What I Wish I Knew When I Graduated College

This morning, Timehop popped up and reminded me of what happened nine years ago today – I graduated from college. Nine years. It simultaneously seems like yesterday and forever ago, because I can remember it so clearly. I was excited to be done but sad to leave. I was ready to take on anything (or so I thought).

Those nine years have brought a lot of change in my life. While I’ve done a lot of the things I thought I would, I haven’t done others. Looking back, I just didn’t know where life was going to take me once I earned my degree.

There’s so much I wish I could go back and tell myself. So what would I say if I could?

What I wish I knew when I graduated college

Take care of your health.
I was always a heavy person, but in college, I lost over 70 pounds and felt the best I’d ever felt. Afterward? Unfortunately, it wasn’t a priority for me. I can tell you from experience it is easier to work at maintaining your healthy weight than to stare down losing it again. I also was neglectful of regular physicals. I always got the lady ones and went to the dentist, but was the worst at getting physicals. One day, two or three years after graduating, I got the urge to go get one. The result? After some tests, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s disease. The symptoms had been there for a while, and had I been getting regular checkups, it would’ve been caught much sooner. Get your checkups!

Get out of debt ASAP.
Debt is the bane of my existence. No matter how hard we work at it, it’s so hard to get ahead. If I had made it a priority when I graduated, I would be in a much better financial position than I am now. Find an inexpensive living situation, keep a budget, and pay off the debt. You’ll be so thankful for it later!

Your relationships will change.
They’ll change in so many more ways than you can think of, but to me the most striking has been my friendships. There are people that I talked to on a daily basis nine years ago that aren’t even in my phone anymore. There are others that I’ve only gotten closer to over the years, because I’ve made them a priority in my life. My relationships with family members have changed and grown. Thank goodness my romantic relationships changed and I didn’t end up with my college boyfriend. You will open up to new relationships and if you’re smart, cut destructive ones out of your life.

Take chances.
Once you graduate college, it’s your time to do whatever you want (within reason). Want to travel to Europe? Do it. Want to take cooking classes or run a marathon? Why not? Be prepared to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Go to restaurants and movies by yourself. Join an alumni group for an organization you’re involved with, or perhaps your college’s alumni association. Try new things and make an effort to meet new people. You never know who you’re going to meet or what you’re going to try that you end up loving. I’ve met several of my close friends through my sorority’s alumnae group, and I wouldn’t have those people if I hadn’t taken the chance to go to that first event. Try new things!

You don’t have to have all of the answers right now.
This is probably the most important. I thought just because I was done with college, that I was supposed to know everything that was going to happen and exactly how my life should go. Newsflash – I didn’t. I had NO idea. So my advice? Take your time. Figure out exacly who you are and what you want. Then go after it, and don’t let ANYONE stand in your way.

What advice would you give your college graduate self?

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About Jess

Jess Beer is a full-time working mom of two girls who writes about motherhood, wellness, easy meals and style.

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8 Responses

  1. Amen, Amen, Amen. I am seriously feeling the same. I graduated in 2011 and I am doing nothing to do with my degree. I hate student loans and they are purely horrible. If I only knew this before hand I think I would have done things differently. I so miss college due to making so many good memories!

    1. I really wish I had just stayed in college sometimes! So much fun, but I should’ve been so much smarter about things!

  2. SO true! I was able to learn this early on from being in the military, much of this applies that way as well. Definitely made me appreciate college more.

I’m Jess! I’m a working mama of two sweet sisters living in the DC area. This is my space to share inspiration, real stories of working motherhood, recipes, style, and more! I can’t start my day without coffee and always try to show the real side of motherhood – the good and the challenging. I’m so glad you’re here – thanks for following along on my journey!

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