When Monica Geller said, “Welcome to the real world, it sucks. You’re gonna love it”, she isn’t lying. That quote perfectly represents life after graduation, where we all become independent young adults. This is indeed the real world, the post-graduation season where realizations hit. Pressure is real!
That quote came from a famous ’90s sitcom, Friends. In the TV show, a group of six diverse friends resides in New York City and navigates through their daily lives. This immensely popular sitcom continues to captivate audiences worldwide, with reruns being broadcasted globally.
The specific quote referenced above originates from the show’s inaugural episode. In this episode, Rachel Green, portrayed by Jennifer Aniston, experiences pre-wedding jitters and seeks solace in her childhood best friend, Monica Geller, played by Courteney Cox. Rachel, who hails from a privileged background, struggles to curb her lavish spending habits despite lacking employment or financial means. However, with the support of her newfound friends, Rachel embarks on a transformative journey by symbolically severing ties with her past extravagant lifestyle, symbolized by the destruction of her credit cards. It is during this “pivotal” moment that Monica delivers the memorable quote.
Rachel starting from scratch is like new graduates starting to enter the “real world”. It’s the time when we finally start looking for a job, move out from our parent’s house and finally cooking our own meals. It is indeed really challenging.
Graduating from college is an exhilarating milestone. It marks the beginning of a new chapter filled with possibilities, independence, and self-discovery. However, this transition is not without its fair share of challenges. From navigating a competitive job market to managing finances and adapting to unfamiliar environments, the real world presents a unique set of obstacles that require resilience and adaptability. In this article, we will explore some common challenges individuals often face post-graduation and offer insights on how to overcome them.
Finding your edge
One of the most significant challenges fresh graduates encounter is the highly competitive job market. With limited work experience and a surge of candidates vying for the same positions, landing that first job can be daunting. It’s crucial to remain persistent, refine your resume, and leverage networking opportunities. Internships, volunteer work, and continuous skill development can also give you a competitive edge.
There are a lot of sites like Canva who offers free templates (that are professional yet classy) for your resume. Remember that this paper will predict whether you’re invited for an interview or not! This is the medium where you can showcase your edge so be mindful of the things you’re gonna put.
Aside from all these technical things, confidence is also the key. Try building up yourself while keeping your feet on the ground. There is a saying that goes: fake it ’til you make it! This mantra can keep you motivated because it manifests good things!
Identify your goal
You can’t keep running without a destination! Create a well-defined plan that outlines your career goals and the steps required to achieve them. Identify your areas of interest and conduct thorough research about potential career paths. Leverage online resources, networking opportunities, and informational interviews to gain insights into different industries. A clear plan will provide you with direction and purpose, helping to alleviate some of the pressures associated with uncertainty.
You can also plan out on what you want to accomplish first, whether investing or acquiring a new house, or starting a business. It is completely up to you but remember to keep it realistic. Avoid comparing yourself to others and focus on your own goals and aspirations. Set realistic expectations and break down your larger objectives into smaller, achievable milestones. Celebrate each accomplishment along the way to maintain motivation and stay focused on your personal growth and progress.
Stop spending like a millionaire
Transitioning into the real world often comes with new-found financial responsibilities. Balancing monthly allowance, rent, utilities, and other expenses can be overwhelming. Creating a realistic budget, tracking expenses, and exploring money-saving strategies are essential. Seeking financial guidance from experts or mentors can provide valuable insights on managing debt and establishing a solid financial foundation.
One hack I could share is whenever I am going to spend on something expensive, I try to calculate if the amount of that is double or triple my savings. If yes, then I can afford it. If not, then I think it is not yet the time to buy it. That helped me saved a lot, especially when I finally started earning my own money. Every penny counts, folks! Make sure to spend it responsibly.
Connect with others
Relocating to a new city or workplace can be a challenging adjustment. Establishing a support network is crucial during this transition. Joining professional organizations, attending networking events, or engaging with alumni associations can help you connect with like-minded individuals and make new friends. Additionally, exploring the local community and immersing yourself in new experiences can make the process of adapting to unfamiliar surroundings more enjoyable.
Of course, new place means new people. They have different qualities. The workplace is very diverse so you have to keep on trying to get along with everyone. Aside from it builds and maintain a healthy working environment, it also helps in making yourself grow and learn more. It’s an opportunity to open more opportunities, so do not waste it!
More importantly, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from professionals in your field or mentors who can provide valuable insights and advice. Reach out to alumni, professors, or industry experts who can offer guidance on job searches, career development, or industry trends. It can be your favorite professor who likes to be funny, straightforward and honest but teaches you a lot of things! Their wisdom and experiences can help you navigate challenges more effectively and provide clarity during uncertain times.
You may also want to surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, mentors, and peers who can provide guidance, encouragement, and valuable insights. Join professional organizations or alumni networks related to your field of interest to connect with like-minded individuals. Engage in networking events and seek mentorship opportunities to learn from experienced professionals who can offer guidance and support during this transition.
Establish your professional identity
Finding your place in the professional world can be both exciting and overwhelming. Developing a clear career path and setting goals can provide direction and motivation. Continuous learning and professional development through workshops, online courses, or mentorship programs can help you refine your skills and broaden your expertise. Seeking guidance from industry professionals and mentors can also offer valuable insights and open doors to new opportunities.
Work now, party later!
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for overall well-being and long-term success. The real world often comes with demanding work schedules and responsibilities that can tip the scales towards burnout. Prioritizing self-care, setting boundaries, and finding activities that bring joy and relaxation are vital. Cultivating hobbies, staying physically active, and nurturing personal relationships outside of work can contribute to a fulfilling and balanced life.
You can go bar or cafe hopping with your friends during weekends or just enjoy the comfort of nature by visiting farms and going on a refreshing mountain hike. Discover new hobbies if you prefer staying at home like doing resin arts, paint by numbers, and crocheting! There are a lot of ways to overcome stress. Work hard but also enjoy hard!
All of these coins to one word: self-care. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial during the post-graduation phase. Establish a self-care routine that includes regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and healthy eating habits. Engage in activities that help you relax and recharge, such as meditation, reading, or spending time in nature. Prioritize self-care to manage stress and maintain a positive mindset.
Challenges happen, you gotta learn how to ride!
Embracing uncertainty is a fundamental aspect of life after graduation. Plans may change, career paths may evolve, and unexpected opportunities may arise. It’s important to be adaptable, open-minded, and willing to explore new avenues. Embracing change as an opportunity for growth and personal development can lead to exciting and unforeseen paths.
Entering the real world post-graduation is an exciting, albeit challenging, phase in life. While the challenges may seem overwhelming, remember that they are stepping stones to personal and professional growth. By embracing resilience, adaptability, and a proactive mindset, you can overcome these obstacles and navigate the real world with confidence. Remember, every challenge presents an opportunity for growth and learning. Embrace the journey and seize the possibilities that await you in this next chapter of your life.
The post-graduation phase can be filled with pressure, but with the right mindset and strategies, it can also be a time of growth and opportunity. Just like what Monica Geller said, real world sucks! But you are going to love it because you will learn along the way and will enjoy the fruits of your hardwork. Good luck!
Read more from Kristine Real here!