graduation

Oh, the places you'll *literally* go!

photo: Flickr/agnesscottcollege

Good news, friends: There IS life after college. And that life is good.

Don't get me wrong; a lot will change. Your friends, your hobbies... maybe even your career path of choice. But trust me, it will all get sorted. In the meantime, just try to enjoy the journey.

Here are nine ways you change when you graduate.

1

You realize that you weren't as prepared as you thought

Some of the things that you're expected to do after college — file your tax return, nail a job interview, navigate health insurance claims — are (surprise!) actually not taught at most colleges. But once you're dropped in the deep end without water wings, you quickly learn to adapt.

2

You develop an actual bedtime

You're working, presumably, 40+ hours a week, most likely starting around 9 a.m. Which means staying out and partying any day of the week probably won't work for you anymore. In a way, your college diploma has also become your alarm clock.

3

You become friends with your parents

Parents: They're good for more than just spending money, folks! And hopefully once you're good and gainfully employed post-college, you'll be hitting them up for ~*friendship*~ instead of finances. You're an adult now. They're adults, too. Looks like you've got more in common than you thought!

4

You may not recognize yourself after a while

College You isn't the same as Graduate You, and looking back you may not even recognize the person that you were in college. But that's OK — I'm here from the future to tell you that Graduate You is just a more mature, cultured, street-smart version of College You, and she's awesome.

5

You become WAY better at the whole money thing

Retirement accounts? Tax returns? Budgeting!? Foreign concepts when you're busy focusing on, you know, passing your classes. Don't worry, it's much easier to grasp concepts like these when you're not, you know, busy focusing on passing your classes.

6

You have a harder time making friends

The bad news about friendship after college? You don't live within walking distance of everyone you like hanging out with anymore. You may not even live in the same city. The good news: You can still keep in touch. And while it's harder to make new friends without the aid of shared classes and extracurriculars, it's not impossible.

7

And a harder time dating

Anywhere outside of college, meeting romantic prospects can be really tough, especially without using dating apps. In college you've got fraternities and clubs and campus parties; in the real world, you've got bars... I guess... but how often do you really talk to strangers you don't know in the real world? Goodbye mixers; hello, Tinder :/

8

You really appreciate your down time

When you're not in college, you don't have homework (!!!). Once you leave the office, that's it; there aren't any tests to study for, essays to write, presentations to prep. Once you leave the office, your time is yours.

9

You ACTUALLY find out who you are

People say college is the time where you discover yourself and find the real you. Not even close; in college you THINK you've discovered yourself, but the real discovery doesn't happen until you graduate. But hey, that's just one of the things that make your twenties such an exciting time. You got this.