If you’re graduating college (or will be soon), then consider this: at the very least you’re in your early twenties. You aren’t getting any younger and life is about to get far more real. In light of that, here are some life lessons to take with you when you walk across the podium with your diploma in hand:
Stay organized: Now that you’ve handed in an ungodly amount of term papers, sat uncomfortably while completing an innumerable amount of exams, and have slugged countless cups of coffee while cramming in some homework, chances are you might have learned a thing or two about how to organize your time. Now that college is almost in the rearview mirror, don’t leave those organization habits behind. Remember: the world only gets bigger as you progress, meaning you still need to keep track of your obligations and your time.
Keep looking for help: Whether you’ve sought relationship advice from a friend or have stopped by your professor’s office hours for help learning difficult class material, college has hopefully taught you that asking for help is often the best (and fastest) way to adapt or learn something new. With the real world on its way, you’re going to need a crash course on office life, renting apartments, navigating your student loan repayment, and way, way more. When encountering a new experience or something unfamiliar, keep your college spirit alive and look for assistance; there’s no shame in reaching out to make sure you get the job done right. Remember that the best resources you have are your professors from college, your friends (who will be going through the same thing as you), and your parents, who have years, and years, and years of experience.
Appreciate the small stuff: Any college student knows the perils of living and sleeping in the dorms—hot, stuffy, uncomfortable, and crowded. So remember: when you move on from college, be sure to appreciate the small stuff. Life may get real, and financially difficult, but at least you have a little more space, and maybe an air conditioner.
Friendships are meant to last: You’ve probably made some friends and have shared many bonding experiences with them. Don’t throw those memories away even though you might all be moving on to different places. Keep in touch with your friends and you won’t regret it. One truth most college graduates will tell you: it’s much harder making friends once you’re out of school, so it’s wise to keep some of the ones you have.
Keep looking for the next adventure: Just because college is over doesn’t mean you have to play the role of “boring adult.” Keep looking for facets of life that keep you excited to be human—travel when you can, eat good and weird foods, read more, watch old movies, or pick up a crazy sport like rafting or rock climbing. In other words: remember that life is short and you can’t take money with you when its over.