So what has changed? Well, just about everything. A lot of my friends have moved back home and I've fallen into the routine rut of the working world, but I have real money and I don't need to "study" anymore.
Congratulations to the class of 2008. I know in some ways, you can't wait to get out of school, and it feels good to be done with classes and papers and lectures, but trust me, appreciate every last second of college life. Over this next year, I promise you will wish on multiple occasions that you could run back to the dorms and do it all over again.
Here are my thoughts on what to expect during the next year:
Things can still be fun, but they will never be the same.
Whether you stay in the area of your school, or move back to your hometown or elsewhere, you will not see your friends near as often...even if you live only a few blocks away. That said, when you do get together, it is just like old times (in a good way).
Even the slacker friends that barely rolled out of bed to get to class will find a job and clean up their act (on the weekdays at least!) It's amazing what a suit does.
You will compare every major celebration to how it was the last 4 years...and 9 times out of 10, it will not live up to how it was then.
You will suffer through applications (if you're going to grad school), or resumes and the dreaded job search that everyone warned you about, and it will be more time-consuming than you ever thought possible. But, eventually, if you keep working at it, you will succeed. I promise.
You will live for the weekend. In college, you lived for the weekend, too...but really, if you wanted to go out on a Wednesday and skip class the next day, you could. Now you will live for the weekend so you can sleep in...also so you can go out to the bars, but c'mon, I don't think that will change for awhile.
You will slowly stop wanting to go to the cheap college bar you lived at 4 nights a week, and desire to go to new and cooler places. You will also realize it is possible to go out with less than 10 people, and that the world will not end if you stay in on a Saturday night.
You will have real money! It will not be near as much as you dreamed your starting salary would be when you were in school, but hey, it's something. Please don't blow it all. It's hard, trustttt me, but save part of every paycheck. (This only applies to those of you looking for a job. If you're going to grad school, sorry. You'll still be poor. That's what you get for still semi-living the college life.)
You will probably have a mini life crisis. RE: What am I doing with my life?? Why did I major in that? How do I find a job? Where did my fun life go?? Someone tell me what to do please! Take it one day at a time, and life will unravel in front of your eyes. You don't need to know everything at age 22. Live and enjoy being young. You will make mistakes, but you have plenty of time to make up for them. We're young; that's what we're supposed to do.
I hope I've imparted a little wisdom. It's definitely an adjustment to leave the safe and simple community of college, but you will make it in the real world. Sometimes, you miss the good old days, but keep in mind that there are still plenty of good memories to make. Life is what you make of it; enjoy your days.