You're finally done with school, and will never again have homework. You're graduating from college, and the world is yours to conquer. But as relieved as you are, you're also scared as hell. What's it like out there in the real world? Will you become as successful as you hope to be? Will you even be able to afford a decent meal on your nothing budget? You've been itching to reach this freedom for years now, and you've finally gotten it. Are you ready for it?
There are lots of reasons to be intimidated by adulthood. You'll have to make every major decision on your own now. You won't have the guidance of a teacher or a parent making the final call. You might be able to ask for their advice, but ultimately, you need to do what's best for you. These worrisome thoughts will flood in after the graduation party hangover begins to fade. They might even be delayed until you're nearing the end of summer, because the warm sun and fun beach trips were there to distract you. But no matter what level of terror you're experiencing about the grownup life ahead, you're not alone. Every grad will have these same thoughts and concerns. Here are all the things you'll panic about after graduation.
1. The Real World
You've read about it. You've heard about it. And you've seen the MTV version of it. But now, you're about to actually enter it, and you're freaked the eff out that it's truly a dark and scary place. Are people really shady backstabbers just trying to get ahead at work? Will your first apartment be a rodent-infested indoor dumpster? Will your internship ever turn into a paying job? EEK.
2. Paying Bills
Until now, you've had help. Whether it was financial aid covering your living and schooling expenses, or if your parents were taking care of your gas, food, and phone bill — you probably don't have an accurate view into just how much adults living on their own have to spend in order to survive. Well... you're about to.
3. Moving Somewhere New
Moving to a new place where you have no friends, and no support system can be frightening. How long will it take to make just one friend? Will you be sitting at home alone every weekend? But here's the thing: humans are programmed to adapt. You will get comfortable in a new place. You will meet people. You will make a friend. It just might take some time.
4. Starting A New Job
If you landed a job you're interested in right out of school, well done! A lot of recent grads are not so lucky. Making a name for yourself in the professional world might seem foreign to you, but as long as you stay positive, flexible, and show up on time, you'll do just fine.
5. Losing Touch With Friends
This is a legitimate concern, because you will all go off and begin your lives in different places. But just like any relationship you want to succeed, it takes work. You need to put in an extra effort to stay in touch with your school friends. You need to call them, text them, and try to see them as often as you can. If you don't put in the work, these people will fade from your life.
6. Whether Your New Relationship Will Make It
If you recently started up a new romance, then graduation will raise lots of serious questions. Are you both ready to deal with long distance? Are you moving to a new city together? Are you ready to be exclusive during such a transitional life stage? If you both want it to work, and you do what it takes to make it work, it will.
7. Becoming Successful
Good news: this thought never goes away, no matter how old or how successful you get. Until you are sitting on a throne made of cash and are brought endless plates of cheese on an island you named after yourself, you will wonder if you've ever truly made it. So rest easy knowing that 30 and 40-year-olds are worrying about this very thing too.
8. Student Loans
You'll be paying these off until your kids begin college. Just make peace with it now.
9. Paying For Food
No matter how crappy the pay is at your part-time or entry-level job, you will be able to afford ramen, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and artificially-flavored fruit juice. So you won't go hungry, but overall health may take a bit of a dive.
10. If Your Diploma Will Do Any Good
Does your major even matter out there in the real world? For some jobs and some companies, yes it does matter. But for the most part, companies don't care about your major as much as they care if you finished college. Completing a four-year degree shows commitment and the amount of basic intelligence needed to excel within the role you are given. It's like learning algebra. You'll never have to solve for x again, but it's a level of problem solving that shows you know how to think.
11. Health Insurance
Unfortunately, you might go a period of time without any coverage. If you work multiple part-time jobs, or if you have an unpaid internship, your job might not offer health insurance. Luckily, college grads can stay on their parents' plans for a few years after graduation, so that's something. And eventually, you'll have a job with good coverage, so you have that to look forward to.