After four years (or maybe more) of wishing all the early mornings and class assignments would go away, your last semester of college is over and you’re heading into the “real world” at full speed.
Although college may have been filled with all those little annoyances, like paying outrageous tuition fees and keeping up a GPA that future employers apparently don’t care about, it was more good than anything else.
It was exploring new environments and discovering what interested you. Finding mentors in your professors and having some of the most enlightening conversations during office hours. Staying up late, drinking wine and chatting with your friends.
Inside the boundaries of your campus and well beyond them, you grew into yourself.
With the final exams, goodbyes, and bittersweet “for old time sakes” barely behind you, it’s completely normal and expected to have a few mental breakdowns. Even if you’re ready for the next phase and trust college has prepared you well for being a full-fledged adult, it’s still difficult to come to terms with a part of your life ending.
Here are seven truths you struggle with when college is over and you’re not ready to let go just yet:
1. Time is moving too quickly
It seems like just yesterday you were a scared little freshman moving into your first dorm room. You can remember that day so clearly and now the past four years are packed away in boxes waiting to be unpacked.
It’s scary, because if the past four years went by this quickly, what does that mean for the rest of your life?
2. Your friendships will change
College relationships are different. They’re more intimate and intense because you’re always in each other’s space. If you wanted to hang out with a friend, all you had to do is walk down the hall or just roll over in bed to see them chilling in the one across from you.
Everyone goes in different directions after graduation and the distance forces friendships to change. Now there will be cities and states between you and your busy lives won’t allow you to dedicate as much time to each other.
That’s okay though, because if you’re true friends you won’t let distance and time prevent you from maintaining your friendships.
3. Work hard, play occasionally
During college you could get away with going to class all day, partying late into the night, and then getting up for your 8 a.m. class. After graduation, partying all the time just isn’t realistic. Your body definitely won’t be able to bounce back the way it used to and your wallet will completely dry out.
You’ll have to start being intentional with the time you set aside for fun, and that’ll most likely depend on how much money you have in your funds. It might be time to hang up the ridiculously high platform booties and trade them in for some fuzzy slippers. That way your feet can stay warm as you watch netflix in bed and sip on your $10 wine.
4. Let the loan repayments commence
You thought about having to pay back all those student loans throughout college and now there will actually be a bill waiting for you every month.
So save up those paychecks, because Sallie Mae will find you and she will bleed you dry.
5. You will basically be working for the rest of your life
There’s no more scheduling classes so you don’t have to get up until 11 a.m.
You’ll wake up every morning to go to work and come home every evening to go to sleep, and somewhere between you’ll have to find time to have a life. Welcome to your 9-to-5 job and working until you’re at least 60.
6. Questioning who you’ll be outside of college
Being away from home and having so many different experiences allowed you to come into yourself and form your own identity. People at school knew who you were, whether from academics, sports, or extracurriculars.
You spent the last four years being that person. But leaving college to enter a new environment may mean rediscovering who you are and how you’ll identify.
7. Still not having your life figured out
Coming into college you probably thought four years was enough time to get your sh*t together and now with graduation behind you it feels like there’s added pressure to figure out what you want to do with your life.
Here’s the thing: You’re young and you have the rest of your life to figure things out. It’s okay to still explore your interests and your options—don’t rush into something because you’re afraid you need to have all the answers right now.
And if it seems like everyone else has their lives together, they’re really just better at hiding the fact that they’re hot messes too.