It’s been 2 1/2 years since I graduated from the University of Iowa and I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on life after college, but I can tell you I have learned a lot useful things.

None of the homework, tests, studying or advice from my professors prepared me for the real world. Of course they made me more knowledgeable in my chosen career path, but not in my everyday life. It’s one thing to be taught good advice but it’s another to actually abide by it.

Life after college has been exciting and hard at the same time. Through all of the ups and downs, here are a few things I picked up along the way:

It’s OK to not have a plan
The day I graduated was such an unexplainable feeling. It was bittersweet starting a new journey without my best friends, but it was one of the happiest days of my life knowing that the last chapter in my college career had been written. All those long days and nights of hard work had finally paid off. But when the recent grad feeling was gone, all that remained was stress and uncertainty. I was unemployed for a few months after graduation and I had no clue what would happen to me. I had rent, bills, and needed groceries, yet I had no income to help pay for all of it.

Not to mention, the pressure from my friends and family didn’t help either. Everyone I knew would ask, “Do you have a job lined up?” or “What’s your plan?” I’m here to tell you it’s okay to not have a plan. If I had a plan, maybe I wouldn’t have ended up with this awesome Your Voice Spokesperson job!

Just remember that It’s okay to take a job that isn’t what you went to school for. It’s okay to move back home with your parents while you learn to get on your feet. It’s okay to spend one last summer at your awesome and fun summer job. And it’s okay to not have an outline planned for yourself on what you have to do for the rest of your life. Just know that money is going to be tight, living conditions might not be ideal, and your job might not feel like the right fit in your first years out of college. But it’s okay, work through the tough times and things will get better.

Keep in touch with friends
Stay in contact with your close college friends. You don’t have to live close to each other to meet up once in a while. Make plans to meet once a week, once a month, or maybe just once a year. To maintain your happiness and well-being it’s important to have meaningful connections with people. My closest friends who once lived just a few minutes away, now live clear across the country. I have friends in California, Chicago, South Carolina and we make an effort to chat several times a week, if not everyday.

Plus, it’s great to have something to look forward to! My social life has changed quite a bit since my college days. Almost every night or weekend in college was spent doing something with my friends. Now it seems like my friends and I plan an occasional get together weeks in advance to work around everyone’s chaotic schedule. It may not be as often now, but when I do get to see them, it feels just like college again.

You will fail, and it’s OKAY!
At least once in your life, you are going to fail at something. Your talent, intelligence, hard work, and/or passion will not be able to save you. Failure is inevitable. Everybody has failed, although some refuse to admit it. Don’t let them fool you. Don’t try to be perfect, just be you and try your best. When you put yourself out there and try something new, that’s more important than the result. Always give yourself a chance to reflect on your failures and learn from them.

Not to mention, failure makes you stronger. Failure separates the weak from the strong. Some people fail, and they give up on their goals. Others fail, and they gain invincible strength. That’s what failure should do to you. It shouldn’t break or stop you. It should make you push harder to achieve your goals and dreams.
So to all of you of you graduating this weekend, good luck! And I promise…it will all work out the way it’s supposed to! Cheers!


Until Next Time,

Jessica M.


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