People say high school is the best four years of your life. Then they say college is the best years of your life. But what about life after school? It seems like things get better as you get older, but no one really glorifies what happens after you leave campus and start your first job. I’ve been out of college now for almost 3 years and here is why I think life after college has been just as great as high school & college.
New places, new faces, new adventures. Now that you are out of the classroom and into the workplace, you are meeting some great people in the area or industry that love what you like to do too. They can offer you advice, guidance, and even become a friend or mentor. While change is usually scary and met with hesitation, especially if you have moved to a new city, it is also exciting and presents new opportunities for growth and accomplishment.
Money. You are actually MAKING money now. Instead of looking between seat cushions for 27 cents to buy a pack of Ramen, you can actually eat a real meal and start to enjoy things in the city you are in – movies, festivals, restaurants, etc. However, now that you are on your own, you become responsible for your own bills, including student loan debt. Make sure to create a budget for yourself and have realistic expectations of what you can and cannot afford. For more help on budgeting, check out our helpful handout on budgets.
Work/Life Balance. This is what I enjoyed most after I finished college. You can leave your work at the office and not have to worry about the assignments, papers, and finals looming in the future. You can come home from work and do what you want. Occasionally work and your personal life will overlap, but usually in a good way. Social events are common ways co-workers can get to know one another better and build stronger relationships. Creating a sports team, nights out on the town, and holiday parties are typical events where you can mingle and bring significant others to meet your co-workers. But remember to keep your integrity and still act professional if your work and personal life overlap. Here are more helpful hints on navigating extracurricular activities related to work and other aspects of the first year of being a professional.