If you're like me — 22 and calling your mom in tears every single day because the impending doom that is graduation is upon you —, you are not alone.
In a week or so, you will be entering the big, bad "real world," and you will hopefully have a job you are passionate about.
For four years, you’ve been dreaming of graduation day, working your ass off every semester and balancing internships and school in order to have a résumé that hopefully stands out among the rest.
Well, here I am: a second-semester senior, thinking I did pretty much everything right (and maybe a little wrong) and I don't have a job lined up.
While graduating is an amazing accomplishment (congrats class of 2015), it is definitely not all rainbows and butterflies.
Here's what graduation looks like in your imagination and reality (hint: they're not one in the same):
Imagination: Your first job will be your dream job.
Let’s be real: While you are young and full of fresh ideas, you are still fairly inexperienced.
I thought after graduation, I would be moving to New York and starting my dream job, but here I am, writing an article that is telling me otherwise.
You think after graduation, the world will be yours to conquer, and it is, but don’t be disappointed when your first job isn’t with your dream company.
Good things come to those who wait, so just keep that in mind.
Reality: Your first job will be anything you can get.
The truth is, your first job will most likely not be the job you’ve been dreaming of. Your job title will probably involve the words “assistant” or “coordinator,” and that is perfectly fine.
Everyone has to start somewhere, so make sure you use your long-term goals to fuel your current situation. That way, you can achieve them sooner.
Imagination: You will make at least $60,000 a year.
Depending on your degree, you probably have a decent idea of what your first job will pay. If it is $60,000 per year with full benefits, I applaud you (and also am very jealous).
After living for four years on a waitressing budget, you will look forward to having a salary and being able to use your weekends to sleep or try the new brunch place on the corner.
Reality: You will make enough to pay your rent, bills, loans and nothing else.
However, if you’re like me and majored in communications, you most likely can only afford half of that.
The reality of it is you will probably use most of your money for “grown up” things. (Ew.)
Your parents aren’t paying your rent or buying your groceries, and those student loan payments are beginning to show up in the mail.
Keep calm and live within your means so you don’t cause yourself any unnecessary stress.
Don’t forget to treat yourself to bottomless mimosas at brunch every once in a while, though; you deserve it.
Imagination: You’re going to move out of your parents' house and into that cool loft in the city.
You’ve been hunting for your next apartment on the Internet since January, and you're aiming for that loft with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to wake up to natural sunlight and the skyline.
You’re going to separate yourself from your parents and live on your own. The price of rent doesn’t matter because you’re going to have a full-time job, right?
Reality: You’re moving back in with your parents, or you’re living in a box.
Okay, so maybe not an actual cardboard box out on the street, but the apartment you can afford is probably just a glorified box with a roof or you’re living with seven other people.
Then, there’s the other option: You’re moving back in with your parents.
This is not the end of the world. Living in a tiny place or with your parents will allow you to save money for that future loft.
Bottom line: It’s all about perspective, people!
Keep up the positive vibes and good things will happen. Keep dreaming, keep it real and keep calm.