too. In fact, it leads me to my next tip...

Embrace Your Interests Wholeheartedly.

For example, don't feel pressure to continue your education (i.e. applying for grad school) if that's not what you want. Alternately, don't let anyone talk you out of it if that does happen to be what you want for your future. In the meantime, embrace your interests. Write. Sing. Dance. Play. Draw. Volunteer. And yes, go out with your friends! You're not going to figure yourself out sitting around at home moping about how you don't have a real job yet.

Create a Portfolio.

More specifically, devote your time into building a professional portfolio that displays your interests and showcases your strengths. In today's world that often translates into building your own website. If that doesn't lie in your skill-set, work on building your resume.

What's Good For Your Soul: Do That.

Above all else, do more of what's good for your soul. When you do what you love and you love what you do, that's what matters, and I'm sticking to my guns on that one. The world will always need more dreamers; don't let anyone ever tell you different. And when another person (like you) doesn't give up on their dreams – half the battle is already won.

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