Growing up, you may have heard some of the adults in your life talk about the "real world." It normally came up in conversations about paying bills, dealing with traffic to and from work, and the other struggles that adults face on the reg. You may have thought to yourself, "Wow, that sounds
terrible." (I know that I did.) Personally, I was instantly intimidated by adulthood. But since graduating college, I've learned that it's not actually a continuous thunderstorm. In fact, as long as you adhere to these promises to make yourself when you graduate, you'll be crushing it.
You see, unlike college or any part of your life thus far, this next chapter is completely up to you to create and decide. There's nobody telling you that you have to go to grad school, start your own business, or choose a new career path. There are no neon signs pointing you to an apartment on the West Coast, or reading, "Big adventure up ahead," either.
For some of us, that's a scary thought that leaves us with a lot of questions. But, you can and will get past those feelings and realize the possibilities. Because the reality is this: You just graduated college and became part of the "real world," and are about to embark on a journey that's
so beautiful. Just make these five promises to yourself first, OK? 01
You'll Create A Life That Makes Sense For You
When I graduated college, I had zero clue as to what I was going to do. I knew that I wanted to be a writer, but hadn't heard anything back from
all the applications I sent out.
I listened to everybody's two cents on what they thought I should or was "supposed to" be doing. I took it all to heart —until one day, I didn't. I realized that as great and well-meaning as those plans were, they weren't going to lead to a life that made sense for me. So I dared to be different and create my own version of the "real world."
I kept up with my retail job, started traveling and exploring a
lot, and built up my own brand. I promised myself that I'd do little things that made me happy every day, and I think you should do the same. 02
You'll Celebrate Your Little Moments And Victories
Up until this point in your life, you've had major milestones and moments to celebrate. There have been birthdays, dance recitals, championship soccer games, and, of course, graduations. Each one has given you a reason to throw a big party, treat yourself, or cue the confetti.
The "real world," though, is a little bit different. A lot of your victories will be pretty personal, like
traveling for the first time with your SO or moving into your own apartment on the West Coast. They'll be your life-altering adventures, instead of your friends' and family's, too.
I'm here to say, that's totally OK and normal. You just need to promise yourself that you'll celebrate them just the same. You'll order your favorite pizza when you ace a grad school exam, or have a spa day after you've unpacked all of your boxes. Confetti, also required.
You'll Embrace New Experiences
When you start getting settled into the "real world," you'll notice that it's really easy to get into a routine. It's easy to wake up around 8 a.m. every day, eat breakfast and shower, and head off to work. It's even easier to spend your nights and weekends laying around and catching up on the latest episodes of your favorite shows, instead of seeking out adventure.
Now, don't get me wrong, having those lazy and relaxing moments is essential sometimes. But, promise yourself that you'll still say "yes" to
spontaneous road trips, nights out on the town with your besties or new work friends, and excursions that may be a little bit outside of your comfort zone.
Those experiences will be the ones that make your adult life full of light, stories, and lots of laughter. They'll keep you from asking questions like "what if" in the future, and remind you that you're capable of more than you give yourself credit for. Got it? Good.
You'll Ask For Help If And When You Need It
A common misconception about the "real world" is that you have to figure all of it out on your own — just like everybody else. Spoiler alert: You don't. In fact, you likely have a crew of people in your life who will drop everything and help you, if and when you need it.
Your parents or "cool aunts" will help you find an apartment to call home, and also help you write out professional Emails for the first time. Your besties will encourage you to follow your wildest dreams and ideas, even when you're doubting them yourself. And your siblings will remind you to laugh and never take life too seriously — which gets difficult sometimes when you're writing out rent checks and grocery shopping.
They'll have all the answers when you're asking yourself questions about the future over and over again, and wondering, "What's next?" and "How will I get
You'll Always Stay True To Yourself
Last but not least, on the day you become part of the "real world," promise that you'll always stay true to yourself. Write it down on a sticky note that you attach to your mirror, or leave yourself a reminder on your phone that goes off at noon every day. Whatever it takes so that you don't lose the beauty of what makes you
Truth is, the "real world" can be exhausting, exhilarating, intimidating, and wonderful. There may be a time when you think that you need to mold your passions, interests, and dreams just so that you can live a full life. I can't stress this fact enough: you don't, and everything you're looking and hoping for will eventually come to you.
The best version of you in the "real world" is the one that's evolved, changed, and led you to where you are now. (Should I say it louder for the people in the back?)