Real Life: I've Graduated College, What Now?
I’ll never forget the summer before college. I can remember (very eagerly) counting down the days until I left for LSU. Well, fast forward 6 years later and where did the time go?! College was seriously some of the best days of my life and I still can’t believe that they are over. As some of you may know, after graduating from undergrad, I immediately moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in Entertainment Journalism. While my work/career experiences living there were a complete success, it simply was not the place for me to live and I moved back to Dallas, Texas.
Moving back to Dallas was a challenge initially because things slowed down, A LOT. There was a complete change in pace and my responsibilities really shifted. While the first month or so felt great, things slowly began to feel stagnant very quickly. Before I knew it, I was scratching my head like “what on earth do I do next?”. In Los Angeles, I had a plan and I never missed a beat. Working about three jobs simultaneously had stretched me more than ever before and I was pretty burnt out at a point. Fast forward to about 3 months later living in Texas, I was jobless with little to no responsibility and no idea where my career was headed.
For someone who is extremely goal oriented, I know exactly how it can feel to not know what will happen next. We get to college, study, and are expected to immediately find jobs post graduating and live life happily ever after. Well, what they don’t tell you is, it doesn’t always happen that way.
My most recent realization has definitely been that the key to this transitional period is mindset. It may sound simple saying aloud, but it seriously takes convincing. I am constantly saying “progress not perfection” aloud to remind myself that there is no cookie cutter way to achieving success. In my opinion, a lot of our “what happens next” frustration comes from feeling like we aren’t doing enough. As humans, it is natural that we’re constantly comparing ourselves to those around us and pressuring ourselves to do more. What I’ve found from this is that the above only leads to self-doubt. While I certainly don’t have all of the answers, I want to share what has worked for me.
Stick to YOUR Script
I live with my parents. Enough said. No, but seriously, in this world of social media and the infamous highlight reel, we expect everything to be perfectly pieced together and will go above and beyond to make things “look good”. The truth is, some things just don’t fit. Embrace your circumstances and own them. The real advantage in this space is being comfortable enough with where you are. Alongside acceptance comes the willingness to make active steps forward, unlike when you’re putting all of your energy into fitting the bill, your time is wasted keeping up a facade.
Use this time to elevate yourself
My latest self-realization is that although I’ve spent most of my life being taught in school, I am now responsible for my self-development moving forward. I would be doing a HUGE disservice to myself if I spent the remainder of my time here operating at the bare minimum. Use this time to expand your mind and your daily habits. We’re all guilty of talking about what we want to make happen but never actually putting forth the effort to execute. Change doesn’t happen overnight, which is why consistency is important. Whether that be setting aside time daily to read or gaining real-life experience outside of your comfort zone, push your limits by doing the things that you’re avoiding. I can guarantee that your desired level of success lies on the other side of what you don’t feel like doing.
Stack your monies
So, I’ll go ahead and say it now. This is a S T R U G G L E for me. Financial literacy is not a strength of mine, but I’ve accepted it (see the above) and am committed to learning more. Most importantly though, I am putting those actions to work and am DOING more.
How you ask? I invest in my 401k, save 20% of my earnings, and tithe 10% every pay period. NO MATTER WHAT. Financial freedom is extremely important to me because it is something that my family has struggled with for generations. Frivolous spending adds up and personally speaking, I am sick of the same old cycles. Again, consistency and frequent practice over time are key. There are obviously more ways of investing in yourself, but practicing the most basic saving goals initiates discipline and we all have to start somewhere.
Commit to the process
If you are at all like me, you may have the tendency to focus on the end result as opposed to the process. Pro tip: bad idea. Try not to become so overly infatuated with where you want to be that you don’t have the motivation to start. Committing to the process has honestly brought more peace into my life while simultaneously motivating me to take those necessary steps forward.