Sunday Scaries

4 Recent Grads on Life and Lessons Learned in the Real World

Image credit: Forbes.com

As graduation season approaches, college seniors across the country are preparing for what will be a very different type of celebration. With virtual ceremonies and zoom celebrations taking the place of on-campus commencements and senior week festivities, many seniors across the country are feeling a sense of uncertainty about what life will be like post-college. 

Although life is a bit different today than it was a year ago, one point remains the same: no one really knows what to expect from the real world during their first year out of college. We interviewed 4 recent college graduates and asked them to reflect on their experiences during their first year post-grad.


Name: Zoë

Age: 23

Graduation Year: 2019

Occupation: High School Teacher

Location: New York City

What mistakes or wins you’ve experienced  in your first year in the real world:

The major mistake that I have made during my first year out of college is spending so much time being worried or anxious about my future. With that being said, I’ve learned that these feelings are completely valid, as we are all in a huge transitional phase that can be incredibly stressful. In some cases, our future does depend on what we are doing at this very moment, but for me specifically, and I think for plenty of other recent graduates, I need to constantly remind myself that nothing is permanent. No matter where you are, there is not one correct path, and it can be altered at any time! This realization has been comforting to me as I’ve navigated this new phase of my life. 


Name: Taylor

Age: 23

Graduation Year: 2019

Occupation: Analyst

Location: Baltimore, MD

What I learned from my first year out of college:

I learned the value of navigating conversations with people of contrasting views. This has allowed me to remain open-minded while communicating my perspective. As well as this, I’ve also come to realize that your major may not directly correlate to your job. With this being said, the skill sets and work ethic developed in college will always be pertinent.


Name: Marcie

Age: 23

Graduation Year: 2019

Occupation: Senior business analyst 

Location: Nashville, TN

What I wish I knew entering into the workplace:

I wish I knew about different behaviors in the workplace, especially how there are regional differences in professional spaces. For example, growing up and having experience working in the North, I became used to coworkers being fairly blunt in the ways that they offer corrections or constructive criticism. But, I’ve learned after moving to the South and starting a job in a totally different city, that I have to modify the ways that I offer critiques to someone’s work. Small adjustments like these are ones you can only learn through working and experiencing different things for yourself, and will come to you in time!   


Name: Amanda

Age: 23

Graduation Year: 2019

Occupation: Analyst

Location: New York City

What I’ve learned during my first year out:

I’ve learned that what I expected my life to look like a year ago is completely different than what it looks like now. It’s easy to look at what others are doing and try to compare your experience to theirs, and during the tough times, it’s especially difficult not to. I’m grateful for where I am, cherish the positive experiences that I’ve had, and am thankful for the mistakes that I’ve made.

Even in the hard moments, it’s important to reflect and learn as much as possible about yourself, and to understand that ultimately, mistakes will happen. These mistakes should not be viewed as failures, but as moments of personal success and triumph, because you are trying something totally new, and are maneuvering life for the first time all on your own! Definitely a lesson I’ve learned this year, and a perspective that I will keep with me even in my 10th year out of college. 

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