A message to recent college grads: live YOUR life

This is it. Most of you have gone through Graduation Day and walked off that stage feeling a little weird. You did it. you are now officially done college.

So what now?

When I finished college in December, there was no complete closure. I packed up my things and moved back home. If i wanted to attend the ceremony (I didn’t), I would have to wait until May for that closure. It was weird. I have been living on campus for three and a half years, but now I was back at home. There was no going back.

So what now?

I began my job hunt, which I’m sure most of you are starting or have started already. If you were smart (I wasn’t), you started while you were still in school. No matter what you are doing right now, I have a message for you.

For those of you still in school, completing those last few credits, I have a message for you as well.

Listen closely:

There is no right way to live your life.

That’s right. If you do or don’t have a job already lined up, that’s okay. You’re looking. If you work part time at a retail store or fast-food, or any other job some people might consider “not a job,” that’s okay too. At least you have a job. You are still looking.

You might not be able to move out of your parent’s house right away. It’s an expensive world out there. Congratulations to those who can move out straight away.

I’m still living at home, even after about five months of having my degree. I’ve been working full time at a retail store. I just acquired a second job, evaluating social media part time, which is done at home. I will still probably be living at home through the summer.

But I am finally okay with that.

I have been plagued with intrusive thoughts about how I should be living my life. I see people traveling, getting jobs in their field, moving out, and doing other adult or cooler things than I am. I felt that I wasn’t living my life the “right” way. I’m young. I should be out with friends. i should be living on my own. “I should be” reverberated around my skull, bouncing on the walls as my bones vibrated with these negative feelings.

But then I thought, who really cares?

I am happy. I have a job. A reliable job. It may not be the job I want, but I still have an income. I live in an area i love. I have been writing. I’ve been in a committed relationship for seven years. I have cats. I have supportive and loving friends.

The only reason I was unhappy was because I kept thinking i was supposed to be dissatisfied with the way I was living. But life’s moments aren’t liner. i don’t have to move out by eighteen. you don’t have to finish college at 22. We don’t have to do what other people think we should be doing in order to live a fulfilling and happy life.

I can be happy. I can choose to think about the positives in my life and be thankful for them. I can appreciate my situation. My dad isn’t making me move out. I don’t have to make car payments. I have a degree that I earned in 3.5 years. I have a crappy blog that I enjoy writing for. I have wonderful people and cats in my life. I am very privileged.

I am very thankful for the opportunities in my life.

And if you had the ability to go to college, whether through scholarship, working hard, or from your parents, then you understand the wonderful privilege that it was. This experience hopefully made you into a better person, made you think of life in different ways. It will always be considered one of the best three years of my life, even though I had some necessary rough patches during that time.

So what now?

You might be thinking about the next steps. Whatever you might be thinking, make sure these goals are for you. Don’t think about what people say you “should” be doing now. Find a job, find a home, start a family are the standard expectations. Don’t be bogged down by the overwhelming pressure of how other people think life should be lived. Living the right way is an individualistic experience.

Do your best, and get out there. Be thankful for what you have, and strive forward, in whatever direction makes you the happiest.


**Picture was taken by Emily Klingman, a good friend and fellow blogger. You can check out her blog, Storyteller’s Garden if you are interested in stories**

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