The one-year mark since I walked the stage at college graduation is quickly approaching. To summarize that statement in a word – weird.
I’ve learned a lot in post-grad life already. Much more than my overly cocky, college-self thought I even had left to learn. I’ve been knocked on my ass countless times – in work and in life. There are some lessons that college just does not teach you. And to the people still in college…. Please treasure the ability to afternoon nap. That lifestyle adjustment is a bigger struggle than budgeting for student loan payments.
Early adulthood. It’s the undeniable mix of “this sucks” and the new version of “the most exciting time of your life.”
The biggest lesson I am continually learning is to stop making long-term plans. Life can be so much better if you learn to be flexible and just go with it.
This time last year I accepted an offer for a six-month internship with an ad agency abroad. Long story short, the contract/work visa process was not on my side and a month later it all fell through in one short afternoon. I found myself suddenly with nothing lined up, spending Easter at my parent’s home sending out applications to ad agencies from coast to coast. I had no ties and was ready for an adventure. The week of graduation the decision came down to two completely opposite opportunities. Shortly after graduation I moved to a city I had never been to and knew no one in, unpacked into an apartment I had never seen in person and started work at agency that I had only Skype interviewed with.
There were probably a few red flags that went up in your head as you read that sentence. I can almost guarantee that those are some of the obstacles that I have dealt with since the move. I will be the first to admit it was a far from flawless plan but it was also one of the best decisions I have ever made.
In the past 10 months…
I have experienced homesickness I didn’t know I was capable of, felt completely out of my element, watched some college friendships fade while others have developed into the equivalent of family, experienced true terror (also known as the time Jordan visited me and we drove my Kia to the summit of Pikes Peak), learned that some things that I never even considered I actually really want, learned that some things I once thought I wanted I actually really hate, met great friends that I can’t imagine not in my life right now and, overall, discovered that college is only phase one of the “self discovery” process.
Do I still think about the other opportunity? Of course. But it’s just one of the potential places on my mental “post-grad nomad” list. Will all of those places happen? I have no idea. Could I stay in Colorado forever? It could definitely happen. (I mean, have you been here?) There’s no plan or time frame for any of it and that’s the way I like it.
If you have the chance to throw yourself into the unknown, away from everyone. Do it. It’s confusing, lonely, exciting, lesson-inducing, challenging and a ton of fun.
That is life.
That is your twenties.
None of us know what we are doing. And it is pretty awesome.