Who needs advice on how to handle post-graduate life?
Or just life in general? I know I do.
Since graduating, my life has consisted of a series of drastic changes. Some of which, I elected to take on myself, some were thrust upon me, and others knocked me off my feet entirely. But here I am, still living. I decided I wanted to ask people a question regarding advice they might give to their younger selves. I came up with two options–one based around what advice they would give to themselves after graduating college, and one regarding advice they’d give to their younger self in general. Even now, as I ask people and compile quotes, the nature of my blog post changes slightly, and I can’t help but smile to myself because that embodies the exact nature of this post–change.
One of two questions will be sent to a variety of people. Hopefully someone reading this will find wisdom and solace in the words my friends and family provide (or even just smile at some of the goofier things said.)
Fair warning though, I ended up with more quotes than I intended, so you’re in for a world of advice. It’s a good read though, so I strongly urge you to read it all.
If you could go back in time to when you had just graduated college and give yourself advice, what would you say?
“Enjoy life and know that what’s meant to be, will happen.” -Mariela, 22
“Live hard and travel.” -Robin, 26
“Don’t be afraid to do things on your own–get out and explore what life can be.” -Ashlee, 22
“There’s nothing wrong with not having a dream job. If at the end of the day you’re happy and your bills are paid, then what you do isn’t as important.” -Scott, 25
“Cheap beer is never the answer.” -Jake, 25
“I’d probably tell myself to pay more attention to other people. Be genuinely interested in what’s going on in their life and how they’re doing so I could help them or just know what to say to them when they needed it.” –Evan, 25
“Don’t be so defensive and fix your victim complex, the world is not out to get you. It’s your life, so live it your way to the best of YOUR ability. Play a song that’s in your heart, keep dreaming, but most importantly live long and prosper.” -Nicholas, 27 (Some content omitted for length purposes.)
“I would tell myself to be true to myself and not let a failed relationship alter my course. My first boyfriend dumped me when I was 22 and I had a hard time getting over it. Looking back, that breakup was a good thing because I wasn’t ready to be attached.” -Theresa, 55
“Not to take the first job thrown at you.” -Ryan, 24
“I would probably tell myself to be more patient about making job decisions and to put myself out there more. Don’t settle.” -Lauren, 23
“Chill the eff out. Enjoy your time, and nothing lasts forever. It will probably be a few years before you figure out what you’ll end up doing. Career wise. You will most likely stumble across it by accident. But even if you found it today, you wouldn’t be ready for it. So…enjoy the ride. That applies to in work and outside.” -Evan, 38
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would you say?
“There’s no hurry. Enjoy the journey. And, stay in school! Know yourself before you become a couple…” -Janet, 51
“Not to bet money yesterday.” -Eric (currently visiting Las Vegas), 21
“Be confident in everything you do and in every decision you make.” -Wilson, 21
“Your life is short and precious. It is not to be cluttered with frivolous bullshit. Focus on things that TRULY bring you joy. Wasted time holds the heaviest guilt. If you can’t get into that book, put it down and start a new one. If an acquaintance leaves you feeling drained and ugly, limit your contact. If a hobby starts to feel like a chore, don’t do it anymore. If you don’t feel like going out, stay your ass at home. If your job treats you like a bad boyfriend, DUMP IT.
However, as particular as you must be with your time, make sure that every single person you encounter can say that they’ve experienced pure, unconditional love and acceptance. If you love without expectation, you will never be hurt or disappointed.
Live wholly and apologetically as yourself. You do you, boo boo! Don’t listen to society. Do not for a second conform. Your mind is beautiful and different so embrace it.
Above all else baby girl, focus on your value, not your success.” -Lisa, 25 (Some content omitted for length purposes.)
“Work hard and find goals to work towards. Stay motivated.” -Kurtis, 21
“Don’t care so much, and those boys are seriously not worth your time, FYI.” -Krysten, 23
“Never settle. Be more confident in yourself. NEVER ignore red flags. Trust your gut. Travel more. Save money, you never know what surprises life will throw you. Realize sooner that you are a badass woman and can handle anything life hands you!” -Ally, 30
“Never let others belittle you.” -Molly, 16
“I wish I wasn’t afraid to make my own decisions on things. I let my husband make decisions whether I agreed or not. This was hard to admit, but it was a mistake on my part.” -Ellie, 78
“Don’t be insecure, everybody has doubts.
Enjoy even the poor times of your life. Those are great memories you will enjoy remembering.
Participate in every 401k plan you can.
Don’t ring up debt. Money is more fun if you spend it as you earn it instead of before you earn it.” -Sharon, 52
“Go to bed earlier.” -August, 57
“Don’t look at others and think they have the perfect life. Everyone faces their own challenges. They only show the good things to the rest of the world (on social media). People don’t always share their struggles. (Aka, the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.) -Trisha, 47
“Don’t be scared to do new things. I get anxious of the unknown and wish I enjoyed myself more.” -Chase, 28
“Spend more time appreciating what you have instead of wishing you had more. And look for your purpose in your current situation instead of a way out of it. It’s usually easier going through it than it is getting out of it.” -Mike, 43.
“1. Don’t pay so much attention to what other people are doing and focus on yourself.
2. Don’t miss out on experiences that could be fun because you’re scared.
3. On that note, learn how to say no.
4. Take time to figure out what you love.
5. Learn to take care of yourself.
6. That boy? The one that doesn’t call back and only texts you late at night? He’s not worth any of it. Know your own worth well enough to say no.
7. Talk to your family.
8. You’ll meet some of the best people in the world during this time: wonderful amazing loving people that will become your best friends.
9. On that note, you’ll meet some pretty awful people too. Keep your head up, and if someone is toxic, cut them out.
10. Relationships are hard. Sometimes things don’t work out for whatever reason and you’re stuck picking up the pieces alone. Remember that healing isn’t a linear process and these things take time. Don’t harden your heart just because you feel sad.
You’re only 22, you don’t have to have it all figured out now.” -Tessa, 22 (Some content omitted for length purposes.)
“Watch the people you keep around because they’re the ones you’re giving the ability to do you wrong.” -August, 19
“Follow your dreams and don’t worry about making other people happy. Do your own thing.” -Erika, 23
Initially, I was going to omit the advice I would give to myself, but a friend suggested I include it. So, here we go.
What would I say if I could go back and tell my younger self something? Where do I even begin?
“Life is shitty sometimes, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Instead of dwelling on everything that’s going wrong, focus instead on the blessings in your life. Find things that bring you joy, no matter how small they might be, and DO those things. Do them always. In this long and complicated life we live, there are few things that matter more than the simple pleasures.
Find people that you love and who love you back and never let them go. Ever. Having people in your life who truly care about you is such an amazing feeling and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. When they need you, be there for them and they will be there for you in return when you need them. If you ever fall down and become broken, these people will be your crutch until you learn to walk on your own again.
Maintain the realization that people who mean a lot to you are worth you swallowing your pride sometimes. Think to yourself: Is this little argument worth this friendship? Usually the answer is no. Apologize even if you’re not wrong–the relief that accompanies the end of a conflict is well worth it. Recognize that most people are worth more than your need to be right, but also be mindful of the ones that aren’t.
Work your ass off. No one gets anywhere without true effort on their part. If you want to achieve your dreams of living in big cities and traveling the world, you’re going to have to put in 110%. But, it’ll all be worth it when you look back and see how far you’ve come. Make your parents proud. Make your friends proud. Most importantly though, make yourself proud of who you’ve become.
And lastly, love yourself, damnit. Always take care of you.” -Anna, 22
xx – A