College & Career

Life After Graduation: Making Decisions, Staying Positive, & Not Totally Freaking Out

It’s been a little over a year since I graduated college. I proudly walked out of my last final exam on a chilly December day, strolled back to my campus apartment, and continued packing my things. By the next day, I was outta there! It all seemed so quick to me. 4 years of hard work all led up to a rather anti-climactic ending.

If you’ve been in college then you know how everyone hypes up graduation. It’s all everyone talks about – what it’s going to take to actually graduate, what jobs to look for, etc. And then when it happens, it just happens. No stride through a finish line, no round of applause from everyone you’ve ever known; it just kind of ends. Now what?

Life After Graduation: Making Decisions, Staying Positive, & Not Totally Freaking Out

I had my degree that I worked so hard to earn, along with a mildly hefty amount of student debt (community college for the first two years really does make a difference, people!), and my whole life ahead of me.

The traditional first move for college grads is to get whatever the typical entry-level job is in their field.

For me and my public relations degree, that would mean applying to be a PR coordinator, social media coordinator, or something of that nature. After about of month of constant applying, I found a position as the latter at a local marketing firm.

Long story short, the position didn’t work out for me and I ended up handing in my two weeks notice after about 6 months. This was not apart of my plan, but starting off my career on a bad note wasn’t apart of it either.

So I found myself in an interesting predicament. I only held that position for 6 months so I wasn’t that much more qualified for a job than I was when I graduated. That gave me 2 options:

    1. get another job like the one I had
    2. try something different

I went with #2. And oh, what an adventure it turned out to be!

It has been 6 months since I made that decision and during that time, I have worked on becoming more well-rounded and expanding my reach beyond my initial field of public relations. Not to mention, I have also taken a lot of time to nurture and grow Glamorously You, which I am most proud of.

No, I didn’t have a steady job these past 6 months. I freelanced and even organized a social media marketing workshop (another proud moment)! In hindsight, I really needed this time to improve as a professional, learn more about myself, and figure out what I really want out of a job and out of my life.

Was it the traditional way of doing things? No.

Did I break the “stay at a job for at least a year” rule? Yes.

Did I make tons of money these past 6 months? No.

Am I happy I did it? Yes!

That’s where your story comes in.

Life after graduation can be messy! We are young people taking a real stab at “adult” life for the first time and most of us aren’t going to get it right on the first try.

I have learned a lot about life after graduation throughout this past year, so here is some advice that I can share…

I know it’s hard to talk to classmates, both before and after graduation, about jobs. You know there is always going to be that one person who landed some amazing job right away. And you know some people are going to get better opportunities than you. Not to mention, the pressures of student loans and just the fact that you now have this degree waiting to be utilized is even more pressure to keep you up at night.

What is most important is to think about you, and only you. Despite what everyone else is doing, you need to make decisions based on what is best for you at that time. Careers are no joke. They have the power to set the tone for your whole life. Being new grads, we are in a special position where we have our whole careers and lives ahead of us. We have the most control over our careers that we will ever have, so take this time to think about what you really want to accomplish with it.

I find that having a bigger perspective on it has made it easier. Instead of thinking about what kind of job I want right now, I think about what I would like to accomplish in my life within the next few years. That’s much easier to do and most of us already have some ideas, like:

  • getting your own place
  • getting a new car
  • paying off student loans, or debt in general
  • saving up X amount of money
  • taking a trip
  • getting a graduate degree

I recommend you make a 5-year plan for yourself. You can include career goals if you have them, but focus on what you’re looking to get out of life. In turn, this will motivate you to make the best career moves. Always keep these goals in the front of your mind.

Ultimately, the best advice I can give to you post-grads is to be proud of what you have accomplished! College is not easy and we got through it. It may have taken one too many all-nighters and a concerning amount of take-out, but we did it! That’s a lot to be proud of.

Overall, here are my main points of advice for life after graduation:

  • Don’t compare your post-grad career to that of your former classmates
  • Consider what is best for you, and only you
  • Make career decisions based on your life goals
  • Be proud of what you have accomplished!

It’s barely been a year out of college for me, so I have to remind myself not to be so hard on myself! It’s okay if we don’t have everything figured out. It’s okay if we don’t make the perfect decision the first time around. It’s okay to feel like we’re behind or not as good as everyone else. This is all normal!

What’s important is to always stay positive and never stop trying to create a life you love.

If you need any support with your life after graduation, feel free to contact me! My email is 🙂 

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Life After Graduation: Making Decisions, Staying Positive, & Not Totally Freaking Out

How have you handled life after graduation? Leave your advice in the comments!

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  • Reply Emily Ardoin Bourque

    Congratulations on finding your path!

    I graduated in education and worked in the public school system right out of graduation. Cut to one year later, where I hand in my letter of resignation and apply for grad school on the same day.

    Sometimes our lives don’t go the way we plan them to, but the journey is half the fun, right?

