Greetings, young grasshopper.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably due to one of two things: 1) you are a member of the graduating class of 2017 (congratulations!) and are experiencing a flood of emotions ranging from nervousness, excitement, to apprehension about taking the plunge that is graduation or 2) you’ve already graduated and are hoping to seek validation that you, in fact, are not crazy. Either way, welcome.
When I graduated two years ago, I was an emotional wreck. Or more like shipwrecked and stranded on the coast of a foreign island, with no food, shelter or rescue team in sight. I had not one single prospect for a job or graduate program or internship in line to catch me as I leaped into “adulthood”. This came as a huge disappointment, especially since from the start of my senior year in 2014 up until December of 2015, I easily sent out tens of dozens of applications to places I have yet to hear back from. And the emails? Oh, the emails… hundreds were delivered to the inbox graveyard, thrust into oblivion, and laid to rest, never to be read or seen again.
I wish someone would have been kind enough to tell me that not all post-graduate stories have fairy tale ending. I wish someone would have shaken me out of my dazed state to warn me, “Brace yourself for impact, babygirl!” But that never came. Just a bunch of shed tears, minimum wage jobs, and a wavering faith in what the future would hold.
Still, as I look back on the hell that was my first year post-grad, I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Don’t get me wrong, at the time, I hoped that God would allow me to take the easy way out, (become a stripper, find a Sugar Daddy… etc.) but when He didn’t, I knew I needed to embrace my journey and not surrender. And wouldn’t you know, 10 months into being career-less, I landed me first job in New York City. Won’t He do it?
With all that said, there are still a number of things that I’ve learned along the way that I wish someone would have at least warned a sistah about. Granted, there are some things that you’ll just have to stumble and fall haphazardly into, but it’s still nice to have some kind of a heads up. So here you go:
1.) Graduation Day goes by quick: Before you take your walk into the auditorium, church, football field or wherever your ceremony is taking place, embrace the final moments you and all of your classmates will be together as one. Take countless selfies, talk about the future, and congratulate each other on passing that class with that professor you’ll couldn’t stand. These are you’re last moments, because once the ceremony ends and all the names are called, it’s family time; and your parents, cousins, and grandma and ‘nem are going to want their time with you. Make sure you’re present because you only graduate from undergrad once.
2.) Finding friends post-grad is a sweet, messy journey: Not to front like I had a bunch of goons during my college days; my squad was by no means #goals. Still, the few individuals on my team were carefully selected and are still my friends to this day. But as distance comes into play, you must now decide, do I become a loner or actively seek to develop new relationships? It’ll be weird, trust me, and you’ll try to force yourself into social environments you won’t have any business in just to have something to do on the weekends. I’m not going to tell you to not to do this (because I did, regretfully) however, I will advise that you remain mindful of the company you keep as you find your way. The right people will come when you least expect it. Trust me, I’ve lived it.
3.) You will cry; a lot: When I worked at McDonald’s after I graduated, I vividly remember taking someone’s order for a Big Mac meal, when I suddenly broke down, crying in the middle of the drive-through wondering how my life had reached such an all-time low. I thought the Lord had abandoned me and would never bless me with my first career job. Boy, was I wrong. But when you’re in the funk, all you can see is funk. When these times creep up on you, and they will, never forget your vision. Stay focused on where you plan to see yourself a month, or a year down the road because it’s that hope that will keep you from giving up completely.
4.) You will doubt yourself: You will think that you aren’t doing enough, working hard enough, grindin’ enough. You will think that you cannot learn all the things that are being thrown at you by your new boss or professor. You will feel like giving up, but you can’t. If God has not opened a door for you to walk into, let him work on you and prepare you for the road ahead. Because once He finally does open that door, you’ll be equipped will all you need to successful.
5.) Do not compare your journey: I cannot stress this enough! We live in a time where everyone has to share every move they make or else they feel like they’re not progressing. But what I’ve come to learn is that you are not wasting any time if you’re avidly working to get your life together. Sure, you’re friends may post they’re grad school acceptance letters, full-time job offer letters, and all the others moves they’re making in the summer, but hold on to your dreams tight and focus on your end goal, you’re time will come; I promise.
Before you leave: Let’s uplift and inspire one another; share this post with a member of the class of 2017 who you think would benefit from this knowledge! And let me know something you wish you knew before you graduated. Like, comments, and follow for new blog updates!