Welcome to freshman year in the real world
The first time back-to-school did not mean that I was going back to school was also the first time I really understood the term ‘quarter-life-crisis’. How had I outgrown the days of a new fall-class-wardrobe, school supplies, syllabi? I was suddenly longing for a night in the library writing a research paper (lol, was I ok?)
Life transitions can be complicated. Sometimes we’re eager for the next step, sometimes we’re choosing it and diving right in. Other times, we are being forced into the next phase, the next step of life. We might be scared or sad, or just straight up confused. According to big-sister influencer and podcaster, Tinx, the first year after college is better known as “freshman year in the real world.” And I felt like I was being pushed off a cliff, head first, into it.
Nearly two and a half years out now, there are a number of things I wish I could go back and tell my post-grad self. When I was panicking about living (once again) in my childhood bedroom, I wish I could have known how much better things would really get. Better than I honestly could have dreamed. I wish I had known my time post-grad would be just as special, transformative, and exciting as my years in college.
So, since I can’t help 22-year-old me, let me help you. Here’s our go-to guide for how to get through the absolute rollercoaster of a year that is freshman year in the real world.
Make new friends
When I graduated college, I self-declared that I was done making friends. I “had my bridesmaids,” it was too much effort. The friends I have made in the past couple of years have changed my life. We’ve helped each other through the beginnings of adult life, something we’re all navigating. They are a form of chosen family to me, and it’s wild to think at a point I didn’t want that. Reach out to your new neighbor, the woman who sits next to you at work, say YES to invitations you’d rather pass up. Saying yes really is everything.
But keep the old
Lean on your college besties. You’re all going through the same thing, for perhaps the last time in your lives. From here on out you’ll be moving to different places, starting new jobs, making new friends, and maybe even having your own families. But right now, you’re in it together. Take your struggles straight to the group chat. Chances are, they’re feeling all the same feels.
Pick up some hobbies
Hot yoga anyone? Whether you want to start a book club with your long-distance besties, join a rec beach volleyball team, take up knitting, or just attend the occasional workout class- get up and do something. The monotonous routine of work and home life feels a whole lot easier when you’ve got some other activities to look forward to.
Instagram is not reality
Honestly, a social media cleanse could be good for us all. While this rule always applies in life, it’s especially important to remember in the year after college. In reality, no one knows quite what they’re doing. Everyone is starting brand new jobs or job hunting. They’re moving out fully on their own for the first time or back at home for the first time in years. I don’t know a single person who truly “thrived” in the first chunk of time after graduating. But, Instagram could have fooled me.
It’s ok to move home or move away from home
Life is not a race. You don’t get an award for moving out and living on your own the second you graduate. It can even be smart to move home for a bit to save money. At the same time, it is very much okay to move far far away, if that’s what your heart desires.
We encourage you to make a big change
Break up, move across to a new city, radically change your career path if you want to. Your twenties (especially your early twenties) are for trying new things: failing AND succeeding. If you have an itch, we’re giving you permission to scratch it. In the past couple of years I broke up with a long term boyfriend who I didn’t see a future with, picked up and moved across the country, and went through three different full time jobs before finding my place at Stix (dream job am I right). Lots of trial and error has resulted in me building and choosing a happy life for myself, even though it looks nothing like what I thought it would.