It took me a while to process this but I'm no longer a university student! I graduated in June from York University/Sheridan College with a Bachelor of Design honours degree making it onto the Dean's honour list and receiving Cum Laude too! Needless to say, I was not only thrilled to receive those honours but to never have to step into a classroom again! I loved my design program but somewhere nearing the end of my third year, I felt that my time in school was up. I didn't want project briefs assigned by teachers anymore. I was ready to dive into the real world.
If you're also a new grad, here are a few things that I try to keep in mind:
- If possible, don't work right away. Take some time to do some exploring. You've been in school for as long as you remember. This is a great time to discover more about yourself! Once you start working, you'll be working for a long time and there's absolutely no rush or a need to race to the next big promotion.
- Your job isn't your life. What does success mean to you? In the western society, I find that so much of our time and energy is focused on our career and 9-5 life that we forget that our life isn't only about our job. Don't forget to spend time outdoors. Find a hobby. Make friends outside of work. There's a whole other world out there so don't let your life revolve around work.
- It's okay not to know what you want to do. There's no rush. It might be freaky to be jobless or be doing something you don't love, but there will be time for you to figure that out. If anything, just try to spend time doing what you love, the things that make you feel alive. Forget about money. I know it's easier said than done but if you have a good support system and find that it's possible to take that risk, go for it. The security and money will find you as long as you truly work hard at what you enjoy doing. There's always a niche for it.
- Everybody is learning as well. You might think your boss has it all or that the friend you look up to is utterly perfect..but believe me, we're all just figuring things out day by day. You'll start learning that everyone also starts out as a newbie and feels the exact same way. We are all learning things just like you so don't be too hard on yourself! It's okay to feel confused about the 'steps' of life or to feel lost at times.
- If you want to move, do it! Now is a great time to move to a new city. One chapter is ending, and now it's time to start a new one. If you want to explore somewhere, then give it your all. Make it happen. There will always be excuses that come and go so don't wait! Your 20's is a great time to explore yourself and the world. If you can't afford to move right away, start working on a plan that allows you to make your dreams come true.
- Change is inevitable. No matter how much you want to hold onto something, someone, or a dream, change is inevitable. So let's embrace these changes and make the best of things. You're entering a new chapter now. There will be more responsibilities, bigger decisions, and larger sacrifices...but don't worry, change is good, it allows growth. Find something to look forward to that is a result of these changes.
So go for it. Do what you love. Be brave. See the world. Open your heart to change (especially if it's scary!). It's time to get excited for this new chapter of your life!