The Things I Wish I Knew About When You Graduate

For years we’ve studied and studied, through high school and then university. We climb the mountain of assignments and presentations in order to get those jaw-dropping grades which will put us glowingly out on our final stage we walk across, cloaked in a gown, in front of the people whose support we’ve reaped for decades. We are handed a tube of paper worth twenty something thousand dollars and finally we’re considered an adult, a graduate, and a success all in the same day. It’s a marvellous day, but a marvellous allusion because there are things you still haven’t been prepared for.

The first thing no one tells you about graduating is how totally free but absolutely lost you’ll feel. Whether or not you graduate with a job lined up, have more school planned, or are taking time off before going onto your next endeavour. The small panic attacks about what you’re doing, what life path you’re on, or if any of ‘this’ is what you actually want to be doing will occur.

Fear comes from uncertainty and that makes us anxious. They don’t tell us about the anxiety. Whenever anyone discusses it, the topic always skips conveniently over the gap between being excited about finishing school and being in your ideal chosen professional situation; which all sounds wonderful. So wonderful, that you don’t pay attention to the truth that you’ve been misguided about how easy success after university actually is.


The second thing is how quickly you look back on your incredibly recent life as an undergrad and hail them as the “good old days”. We’ve all heard our parents talk about their college days with fondness, but they are old and have been for a while so it makes sense for them to be looking back. But for us, it literally just happened. What we should be doing is cataloguing those cherished memories to recount later on in life, but we should also be looking forward to the rich and adventurous life we are going on to lead. Undoubtedly, there will be more memories and some much larger life accomplishments.

The third thing is that everyone’s life moves on to something else. As bland and obvious as that statement seems, when you think about it and let it sink in, you’ll realize that it applies to you and not just everyone else. Maybe you didn’t think that your friends, or even yourself, would actually be moving away. Maybe you did. If you did, then good for you, but if you didn’t, it’s going to happen. People move away, and it gets tougher to see the friends you consider your best. It’s difficult to make life decisions, but it’s even tougher to go on in a direction you know will pull you from your friends.

Whatever your case may be, keep in mind that we still live in the present. We all operate on a day-by-day basis and though you can plan ahead, to actually get there, you need to go through each day. You can still have the image of a successful you, but you also need to be the image of a hardworking you; then you’ll get to where you want. Don’t just look back on fun times as if they are never going to happen again, live in the moment and continue creating memories for the rest of your life. True friendships, whether you’re in the same house, neighbourhood, or even country, will last if you want them to. After all, Facebook is a simple tool to use.

Just try not to be so shocked when graduation comes around for you. Otherwise, I’ll be here. Saying “I told you so”.

Photo Courtesy of: The Things I Wish I Knew @ Clipartpal.com

Author Description

Kyle Schmalenberg

I was born into a mixed-raced family in Burlington, Ontario Canada. I grew up in China until I graduated high school and went to Queen's University. I have seen more than my fair share of countries and cultures, and still want to see more. I believe that knowledge is our greatest possession, sharing is our greatest gift and wisdom is something that we practice by making a lot of mistakes. I am currently an aspiring writer and film director. Follow me on twitter @kyleschmals. - - Instagram @biggieschmals

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