Advice For College Grads

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A fresh new batch of college kids are entering the "real world" again. I always love this time of year.

To those of you filled with fear and uncertainty I'd like to be the first to tell you it's going to be okay. I was you just five years ago. And look at me now, it's 10:45 a.m. on a Tuesday and I'm sitting on my back patio eating a cheese stick looking at my dirt patch of a yard in Chicago while I talk to my dog.

So you could say things are going pretty good. Play your cards right and you could be me in five years. For the record yards are really hard to come by in Chicago (when you're not rich.)

Seriously though, I've got some advice I'd like to share from my five years of post college wisdom. So gather around and I'll tell you some secrets to life.

First and foremost, these next few years will get tricky. And perhaps a little scary. You might cry a lot and find yourself on your couch drinking old wine while googling "how to win the lottery." It's completely normal. For as many low times as you have you'll have just as many high times. It's the yin and the yang. The Randy Quaid and Dennis Quaid.

The similar paths that you and your peers have led for so many years are about to go haywire. One friend will get married right away and start popping out babies, while another friend will drop off the grid and live in India for the next ten years. And then you'll have those friends who continue to party like they're still 21 and get up for work each and every day. What I've realized is we all have our own ways to do life. Find what works for you.

That being said, here's a few of my suggestions.

Don't settle for a job you absolutely hate. Unless of course you make a ton of money and money is what you want most at this time.

Seriously think about it, what do you want most right now?

I had some good jobs after college with stable paychecks and good benefits, but I was miserable. So I chose option two. The option where I wake up every day happy and thankful I get to be my own boss and do what I love. And then I go to bed nervous as hell because it could all end tomorrow... It's a balancing act. Choose what works for you.

If you can't find the job you love, make your own. (Sell t-shirts whoop whoop.)

Selling t-shirts isn't my dream job, but it allows me to work on the other stuff I need to do in hopes of getting my dream job...right? RIGHT???

Don't freak out if all of your friends are getting married. This works for some, but not for all. However if it really bothers you just move to Chicago. Nobody here even considers marriage until their late twenties.

Speaking of moving, I highly suggest you skip town after college- at least for a little bit. I know I'm bias on this one, but you learn a lot of things when you move away from your homeland. Get out and see the world with a fresh set of eyes.

Make yourself uncomfortable.

Do the things that scare you.

If you're lonely, get a dog.

And if you're really lonely, get a Vizsla.

Travel. You hear this one time and time again but it's true. You're at a time in your life where you can pick up and go at a moments notice, so do it.

Don't ignore those nagging feelings you get about trying something new, or going somewhere different. They're there for a reason.

Break out of your college shell. The you on the other side is much better, I promise.

Remember nobody has it all figured out. Some of us are just better at bullshitting than others.

We're all just a bunch of lost children running around pretending we know how to do adult things- like paying our taxes and buying a house.

You have a lot of time, but time goes fast. Really fast. If you don't use it wisely you'll wake up one day and you'll already be five years out of college wondering what just happened... while also eating cheese sticks and talking to your dog. Don't judge me, it's not a bad life.

And if all else fails, just start a blog. Everyone else has.


  1. get a vizsla. that's my favorite piece of advice. that and do something scares you. Great advice, great post!

  2. The Randy Quaid and Dennis Quaid...I literally LOL'ed at my desk. I'm with you at the 5 year mark from college and couldn't agree more for everything. Travel, get scared, get a dog, eat cheese sticks= couldn't be happier! Excellent post.

  3. Thanks for the advice, Tay! I am a little nervous but excited to be graduating college next month!

  4. I've been watching/listening to a lot of TED talks lately. The best advice that has really stuck with me is "Fake it until you become it." I've also learned that if you stand in a wonder woman pose for 2 minutes it makes you feel more powerful. My advice is stand in a wonder woman pose all you want but don't do it in your company's bathroom. It is a weird situation to explain to your coworkers when they catch you.

  5. I love this post. This explains how I feel right. I'm so confused and I have no idea where I'll be in the next year. It's very stressful, but good to know other people have felt this way.

  6. Oh god, I'm crying. Why am I crying? I've already graduated, but maybe more about this whole leaving jobs you hate business...

  7. This is great, Taylor. Wonderfully written and really insightful. I really liked your point about how people's paths will totally diverge post-college, so true!

  8. Absolutely love this post! So true, find what works for you. I'm a year and a half out of my last education and I'm slowly realizing I just need to do what works for me....on that day! Every day is different, and what works and makes me happy one day, might not work so well the next day, and that is okay!
    Nice to know I'm not alone in feeling the diverging pathways from friends!

  9. This is great because I graduated last May and started my blog in July. How fitting haha. Also, Randy Quaid or Dennis Quaid made me spit coffee on my screen. Well done, lady.

  10. I'm three years out of college come May 19th and this post still resonates with me.

  11. I know you said this is advice for "college grads" emphasis on the "s," but I'm just going to take this as a personal letter from you to me, alright? Definitely needed this more than ever as the cap & gown rental date looms closer and closer!