Congratulations! You made it!
Say goodbye to those horrid 8AM classes, making you (gasp) traverse the treacherous pavement on rainy days and perfect sunny ones. Be oppressed by 15 hours per week in a classroom no more.
Welcome to the world of freedom and infinite possibilities, all within your grasp after you spend 50+ hours a week in a corner of the carpet, with your very own computer, a landline (they’ll explain), and cloth walls. Nothing says “freedom” like emailing helpdesk to hang up your 2’x2′ bulletin board.
People, I’m kidding! Not about the above, but seriously- no more homework! Leave and be done! Besides those pesky iPhones with their “email at all time” features, it really is a beautiful thing to be done at the end of a well-worked day at the office. Besides, not everyone works in a “cubicle,” so hang with me.
I so do not have much wisdom to give. All I know is I’m a measly 4 years ahead of you, and if I could go back to where you’re standing today, here’s what I wish I would have known:
- Your first job is probably not forever. So don’t take that first decision so seriously. Sure, your first job is a big deal, but it’s not worth the anxiety I gave it. (Actually, nothing is worth anxiety according to the Bible- Philippians 4:6) I read Decision Points by George W. Bush a couple years ago, and I realized I had more freedom in decisions than I realized. W became President, but I was surprised how many steps he took in the in-between years. He tried lots of different things before politics. Your first “career move” doesn’t have to be final; it’s okay to try a few things.
- Take a few more factors into taking a job than the job itself. It might be your “dream job,” but seriously examine what your life will look like. Do you know of a good church to get plugged into? Will it be plausible to find community there? Will you be able to put yourself under godly authorities? How do you feel about the distance from your family? If it’s far, what happens when your favorite niece/nephew/cousin turns one? Will you be able to go to the birthday party? Are you okay if you have to consistently miss things?
- You will not have your whole life set age 22. I don’t just mean career-wise, but also your personal life. I always pictured myself married right out of college, but that wasn’t the reality, and it was okay. I thought it would be all over if I didn’t meet “the one” in college. It sounds silly to write it down here, but really, if you’re like me, just know it’s okay. Really. If you DID have your whole life set at age 22, how boring would that be? If you knew that everything just stopped, right there, at age 22.. I mean, let’s be honest. You don’t want that. So take a deep breath and find the gifts you’ve been given right now.
- Your foundation in Scripture is everything. This is the most important. Now that I’ve been out of college for a few years, I’ve watched first hand some girls who grew up in Christian homes, studied the Bible and grew spiritually in college fall away due to the pressures of the world. People told me college would be the hardest to withstand the pressure, but I disagree. The post-college years, particularly if you are single, can be detrimental to a nominal believer. Set your foundation in the rock. Know where you stand before temptation hits. When you feel lonely in a new city with pagan co-workers as your only friends, will you be set apart? Or will you look just like the world? Will you chase money like they do? Will you live beyond your means and not have margin to be generous? Will you place your value and identity in your status, job, and car you drive? (See also, the entire book of Ecclesiastes)
- See people as people. Set margin in your life to invest in people. Look for them. Seek them out. No matter your job, as a follower of Jesus, you are called to make disciples. Jesus set up the simplest model for us to follow. If you need a resource to help, check out the book Multiply by Francis Chan. He set up an excellent curriculum to go through together with a small group or one-on-one with those you disciple.
- If you don’t have a job in the first 5 minutes or 5 months after graduation, do not be discouraged or hopeless. Your identity is not in what you do, but in who you are. Meditate on Psalm 139, Ephesians 2:10, and Ephesians chapter 1.
- Travel. I took what I thought was a huge risk living 4 months abroad after graduation (won’t the world move on without me?!), and it was the best decision I made. You may not be able to go for 4 months, but intentionally go away somewhere. It doesn’t have to be a mission trip, but go and see another culture. Listen to how the world views your country.
- Be thankful. All the time. Seek out things to be thankful for; the evidence of our Creator is everywhere.
Also, people are calling you “the most narcissistic generation to date.” They’re calling me that too, and I’m not offended, I just disagree. I’ve seen us. I’ve been a college student, then was completely immersed in college ministry for several years and I know better. Sure, narcissism exists, and it should be avoided. (See above) However, this generation- Generation Y as they say- is brilliant.
I see Gen-Y as they are: full of courageous, passionate, zealous people with gigantic dreams. Keep dreaming. Now’s your big chance. Go put some feet to those truth-rooted dreams and change the world.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
PS- some reading recommendations to the new graduate: