To all of the recent college graduates,
When I graduated from college, my brother Matt asked some men in my life to write me a letter. He then compiled all of those letters in a folder and gave it to me when I graduated. I still have that folder to this day, and the kindness and wisdom held within those letters still amaze me. I was so grateful to receive those letters then, and I’m even more grateful now as I return to the letters and see the words become more applicable with time.
So in light of those letters, I wanted to share some words with those of you who graduated from college recently. I hope that they may be of some help as you make this transition into a new stage of life.
Though college has ended and you must be relieved to finally be done with classes and exams,. I first must deeply encourage you to never stop learning. I experienced a period of being stagnant after college, and very quickly found myself unhappy with my lifestyle, body, and friendships. As I have mentioned on here before, in order to grow one must continue to learn new things and improve on the old. The joy of this new season is that you get to choose what you learn. So try new things. Take on new hobbies, create, read, write, and always be learning.
For the first time, I really struggled with exercise after college. Especially because I was adapting to working in an office for most of the day. Gone were the days of walking from class to class and activities that provided enough movement automatically as a part of my day. I remember I would get home from work and force myself to go for a 15-minute jog so that I wouldn’t keep gaining weight. But of course that didn’t work well and I was not enjoying it at all. Then I got into a routine of exercise through CrossFit and it changed so many things for me, and I loved it. As you adapt to new responsibilities and schedules, I urge you to, get into a habit of exercising regularly, and invest the time in finding an exercise activity that you enjoy.
During this new life transition, your friendships will probably change, especially if you’re moving to another city or state. Some friends will stick around and some will drift away, that’s okay. Your circle will get smaller. Introvert or extravert, it is easy and common to feel uncomfortable by your social circle changing. I love people and got a lot of joy from knowing people wherever I went or always having a person available to hang out. My advice is to hold on strongly to the friends who are the most important to you, especially those who also hold you to be important. Be intentional with them--FaceTime or visit often. You will get new friends in this adult world, but you want to hold on to the friends who knew you when you were young and contributed to the person you are today and are becoming for tomorrow.
If you are working a full-time job, free time will become one of the most valuable currencies in your life. Use your free time well by doing the things you love. It will be tempting to “veg out” sitting on your couch looking at your phone, but that’s something you will have to guard against. Leveraging my free time to be a source of joy has been one of the most valuable things I have learned to do in the real world.
Do something regularly that makes you feel alive. Shake up your routine every now and then. Get out of your normal rhythm. It’s so easy to get comfortable in a routine, but we need change to keep from growing stagnant. I am still learning to be better at this.
Let’s talk about work and jobs. With so much of your time being spent on your work and at your work, learning to thrive in your workplace is of the utmost importance. I don’t mean being good at your job, I have no doubt that you will be good at your job. What I mean is that you will have to learn to enjoy life in a whole new way, a whole new environment. Make sure you are always being challenged at work, even if it is you creating the challenge. Be intentional with your coworkers, and I encourage you to show them love, regardless of how they treat you. You will spend so much time at this place, love it and give it all you have while you’re there.
Don’t coast. Live your life and your days with intention and purpose. You will be tempted to give the minimal effort it takes to get through each day. This will not produce the life you want, and your days are more valuable than that. When you’re at work, give it your all and work hard. You’re at work whether you work hard or not, so you might as well use your time well and be as effective as possible. At home, use your time to do the things that fill your heart back up, with people who care for you.
Don’t stress about having everything figured out, as you certainly won’t. Be patient with yourself, your dreams, and the world. You have so much time and you are so young. Work hard and enjoy this time, it’s super exciting.
Use your gifts and give them to the world. Your life is not about your quest to achieve a comfortable level of living and growing stagnant from there. You can make your life about that if you want, but the world needs more from you. Please share your passions, your talents, and your wisdom with us. You have something amazing inside of you, and the world will be much better off if you share it every day, and as often as you can.
Good luck on this journey ahead. There is so much for you to learn and explore. Don’t be afraid to fail. Life is constantly evolving and you will be too.
You’re going to be great at this.
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