Congratulations to those of you who graduated in December! I hope you are making the most of the sweet victory you just achieved. Although, I should probably warn you: while being homework-free is amazing, life is about to get more real than ever. No more student discounts, relying on the excuse “oh, I’m just a college student,” or making late night taco runs just for fun (OK, that might still be a thing).
Here are a few things I’ve been learning since I graduated in December 2015:
Throughout your college career and pre-professional training, you might’ve heard someone share the all-too-popular advice of “say yes to everything.” In fact, maybe you did (or do) ascribe to that lifestyle now. In my opinion, it’s not the wisest way to live — especially post-grad life.
Here’s why: If you keep saying yes to everything, you’re going to find it harder to flex your crucial muscle of discernment. Instead, you’ll find yourself automatically accepting job assignments and social invitations that are going to wear you out with no potential gain. Do you want to spend your hours feeling stressed about your never ending to-do list, or feeling well-rested and present? No matter how rich, poor, intelligent or silly you may be, you are still only given 24 hours each day. Make them count by discerning early on when to say “no.”
With every campaign or homework assignment you’ve worked on, you’ve had to deal with limited resources — limited budget, limited time, maybe a limited amount of motivation. Now that you’re #adulting, you’ll face similar challenges when it comes to investing in yourself. Make sure your priorities are aligning with your life choices. For example, if you say you value health, then invest in a gym membership or yoga classes or cooking classes or whatever it takes for you to achieve your health goals.
Personally, I’ve been focusing on my physical, spiritual and professional health. Tangibly, this translates to me finding a trainer to work with at my local YMCA, spending more time reading my Bible and joining PRSA as an Associate Member. (P.S. Did you know former PRSSA members can get their first year of PRSA membership for only $60? And that the next two years of membership are discounted too? Check out the Associate Membership program if you haven’t yet.) All these investments are helping me to set a solid foundation for the rest of my life. As they say, “there’s no time like the present.”
In college, it can become addicting to seek out straight As or to spend tedious amounts of time making sure your brows are on fleek. As you find yourself making adult decisions more and more, I encourage you to stop focusing on perfection. It’s important to invest in yourself, but don’t let your self-improvement blind you from what really matters in life. Aim to do well at your job, of course, and don’t throw your personal hygiene down the drain, but recognize that achieving “perfection” is not what will bring you ultimate joy or even what you’re made to do. Humans are made to be lifelong learners, constantly ingesting new information and honing skills. Humans are going to mess up sometimes, and will need to ask for forgiveness. Humility isn’t a weakness, but a strength that only the wisest will seek.
I wish you nothing but good fortune in your post-grad life and the beautiful freedom that comes with graduating college. As always, feel free to share your fun #adulting stories with me, since we’re learning side by side in this next phase of life.
Laura Daronatsy is the PRSSA Immediate Past President and currently works as a communications LDP associate at Lockheed Martin. She graduated from Biola University with a public relations major and biblical and theological studies minor. Connect with Laura on Twitter @lauradaronatsy.