Advice for Recent Graduates – 6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Graduating

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Although graduating is an exciting experience that has been looming in the far distance of your years of education, once it comes around: it can hit you quite unexpectedly. 

The feelings of excitement, pride, and joy can gradually dissipate into feelings of anxiousness, worry, and even hopelessness. 

All of these feelings and experiences are valid. It doesn’t happen to everyone but can happen to most at different times post-graduation. 

Personally for me, I felt these feelings much later after graduating. One of the reasons is because I spent an extra year at university than most of my friends as I didn’t take a break between my undergraduate degree to pursue my master’s degree. 

A few months after obtaining my master’s degree and being fully out of university, I started feeling the university blues when fall time came around. 

I got through it but wished I knew some things before graduating. Essentially, I wished more people would talk about how they got ready to face post-grad life!

Therefore in this post, I combined a list of 6 things I wish I knew before graduating. 

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1. It’s okay to stray from the path and get a bit lost

Honestly, it’s okay to feel lost. Even if you did and do have a plan, you might still stray from the path. Don’t resist this. It’s all part of the journey post-graduation. Consider the wise words of poet Robert Frost:

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”

– Robert Frost

Personally for me, my life felt incredibly uncertain for when I was graduating because we were in the beginning of a pandemic and the job market suffered greatly as a result. 

I thought I would be teaching or working a translation job, instead I ended up doing something I love and enjoy much more: building an online business. On the side I still tutor French and know I have options open to me if I decide to pursue jobs in my field. 

 I’m on the stray path and it feels good. 

2. It’s also okay not to have the perfect job instantly lined up for you

This is yet another point of contention most graduates have to face once they graduate. Future job prospects are not always the most apparent. Sometimes we end up not finding that ideal job on the first go. Or even after several tries. 

But remember that every experience remains invaluable to you as a person. 

Once you graduate, you might notice that many jobs require many years of experience, extra certificates, and/or earlier application. 

My advice would be to brace yourself for anything to happen and keep an open mind. Have your options open and not limited to one job offer and/or opportunity. 

Trust me, applying and finding jobs can seriously become a job in of itself. 

3. Your education doesn’t end there 

My third advice involves understanding that your education doesn’t end there. After you graduated, you can still discover and learn many cool new stuff. There are so many sources available to us especially in the digital age. Online free and paid courses, books, classes, articles, video series, etc. 

Non-fiction books are one of my constant source of information learning. Even fiction books: they teach me a lot about myself, the world, and the craft of writing. 

Honestly, you might want to learn a new skill, a new language, a new way of living your life, etc.  

When I graduated from my master’s last spring, I threw myself right back into research excitedly. I learned how to start a blog and a YouTube channel. (You can subscribe to my channel here. 😉 ) 

I also was reading a lot of personal development and personal finance books because it was an area I struggled the most in. I had never took a business or finance course beforehand!

Safe to say, there are so many new things to learn and to get excited about! 

4. The fun times are not over

I cannot stress this enough. If you are a person that thrived in university and had a really good time (most time, sometime): don’t worry. The good times will come again even if they feel different. 

If anything you can enjoy a weekend out without stressing about the assignment or test that’s due early on a Monday morning. Hence, the excitement is different but still there. 

Take a deep breath and relax. Adulting is hard but it doesn’t have to be devoid of fun. 

Moving forth there are many new memories and adventures to go on. You can’t dwell on the college and/or university days. Intense nostalgia will hold you back from the excitement of your new life!

5. Be prepared for a smaller circle 

My next advice would be to be prepared for a much smaller circle of friends. It’s the reality of the situation. Some people you are close with because of convenience and proximity.

Also, people change and move on. That’s just the natural order of life. Look back at middle school and high school. The same thing happened there and it’s totally normal! 

It’s not personal to you. It just is. We grow, we form new friendships, and we start having different interests and life paths. 

Furthermore, people simply get busy with their life and career. They move away, start jobs, find a significant other, and the list goes on.

You can’t keep up with everyone all the time. It’s not fair to you or to them.

6. Start a budget

Another invaluable advice – this was given to me luckily before I entered my first year of university – is to start a budget.

Budgets are really important because they make you conscious on where and how you make and spend your money. 

Chances are after you graduate, you will be faced with a lot of big monetary goals and anxieties. You might have new living expenses, student loan debts (they collect in interest over time), purchase of a new car, etc. 

Having a budget helped me pay my 40K student load debt the day I graduated. Safe to say my debt didn’t have time to collect any interest. 

When it comes to money managing your finances, it’s always better to be aware and ahead of the game. It will save you a lot of stress and anxiety in the future to come. 

7. Travel if you can 

This final piece of advice is a bit gratuitous but I do recommend it. 

I would suggest to try travelling if you can. First, it’s a nice and deserved break. And second, it’s the perfect time to do so before you get sucked into a full-time job.  

Travelling will also remind you that there is more to the world to discover. It will essentially show you that your life has just begun. Going on a trip no matter how small can kickstart you into a new adventure before starting your career.

I hope you enjoyed this list of the 6 things I wish I knew before I graduated. Let me know which graduation advice resonated with you the most! Which piece of advice would you recommend to others? 🎓

You might also enjoy my post on the 10 Books to Gift Recent Graduates as well as my post the 25 Inspirational Quotes You Need to Read After Graduation.

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