Yesterday marked a year since Dylan and I graduated from BYU-I and I spent my day reflecting on what graduating college was like for me. I loved going to school, that wasn’t always the case, but more on that another day. It was an exciting time, I learned so much, made friends, and grew as a person. I would always joke with my dad that you’re not really an adult when you’re in school because in a way you’re still pretty taken care of. Suddenly graduation comes along and you are thrown into the real world, and adulthood comes crashing in. My greatest worry the day of graduation was that I didn’t know what I was doing with my life, how could I be graduating and still feel so unprepared???
Knowing what I know now, I wish I could tell recently graduated me that “It’s okay to be scared and it will all work out the way it’s supposed to.” The unknown is scary, and when we graduated we didn’t have jobs, a month left in our apartment contract, and hardly any money. I know I felt like I had failed because I had the very unrealistic idea that as soon as I got that diploma I would be getting phone calls by the hundreds with these amazing career opportunities. But a whole month after graduating I was hardly getting any callbacks from anyone, and the depression was hitting hard. To make it worse, Dylan was having just as hard of a time finding something in public relations that didn’t turn out to be a cleverly disguised pyramid scheme.
You see, we wanted to play it safe, only applying to places close to us so we didn’t have to spend a ton of money to travel. We also didn’t want to live with family (and there is nothing wrong with that if you need the help to get on your feet) and we almost did. In the end, it all worked out for us, even if it took longer than we expected. Dylan ended up getting a good job in Las Vegas and we literally moved there overnight. We haven’t reached those “dream jobs” yet but every day we work towards getting closer to it.
My greatest piece of advice for recent grads is this, your first job out of school does not need to be your career. Use it as a stepping stone. Very few people work the same job from day one to retirement. Also, take risks, don’t play it safe, in order to make money you may need to spend money. If you need to travel, do it, don’t constrict yourself to one location. Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do, or if you end up doing something completely unrelated to what you studied. Nothing is set in stone, and you need to do what is going to lead you to live a happy and healthy life. That may mean leaving your job, having a difficult talk with your boss, or something else. Do what is best for you as an individual, and your family if you have one!