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Advice for New College Grads I Wish I Knew Sooner

Whether you’re a fresh graduate or graduating soon, you might be feeling anxious about what lies ahead. You may even think that college hasn’t prepared you for life’s challenges. If you feel this way, you are not alone.

Tons of people experience anxiety and stress over things like finding or following their passion, looking for work and establishing their careers or starting their businesses. Even successful people might have felt (or could still be feeling) this anxious uncertainty.

If you’re feeling lost or confused about what to do next, the advice below might be able to help you find some direction.

Follow Your Instincts.

It might not feel like it right away, but you probably already have some idea of the next best steps for you to take. Even if you aren’t entirely sure of yourself, that idea can help you find your direction, so trust your instincts.

If you would like some confirmation or validation, you can always seek advice. Speak with a peer going through the same thing to get an idea of how you can proceed. If you want some actionable advice from someone who’s already been through it, speak to your mentors.

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Don’t Ask For Permission to Chase Your Goals.

Chase after your goals and dreams like it’s nobody’s business — because it isn’t. Your dreams and goals are yours and yours alone. Chase them with as much passion as you can muster, but don’t let your heart overrule your mind. The impulse might be nice to add some spontaneity into the mix, but taking time to think about your next steps might benefit you best.

Don’t Take Everything So Seriously.

Mental flexibility can help you pause, reevaluate, reprioritize, and adjust. It can be highly beneficial to your daily life and value to your growth as a person.

Mistakes and bad decisions are just that — mistakes. Don’t let them hold you back from being yourself and working toward your goals. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Let loose! Live life a day at a time, but with a general outlook of the future. And most of all, enjoy the ride.

Shiny Things Fade.

Learn to differentiate between quick dopamine hits that can fade just as quickly and strong, long-lasting connections and achievements that can stay with you for a lifetime. Consider whether chasing temporary highs like shopping sprees will benefit you in the long run.

Don’t chase a lifestyle beyond your means. Chances are, even if you went to one of the online colleges that accept FAFSA and saved a lot on expenses and tuition, you probably still ended up with some student debt. It may be a good idea to work towards paying it off as soon as possible so you can continue your life debt-free.

Never Stop Learning.

When you start a new job, you might approach it with a mind ready to learn. However, once you start getting comfortable, complacency might set in. Complacency can eventually lead to you becoming stagnant in your career. It may cause you to make less-than-ideal business decisions that might prevent your business from reaching its potential.

Keep learning — there are many ways to do so. Consider online courses, reading up on news and new developments, or even going for your MBA.

Don’t be afraid to look for and accept opportunities where you can continue to learn. Opportunities like an internship, an apprenticeship, a new job, or a promotion can help you learn more.

Give Yourself Time.

Graduating is exciting. After all, you can finally start your new life! It may feel as though you can achieve anything and everything — and you can. But give yourself time.

Achieving your goals isn’t instant, especially if they’re big ones. Give yourself a realistic timeline so that you can avoid the stress, frustration, anxiety, and self-resentment you might feel if you “fail” by not achieving something fast enough.

Avoid comparing your progress with others, as this can also exacerbate feelings of anxiety and frustration.

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable.

This phrase may be familiar at this point, but it still rings true — get comfortable with stepping outside of your comfort zone. Stepping out of the realm you know is how you can grow, often at a rapid pace. It may suck at first, but once you get used to it, you might find it can help you grow stronger. Not only can it help you grow in your career — but it might also help you grow as a person.

Wrapping Up

Graduating is a big deal. You can finally start chasing your dream career or start your dream business. If you’re expecting to be accepted into graduate school, use sites such as The Grad Cafe to monitor your progress.  The advice above might help you set yourself up for success the best way you can — after all, a large part of achieving your dreams is having the right frame of mind!

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