People do not speak often of the transition from college to the “real-world,” and this has especially perplexed me during my last two years since graduation. There are pages and pages of wisdom given to high school seniors headed off to college, but why is there such a lack of books and blog posts on the months and years following college graduation? What should this phase of life look like? Am I doing something wrong? Why doesn’t my life look like Instagram Sally who eats kale for breakfast, works at her sweet dream job during the day, and surrounds herself with 50 friends every evening #blessed?
First off, Instagram Sally is a liar. Secondly, these feelings are totally okay, and not only are they okay, but they are expected. Transition is hard. Even now, when I am at a job I truly love and am genuinely motivated by, I can still feel lonely, insecure and confused.
Moving to a new city, starting your first job and living on your own can be uncomfortable, and what I am learning is there is NOT a perfect picture of what your life needs to look like after graduation. The years following graduation are a time to experience and learn about what you love and what you may not enjoy. This is a time to take advantage of every opportunity you are given—whether it be excellently fulfilling the menial design tasks at your first job, or speaking up in meetings with clients or superiors at work. There is so much opportunity to excel and learn in this next phase. You have the least to lose when you have the least experience at your first job. Trust me, there are advantages to this!
For those of you getting ready to graduate, whether it is in May or in another year, get excited! You are in store for growth and possibility as you learn more about who you are and what you are passionate about. But expect this to come with some discomfort. Good things come with time, and I think that is something our generation is not familiar with. Be patient, work exceedingly hard, speak up and keep learning.
Anne Marie is a recent ACU grad who finds passion in the detail and color. During her time at ACU, she worked as the department graphic designer. After graduation, she worked as a designer for Belmont Icebox, an advertising agency, before landing a job at Dialexa focusing on more interactive design and UX.