It’s incredibly hard to believe that a year ago tomorrow, I graduated college. Three and a half years of finals, papers and projects all cumulated to that very moment where I crossed the stage. That being said, I’ve complete year one of adulthood, if you will. I figured I’d document some things I’ve learned.
It’s not easy. How I long for the days of 11am classes, Thirsty Thursday’s at Harpos and afternoon naps. The 9-5 world is just that – business, 9-5. Or, like most advertisers, closer to 8-6. Sure, the whole paycheck thing is awesome, but the free time isn’t close to being comprable.
Work isn’t perfect. Like most proud J-School grads, I expected some $50,000 glam job doing social media for a powerhouse like Budweiser or Old Spice. That didn’t happen. My first job was not a good fit for me at all, but I learned a lot. Will I go back to media? No. Did I really need to know the inner workings of a cow’s digestive system? No. But it’s experience, and an interesting conversation piece.
Respect is earned. I can’t emphasize that enough. It probably doesn’t help that I have a baby face and look like a 16-year-old without the acne, but you have to work very, VERY hard to gain respect out of college. Just because you show up with a degree doesn’t mean you’ve earned your stripes.
Living on your own is not what you did in college. Sure, I had an apartment, I had roommates. I had to buy groceries and pay electric bills, but that was all highly supplemented by my parents. Being on my own now, I realize the importance of budgeting and free time. Laundry doesn’t do itself, trash does not get taken out automatically, and you have no idea how grateful you are for your parents until you’re no longer living with them and calling them up to install a shower head for you.
B-Averages no longer cut it. To give myself credit, I was an A-B honor roll student. However, in the real world, that missed comma or misspelt word that would have gotten a few points off now can cause meetings with your boss, client, or worse – HR department. Practice makes perfect is no longer the motto – get everything right the first time by double and triple checking your work is.
Responsibility is nice. I wasn’t allowed to have a dog as a child, teen, or college student. Now, living on my own, I was able to get Yadi. Yes, he’s a damn handful, but I enjoy being responsible for him and myself. When you have to count on yourself, you quickly learn to appreciate what you do.
Life goes on. I had a breakdown or two that I wouldn’t ever see my friends after graduating early. That’s false. Keeping your relationships is just as important as landing a job. Are their things I miss about college life? OF COURSE. But all in all, I’m enjoying the grown-up life.