Ten Things You Need to Hear Before You Graduate College

Graduating high school is fun and exciting. If you were like me you were quickly enrolling in your very first semester of college and were determined to expand your horizons. Literally. But now, four crazy short years later, you’re about to graduate college. You’re probably thinking, “Now what?!” No worries, I’m in the same boat. To help ease the anxiety here are ten things you (and I) need to hear before graduating college.

1. You don’t have to have a plan.

To people concerned about my future, I know you all mean well, but for my sanity please refrain. My fellow future graduates and I are under an extreme amount of stress and anxiety and we don’t have a plan despite your best efforts to pick one for us. And you know what, that’s okay. We don’t need a plan. We are young and hungry for adventure (and pizza). Let us live. The world needs people like us too.

2. Don’t feel pressured to settle down and get married–even though it seems that’s what everyone else is doing.

I get it. Half of my friends are married, the other half are in serious relationships. Then there’s me. Join the club. We are young and there is no rush to jump the gun and settle down. Travel, do something crazy, discover a new passion, but whatever you do please don’t stunt your own growth by thinking you have to be in a relationship to be happy. That responsibility lies fully within your beautiful self.

3. Don’t worry, no one knows what they’re doing.

Don’t let the critics fool you, no one knows what they’re doing even if they think they have the perfect plan. Here’s a secret: plans fail often and spectacularly. Don’t worry if you change your mind a million and one times. Graduating college doesn’t mean you know what you want to do with your life. It just means you’ve finished another chapter, turn the page and keep writing the story, whatever that looks like. Everything will be okay.

4. Don’t allow the fear of the unknown stop you from trying.

Out of everything fear has the power to absolutely dictate your life if you let it. It’s okay to be afraid, just don’t let the fear stop you. Be scared and do it anyways. No one is really ever ready to take the next step, you just have to decide to jump. Go all in and don’t hold back. Let your fire blaze and you will change the world.

5. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in loneliness.

When all your friends are running in a million different directions it can be easy to feel lonely. We love our friends, but in the end we each have our own life to live. A true friend wants you to grow and succeed at whatever you choose to do, wherever you choose to do it. Support each other, but don’t hold each other back. If you’re really friends, you aren’t loosing anything, you’re only gaining. Distance doesn’t mean an end.

6. Find a self care routine and do it often.

Few things are more important than self care. If you don’t take care of you, no one else will. Find your niche. Reading with the window open? Taking a bubble bath with scented candles? Whatever it is, find it and do it often. Not only will it help you feel better, it will improve your relationships, your work, everything. When you operate at 100%, you can give 100%. It all starts with you.

7. Pursue your passions.

It sounds cliche, I know, but when you find something that sets your soul on fire, please don’t let it go. Pursue your passions. Don’t settle for the corporate 9-5 grind, take a risk and see what happens. Not everything we do has to end in success for it to be a success. Embrace the process. Fail and then fail again. Give yourself some credit, you are strong and smart and have the ability to choose your own path. Dream big and live bold.

8. Stop watching so much Netflix. Seriously.

I love a good TV show as much as the next person, but the harsh reality is it doesn’t help you. You are at the prime of your life, don’t let it slip by. Research what interests you. Read those books you’ve been meaning to. Call an old friend to catch up. Be present in your life. Engage with the universe, it’s waiting for you.

9. Cut out the drama, negativity, and gossip.

Old habits die hard. You aren’t a child anymore, it’s time to leave those childish traits behind. Be grateful everyday and thank God for all that He has done in your life. Don’t tear others down, build them up. You will be surprised how elevated your life can become when you elevate others. Choose love everyday and it will change your life.

10. Never stop running.

Now I don’t mean to start training for some marathon, unless you’re into that kind of thing then by all means get cracking. For the rest of us, I mean run towards life, towards your dreams and aspirations. Start small, no one starts off an expert. You can fall down, scratch your knees on the rocks, just make sure to get back up. Your lungs will get stronger and your confidence will grow. Enjoy the journey, the trials and tribulations. Breath it all in and never stop running.

This is your life, you get to decide your own fate. Enjoy these final weeks. Cement them in your memory, all the tears, laughs, struggles and successes. Cherish your friends and classmates, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. But most importantly take this time to realize just how blessed you are. When we came to college, we were young and foolish. We didn’t know it all like we thought. Sit back and marvel at these last four years, at the change you’ve grown through, the heartbreak your stronger from and the person you’ve now become.

Life isn’t easy and there’s no how to manual, but take heart, you’ve made it this far. Here’s to this chapter and the next, to wherever life takes us. The journey is just beginning.