6 months ago I walked across the stage at Madison Square Garden, accepted my college diploma, and took a selfie. 6 months ago I said farewell to a place I had called home for the past four years. 6 months gone, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss the long nights turned into mornings spent with people I’ll never forget. Post-grads of the present warned us how much we’d miss college, how the real world was terrifying, boring, and all you would want to do was go back. Well future post-grad class of 2015, I am here to tell you how these last 6 months have been some of the best of my life. Here’s how to have similar success.
1. Be Fearless
College is comfortable. You know you will have to be there for four years and you have somewhat of an idea as to why you want to be there. Come second semester, it all seems to start crashing down. You’ll have nights where you’ll wish you were a freshman again and had to use your fake to get into your favorite bar or could binge watch Lost for 3 days straight because you had nothing better to do. Embrace the change and do not fear it. Five years from now, do you still want to be where you are today? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, it’s up to you to take those risks and follow your arrow.
2. Love Yourself
Hollywood and Nicholas Sparks set you up to believe that you’ll find love in college. You see college as this mating ground where you know you’re bound to find the one because there are so many different types of people and you believe that one of them must be for you.
The second you stop going out every night with this intuition and start going out for you is the moment when you start to love yourself. Look at your life right now, think of all the people who love you already and make your day brighter with a simple smile or goofy snap chat. Use the love you want so desperately to give to someone else and give it to the people who are already there. And to people who say, “Someday you’ll find someone”, ignore them. What if your life is complete on its own? What if right now in life you don’t need to find that someone because you already have someone; yourself?
3. You WILL Have Fun
The one fear that post-grads of the past warned us new post-grads about was the lack of fun we were going to have. Don’t listen to them. I’ve been having more fun than I have ever had because, who says you can’t? Pick one day a week where you and your friends all get together, drink boxed wine, and catch up on life while agreeing to disagree about downloading Tinder again. You’ll laugh harder than you ever have before because you’ll be surrounded by people who want to always be a part of your life.
Also, you’re in your early 20s. Go out to the college bars in the town next door and show them that locals have the most fun. You should always be having more fun then the people who try to tear you down.
4. Never Have the Best Day Ever
Even if you don’t know how you’ll have a better day than the one when you danced with Taylor Swift to “Shake It Off”, you will. You can look back on your life and say, “that was one of the best days ever”, but never limit yourself to one best day. Live every tomorrow to be better than today. The sun sets every day but no two sunsets are ever the same, each one is unique and breathtaking.
This is how life should be lived. No two days should ever be the same but each one should be unique and breathtaking. Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.
5. Take One Step Forward Every Day
Close your eyes and imagine where you want to be in a year. What do you see? Who are you with? Where are you living? What job do you have? Write it down on a piece of paper and look at it every day. A year ago my professor had me do this exercise and I wrote: “1) Get a full time job. 2) Get my own place. 3) Be Happy” In a year, I have accomplished all three dreams I set out for myself. I have a full time job, I have my own place with two of my best friends, and I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. The same professor told me that you should be doing something every day to achieve that dream. Whatever this means for you, do it. You’re the captain of the ship and life is your sea. Set your course, go at your own speed, but make sure you are always moving forward. The waters may get rough at times, but you have to have bad days to appreciate the good ones.
6. 1989 is your Bible
If you know me, you’ll know I could write a book on Taylor Swift (I actually wrote my senior thesis on her). Her album 1989 is the perfect Post Grad handbook. For the first time, Swift wrote about realistic every day love. She wrote about that person who you know you’ll go running back to no matter what time of night they text you.
The summer love you knew wouldn’t last but you wanted it anyway. The 2am anthem that you want to scream while you’re crying in the bathroom with your best friends because you just watched the person you’d been hooking up with leave with someone else.
She wrote about these events because any 20-something year old will tell you how real these feelings and emotions are. It’s as if every song is a chapter from your college days with the final song “Clean” being that moment when you look back on it all, and let it go. Stop texting that person back, because you know it’s not going anywhere.
Stop looking at their Facebook page, because you can’t go back in time.
Every time you look back, you also take a step back. You know how the chapter is going to end because you’ve read the same one ten times. It’s time to start a new chapter, and post grad life could not be a better time to start.
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