    January 16, 2018 at 12:25 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      You are exactly right! Good luck on your grad school journey 🙂

      January 16, 2018 at 12:33 pm
  • Reply ShootingStarsMag

    That’s great you’ve been able to focus on the things you really want these past six months. I’m definitely still searching for that full time job that suits me. Granted, any full time at this point would be great since I have a Master’s degree AND it’s been a little over 2 years since I graduated. It’s been an interesting time for sure! lol


    January 16, 2018 at 1:36 pm
  • Reply Allison

    This is important to read while in college too! We are all so focused on the big picture, we don’t realize some of the small details that may cause a problem! Great post!

    January 16, 2018 at 1:45 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Thank you so much! It’s good to be prepared about this before graduation too in order to have a smoother transition 🙂

      January 16, 2018 at 2:39 pm
  • Reply Joy Doonan

    Very timely stuff! It can be so daunting to be in the position of leaving post-secondary these days; the job market is not as straightforward or streamlined as it used to be and there are so many directions we can take with our lives, it’s difficult to orient yourself. This is great advice and very heartening 🙂

    January 16, 2018 at 5:42 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      I am so glad you connected with this! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      January 16, 2018 at 5:46 pm
  • Reply Payton

    I am so glad that you have talked about this topic. It is so important not to get stuck in the things of life. Looking at the big picture has gotten me so much further in life so far! Thank you for sharing.

    January 16, 2018 at 10:33 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Thank you! Always looking at the big perspective will help you stay optimistic and make the right decisions!

      January 17, 2018 at 8:49 am
  • Reply Morgan

    Such an encouraging post! I graduated in 2014, moved home before getting married and started work as a contracted social media manager for 6 months. When that wasn’t what I wanted to do either, I had to reevaluate a few things, too. Most drastically, my husband and I picked up and moved 13 hours away from both our families right after our first anniversary so I could find a job that I would LOVE. Sometimes it does take a big step to find out what you’re capable of and what you’ll surprise yourself by enjoying.

    January 17, 2018 at 12:41 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Wow! That is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing that 🙂

      January 17, 2018 at 5:41 pm
  • Reply Eryn

    Congratulations on your career! Just came across your blog and I love it!

    January 17, 2018 at 3:18 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Thank you so much! Come back soon 🙂

      January 17, 2018 at 5:39 pm
  • Reply Charlene

    Great advice for a new grad!

    January 19, 2018 at 9:59 am
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      thank you! I’m so glad you liked it.

      January 19, 2018 at 10:00 am
  • Reply Nicole

    I wrote such a similar post to this that I called The Freshman Year of Life because seriously, you learn so much in your first year out of college that it’s like being in school all over again. I love all your tips, especially the one about not comparing yourself to your classmates and what they’re doing now. Especially when you throw social media into the mix. Everyone makes their life look super awesome online, but seriously, almost everyone is in the same boat as everyone else in this stage of life.

    January 19, 2018 at 10:00 am
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      You are very right! Everyone has their own struggles; no one’s life is perfect even if it appears to be. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      January 19, 2018 at 10:01 am
  • Reply Vanessa

    Let me tell you that’s its so very common. There are so many expectations set on having things all figured out once you graduate and even if you have a plan things never go as planned! Trust your gut and it’s ok to take time to discover you and what you want to devote your energy to. I had a mini crisis after graduating but I put myself out there until I found my niche! Great story.

    January 19, 2018 at 10:07 am
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Good for you! I’m so glad you enjoyed this piece and were able to relate.

      January 21, 2018 at 3:12 pm
  • Reply Tiffybailey

    It sounds to me that you’ve done totally the right thing for you and I admire your strength and positivity! I’m sure you’re going to be super successful… and happy.. . whichever path you choose in the future too x

    January 19, 2018 at 10:33 am
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Thank you for the kind words! I’m always making decisions in the hope that it will bring more happiness. That is the #1 priority for me. 🙂

      January 21, 2018 at 3:11 pm
  • Reply mera

    Thank you so much! Come back soon

    January 22, 2018 at 9:57 am
  • Reply Yen (GlossyCover)

    It seems you have some solid goals and plans for your future. Congratulations on your graduation and good luck in your future adventures! Follow your dreams and passion!

    January 23, 2018 at 1:04 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Thank you so much! That means a lot 🙂

      January 23, 2018 at 4:31 pm
  • Reply Cristina

    Congratulations, It’s important not to be daunted when you leave college and just try out everything you can before finding your passion! Best of luck x

    January 23, 2018 at 2:33 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Thank you! Absolutely. It’s all about embracing the journey 🙂

      January 23, 2018 at 4:30 pm
  • Reply Terrah

    These tips are so true! I post a lot about college life and life after. it is tough! Really enjoyed this read

    January 23, 2018 at 5:59 pm
    • Reply Nicole DaRosa

      I am so glad you enjoyed it! Come again soon! 🙂

      January 24, 2018 at 8:15 am
  • Reply Heather LeGuilloux

    Great advice! It can be a time filled with lots of uncertainty or decision-making so it can be important to take a step back and consider what’s most important and right for you moving forward.

    January 23, 2018 at 8:18 pm
    • Reply Nicole DaRosa

      You are absolutely right. You just have to stay positive and keep it movin!

      January 24, 2018 at 8:16 am

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