College graduates today are under so much pressure. Society stressed the importance of landing that perfect job right out of school and kickstarting their career. After four (or more) years of hard work, they're expected to have the rest of their lives planned out. But I'm here to say that all of that is a complete load of crap. If you don't land that perfect job right after graduating, everything will be fine. Trust me, I know firsthand.
Things were different when I graduated in the early 2000s. I remember only one of my friends having her career plans laid out. She nailed her dream job and got to work just weeks after we walked across the stage to get our diplomas. Everyone else? We were still pretty clueless. We planned on having a transition period, and back then, that was quite alright. In fact, it was expected.
The fact that I didn't have my path laid out in permanent marker was just fine. I did things my way because there is no right way.
A lot of us headed home after graduation to figure out our next steps. Some moved back in with their parents for a bit while others tried to room with friends to save on the cost of apartments. Some ended up finding a job in the desired field while others waited tables until they found something better. And then there were others, like me, who took even longer to figure it all out.
After I moved back home with my parents for the Summer, I was like a fish out of water. I majored in history and English, and I really had no idea what in the hell I wanted to do with that. I started dreaming of teaching and mentoring teenagers and sharing my passion for literature and history with them, so I enrolled in school . . . again.
To put myself through school, I waited tables at a local restaurant. And two years after graduating with my undergraduate degree, I earned my teaching certificate and landed a full-time teaching job. Then I went on to earn two graduate degrees (what can I say? I'm a teacher, we love school) and also started freelancing. It was not at all what I thought my path would look like — it was better.
Graduates today, despite the pressure, should take their time. Ignore all of the outside noise. Transitioning from college to the real world is a lot tougher than people like to acknowledge. Responsibilities, bills, growing relationships, and more require a lot of maturing, and you shouldn't have to have everything figured out right away. Cut yourself some slack.
The fact that I didn't have my path laid out in permanent marker was just fine. I did things my way because there is no right way. Your road map can have many different twists, turns, detours, and obstacles, but if you have passion and drive, things will work out. You'll get there at your own pace.