There’s nothing worse than trying to be a “real adult” in your 20s. I won’t even sugarcoat it. Finishing college is sad. I always reminisce and wish that I was back in college. The college years are the simplest times in our lives. There’s no better feeling than hanging out with your buddies without any worries on your mind.
The first five years after college will challenge you and shape the rest of your life. They might also leave you feeling depressed and confused.
I’ve published some amazing articles on life after college. I love the ideas in these articles and I’m always motivated to tackle more challenges. I absolutely love life in my 20s. However, there’s just something special about being a college student. With the summer coming to a close soon, I know that many of you are not returning to school for the first time ever.
A quick story…
The other night I finally got away for an evening. I went up to a beach town a few hours away to have some drinks with friends (shh don’t tell my training buddies) and I was confused on how to answer a simple question.
“How old are you?”
It felt strange to respond with 27. I remember starting this blog at 20. I remember using a fake ID to get into bars. I remember complaining about the prices of college textbooks.
Why do you feel depressed after you’re done college?
- Everybody asks you about your next plans.
- Every job you apply for requires that you have won four Olympic gold medals.
- You’re still working a crappy job.
- You’re not the CEO yet. What happened?
- You feel so much pressure.
- You can’t get wasted on a Tuesday night without feeling guilty.
- Nobody likes you when you’re 23.
- Information overload. What are you supposed to do?
- No more Spring Break.
- You need to make money.
- Your friends are all becoming boring.
- You’re friends are getting married and posting pics of their kids. Zzzzzz.
- You think about a sleep schedule.
- You plan your meals out the night before.
- Girls at the bar think you’re old.
- “He’s young and having fun” is no long an excuse.
- Your family asks you when you’re getting married.
How do you beat this depressing post-college?
“Now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.” –- Neil Gaiman
1. Accept it and move on from college.
Yes, you have to accept it. You’re done with college. Your time is up. It’s time for you to move on and that’s okay. The best is yet to come. You don’t know what’s going to happen next, but chances are that you’re going to:
- Meet new friends.
- Make money for the first time in your life.
- Be able to afford things you never could.
- Move on to the next chapter of your life.
It’s not all doom and gloom.
I just ask you to do one thing…
Please don’t hide behind school.
You have to move on. You don’t need any more education. You need real life experience.
If you can attend college for free (paid internship or getting paid to work on campus) for further education then go for it. However, most of us are done and it’s time to move on with our lives.
[You need to try the Studenomics MBA.]
2. Have realistic expectations.
Sorry to break it to you, but your dream job and your dream girl won’t be waiting for you when you walk off that stage. There won’t be anything waiting for you. Well, just your debt.
You must be realistic when you’re done with college. You can’t post motivational quotes all day on social media. You have to get off your couch and work.
You should expect the following (in no particular order):
- Failed relationships.
- Job interviews that go nowhere.
- Dead-end jobs.
- Best friends turning into strangers.
- Promised promotions not being delivered.
Guess what? It’s okay. You’re not the only one going through this EXACT same process.
3. Find hobbies that will keep you busy.
“Lacking an external focus, the mind turns inward on itself and creates problems to solve, even if the problems are undefined or unimportant. If you find a focus, an ambitious goal that seems impossible and forces you to grow, these doubts disappear.” — Tim Ferriss
I’ve become horrible at planning trips. I have so many hobbies that I’m always thinking about what to do next. I hate going away for more than a week now because that means I have to miss a few pro wrestling/BJJ classes. I hate being away from the gym for more than a few days. I always have my eye on the prize.
If you don’t find any hobbies to keep yourself busy, you’re going to stuck in a vicious cycle. I don’t want you to just live for the weekends. There’s more to life than waiting for Friday night to come around so that you can get totally hammered and forget everything.
Whatever you do, I don’t want you to become another depressing statistic. Keep busy with things that you love. Don’t let time slip you by. The last thing you want is to turn 50 and wonder where the time went. You won’t have time to feel sad when you’re pursuing goals.
4. Always chase wild ideas.
“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” — Benjamin Franklin
Never stop being wild. Never become boring. The moment that you become boring is the moment that you should just accept mediocrity. Chances are that you’re not ready to throw the towel in yet since you’re still reading this.
Let them judge you. Who cares? Nobody is as polarizing as me and I love it.
You can always plan that epic trip. You can always pursue your goals. You can do whatever you want. It’s your life. You don’t have to settle for the first person or first job that comes your way just because your parents tell you to. You have to live with your decisions for the rest of your life.
Never lose your wild side. Sure, you might have to hide your wild side at work, but never let it die totally.
5. Remember that you’re still not 30.
Hey, you’re still in your 20s and feeling good. Don’t joke around about getting old because you’re not old. Your friends who can’t handle their booze or get tired easily are just lame.
You likely will never have this much energy again in your life. Think about it, you can party all night, and then wake up for work the next day. You can run on little sleep. You can do whatever you want without thinking about the consequences.
Take advantage of this energy. Start a business. Go out often. Meet new friends. Apply for jobs that you’re not qualified for. Make friends with people who are way more successful than you. You’re in your 20s and the world is yours.
If you’re still confused, then check out my open letter to shockingly broke 20-somethings. As confused as you may feel right now, I promise you that something amazing is right around the corner. Things change really fast in yours 20. Your dream partner, perfect job, or amazing business idea, could all be a click away (literally).
You have to decide what you want to do. It doesn’t matter if you want to earn your mba degree online or travel the world. Make your move.
Life’s only going to get better. Once you get over the post-college blues, you’re going to discover that this is the best time in history to be alive.
“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.” — Oscar Wilde