Transitioning from College to the Real World

You’re close to graduating from college! Congratulations!

It’s a huge deal that you’ve made it to this celebratory milestone. You’ve put in lots of long hours, late nights, and no doubt you’ve made some relationships at school that will last a lifetime. It’s exciting to be so close to the next big segment of your life, but it can also feel a lot like standing on the edge of cliff, with no idea where or how you’re going to jump.

This is a completely normal feeling many college graduates typically face. Questions loom from friends and relatives as graduation day moves closer: Where will you work? Are you going to move home? Do you have an internship lined up? What’s the next step? Between finishing your finals, fitting in last-minute projects, and figuring out where you’re going to work to make ends meet, the passage from college to the real world can feel overwhelming.

There are a few things to keep in mind as you make the big leap. The good news is that you don’t have to be consumed with stress or fear—graduating college can be fun! Read on for some tips on how to approach this big change with a thoughtful attitude and open hands.

It’s all about the process.

Many twentysomethings place huge expectations of themselves. For some reason, millennials feel that they should have “arrived” right out of school, and it’s wreaking havoc on many a psyche. Instead of stressing yourself out about having the perfect apartment, the perfect job, and the perfect family, learn to take it slow and enjoy the process.

As humans, we like feeling in control. It’s a lot easier to dictate where we want our lives to go than trust that God will bring opportunities our way. Sometimes the timeframe regarding how these things happen isn’t always what we would assume, and patience is a virtue when it comes to getting where we want to be. This doesn’t mean you should stop chasing your dreams, but keep in mind that it takes a lot of hard work, patience, and an attitude that’s open to celebrating small victories along the way. Enjoy the process instead of constantly stressing out about the result.

Take advantage of opportunities.

Not all opportunities will feel like the right opportunities at the time. For instance, a friend might hook you up with a job offer that doesn’t sound like something you’d initially choose. However, sometimes taking advantage of favorable opportunities can open doors to the path you’re hoping to take.

Never doubt the positive impact that making connections with people and practicing your interview skills can have. You might meet someone who can introduce you to someone who’s looking for a person just like you to fill a position that’s more up your alley. If you run into a dead end, keep trying. Eventually, you’ll find the right job, the right place to live, the right career path. It’s just a matter of taking advantage of the opportunities right in front of you.

Equip yourself with new skills and abilities.

Just because you’re graduating doesn’t mean the learning should stop. While you may have mastered the knowledge for a particular field or specialization, there’s always room for improvement and expansion. Take a break, of course, right after you graduate, but after you feel rested, consider pursuing additional specializations or skills to add to your resume.

If you happen to get stuck in a starter job or a workplace that doesn’t feel like a good fit for you, figure out what else you can focus on in the meantime. Make it a point to make great relationships with your coworkers. Be on time. Utilize your time in a productive way. You’ll show your supervisor you can handle whatever he or she throws at you, and that will make for a great recommendation when you move on to your next position.

Rest and spend time with the Lord.

Life as a human can be tough sometimes. But it can also be beautiful and rewarding. As you move on from college, rejoice in the fact that a very busy period of your life is now behind you. Take some time to relax, and don’t forget to gather your strength from the One who never runs out of it.

When real life starts to feel overwhelming, when bills get real and you have to start thinking through things like insurance and a mortgage, consider your Father and take the time to ask Him about each path you consider taking. Our God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and you can always rely on Him for strength and comfort, no matter what season of adulthood you’re in.

You’ll get there. 

Remember, don’t rush. Enjoy the process of transitioning from college to adulthood, and remember that you’re not the only one! Get involved with a small group at church, or make sure you’re a part of some sort of Christian community that can encourage you and help you remember truth as you journey through life.

Keep working hard and pursuing your dreams, and eventually, you’ll find yourself right where you were meant to be.