15 New Year's Resolutions For Recent College Graduates Who Really Want To Succeed in 2015

So, you're a recent college graduate. Congratulations! And, um... now what? After spending basically your entire young adult life going to class, taking tests, doing homework, answering to teachers, and learning how to balance your social life with your schoolwork, adjusting to a whole new world where none of that is happening is much more difficult than you would think. You're suddenly left with a ton of free time, a feeling of a lack of purpose (if you don't already have a full-time job), disappointment over missing school, and a whole lot of confusion.

If you didn't graduate with a full-time job waiting for you, being thrust into the real world is really scary. You think you won't miss college, but without the structure school used to give you, you're left to figure everything out on your own, which can be very daunting. And let's not even get into everyone's expectations of what you're going to do with your life, or the fact that you either had to move back in with your parents or go to a new city on your own. Being a recent graduate is tough!

That being said, there's no reason you can't make 2015 your year to shine — even if that doesn't include finding your ultimate dream job. It's easy to fall into a pattern of laziness once you're free of classwork obligations, but it's also important to continue to be as productive as possible so you can get where you want to go. Here are 15 new year's resolutions every recent college grad should make in order to succeed.

1. Take Some Time To Relax

You just finished 18+ years of school. Pat yourself on the back and buy yourself your favorite glass of expensive wine, because you deserve it. Yes, the endless job search is necessary, but so is your peace of mind. Give yourself some time to relax and feel less stressed, and take advantage of this in-between time to do what you want. For example, once you have a full-time job, you won't have time to travel. If there's somewhere you really want to go, do it now. If you just want to spend a week in bed watching Netflix, go for it. Whatever calms you down, do it.

2. But Do More Than Just Sit Around In Your Pajamas

That being said, you don't want your downtime to become an endless cycle of doing nothing. When you don't have classes, a real job, or responsibilities to worry about, it's easy to fall into a pattern of staying out late drinking and sleeping all day. It's important to give yourself some structure. Make your own schedule for each day that involves doing productive things, whether it's going to the gym, doing chores around the house, having a part-time job, or searching the Internet for job openings.

3. Make Time For Job Searching Every Day

And that brings me to this: set aside time each day for job searching. Don't just go to the same three websites once a week. Do your research and look everywhere — literally everywhere. A job isn't going to just fall into your lap. You have to look for it.

4. Create An Amazing Resume

Work on making your resume stand out from everyone else's. I'm not even talking about what you write in your resume, I'm talking about how it looks. As an editor at a website, I can personally tell you that I am instantly more attracted to a colorful resume that looks professionally done than a simple black and white resume made on Microsoft Word. Pay for it if you have to, or get creative and do your own.

5. Make 2015 The Year Of Networking

It's hard to stress how important networking is when it comes to finding the perfect job for you. If you don't know anyone, you will probably get nowhere, no matter how qualified you are — that's the sad truth of the working world. Take advantage of any contact you may have, whether you think you're being annoying or not. Do research to find out about networking events, and go to them even if you feel lame and awkward. Be friendly to everyone, because you never know who is going to make a decision about your career one day.

6. Be Smarter With Your Money

You thought being a college student was bad in terms of money? Hah. Now you're a recent graduate, and not only are you dealing with little to no employment, you're also probably dealing with student loans. You need to make this the year you start saving and being smarter with how you spend your money, or you will drown in debt. Not to scare you or anything, but... it's true.

7. Don't Be So Down On Yourself

It's easy to get really bummed out when you graduate and don't get the job you want right away, especially if you were a stellar student. If you see friends getting hired, you might start to feel inadequate, miserable, and even a little depressed. Remember that it can take a lot of time to find a job, and it doesn't always mean you're doing something wrong. If you haven't found something a few months after graduation, you're not a failure! As long as you're trying, you shouldn't feel like a loser.

8. Make Real Goals

Know what you want and set your goals, then go about achieving them. Start small and get bigger as you go along. Checking off your successes will make you feel awesome.

9. Find An Internship

A lot of people scoff at the idea of an internship after graduation, because they think they're ready for full-time employment, but that's a really silly way to think. Internships are important and serve as an excellent way to network. If you're having trouble finding a full-time position, find an internship in your field — a paying one, preferably. It may not be great, but it IS an in. Plus, personal story: I found my current job through someone I interned for after college. So, it really does work out!

10. Get A Part-Time Job

If you don't already have a part-time job, get one. Now. It sounds like obvious advice, but a lot of recent graduates feel embarrassed to take a waitressing job once they're out of college. You shouldn't feel that way. It will help you make and save money, it will keep you busy, and it will make you feel more productive. What could be wrong with that?

11. Focus On A Hobby

Again, you need to keep yourself busy until you find a full-time job, or you're going to spiral into a pit of depression and laziness. Just saying. Focus on something you already love, or try something different. For example, if you're an aspiring writer or journalist, start a blog. Cliche? Sure. Does it help? Definitely.

12. Be Nicer To Your Parents

You are probably going to need their help with something now that you graduated. Be nice to them! This is especially important if you had to move back home. It's not their fault you have to, and it's nice of them to let you.

13. Be Open To Different Things Until You Find Your Dream Job

When you're looking for your first job, you can't really afford to be super picky. You don't have to do something if you can't stand the idea of it, but don't say no to everything that isn't your dream job either. Make 2015 the year you're more open to new possibilities.

14. Learn To Be Patient

Finding the right job takes a lot of time. It can even take years! If you haven't achieved everything you wanted to achieve by 25, it's fine. This year, learn how to be more patient when waiting for what you really want.

15. Let Go Of College

Of course you can still drink on weekdays and go to Thirsty Thursdays and Taco Tuesdays and Wine Down Wednesdays if you want. But at the same time, remember that you're a "real adult" now. You're not a college student anymore. As much as you miss it, let it go. It sucks, honestly, but it has to happen.

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