Six Months Later, Six Lessons Learned

In May I moved a tassel and was expected to be a ‘grown up’. I am not a grown up. I still eat string cheese so I can pull it apart, hope to be a Disney princess one day and use words like poopy in daily conversations.

Regardless of my obvious denial, I have done a lot of said growing up in the time since my last class. I accepted my first full time position, six hours away from home. I started my retirement fund, got my own insurance and started paying for most of my bills. Nick and I made the decision to bring another four-legged life into our family. Then, for the first time I had to help make the decision to say good bye.

Though I am still in daily turmoil over being an adult and believing that my stuffed animals come to life when I leave, I wanted to share some of the things that I have learned over the last six months.

1. Stop comparing yourself to others. You have heard this before but it took me until after school to realize it. While looking for a job, I saw friend, after peer, after acquaintance post about their new position. I thought to myself, ‘I am just as good as them, how did THEY get a job already?” Stop being mean and stop comparing. Worry about what you need to work on to succeed instead of feeling bad for yourself. It might take longer and it might be a different path than others but please spend your energy on bettering yourself instead of looking at only what others let you see and then in turn seeing absences in your life.

2. Turn it off. Put down the phone and don’t watch the next episode on Netflix. I stopped taking my phone on walks with my dog and it provides me time in the day to hear my thoughts and just be. I used to get anxiety without my device and admittedly, I think we all do at least a little bit but just trust me. It feels good not waiting, checking and worrying. No email is worth always being stressed all the time. Read before you go to bed. Write in a journal. Go on a walk. Jump out of a plane. Sit on your porch and drink a beer without taking a picture of it. Really experience something. Try something new if you can and I promise you will learn about yourself and enjoy it.

3. Relationships are hard. I am no expert in this field. I have realized that I let many good friendships go over stupid things, but I have learned that you need to make time for people who care about you. Whether it’s friendships, partners or family, fights happen. Apologize. Send random texts, write holiday cards or post stupid pictures on their Facebook wall. Sometimes I have to write it in my planner but it doesn’t matter how you remember, just do it. I try to call both my grandmas every weekend and Skype with my dad on Sundays, not just when I need something. Make time for new friends too. Moving far away has been hard on the social butterfly within me. Friends aren’t going to appear in your classroom anymore.

4. Mo’ money, mo’ management. This is a boring one but I am to the point in my life that I don’t actually want my parents paying for everything and that requires a plan. (I mean presents and trips to the grocery store when they are visiting are still totally exceptable) I have my bank app, an excel sheet and I set budgets, plans and goals. Maybe it was moving into a one bedroom apartment or maybe it was growing up but I realized I have a lot of stuff and that is not what makes me happy. I still have to think to myself, do I need this and if the answer is no, do I really WANT this. Eating out is my biggest struggle now, you will always have a weakness. That is why you must manage.

5. Learning is your now responsibility. After the tests, studying, reading and papers no will tell you that it is time again to pick up a book. You could go years without listening to another lecture but you shouldn’t. Even if it’s attending a play, visiting a museum or watching YouTube videos for beginning knitters, continue learning. Keep pushing yourself to be a better person and to help those around you be better. Think seriously about a resolution and work towards improvement and knowledge. Just because you aren’t getting the grade doesn’t mean sitting through a seminar, training or just trail and error won’t help you. There is no excuse for being ignorant. You have time to learn whatever you want now, take that opportunity.

6. Dreams change. In college I wanted to be a bad ass business woman. After realizing that my volunteer work gave me more satisfaction than ad work, my dreams began to change. I became more interested in non-profits and using my skills from school to help animal organizations. Did I change? Not really. I still love advertising and all the other things listed below my name at the top of the page. Just my end goal and the path I need to get there. Our generation is told to follow their dreams and I too was engulfed in this mentality until I read this post entitled, Why You Can’t Always Do What You Love. Most adults today have given up on their deep down dreams. Most people my age will settle too. Your first, second and even third job won’t be the fire in your heart and that is not something to be ashamed of because maybe your dreams changed too. The difference between settling and changing is the fight for it. Have a plan for your future but remember there might be something, waiting, just around the river bend that could change what you really want out of your own fairytale.

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