It's college graduation season and there's a palpable excitement around all the campuses here in Minneapolis. I've been out of college for several years now, but there's still something so energizing about being around academia this time of year.
One of my favorite things to do as a therapist is dispel myths. Myths about counseling, myths about millennials, myths about anxiety, perfectionism, relationships... honestly the list doesn't end. But today we'll chat about some of the myths surrounding college graduates. Specifically, myths about postgrad life. Let's get into it!
3 common myths about life after college
1. The transition from college to postgrad life will be simple
This is one of the most common myths I hear as a counselor. Fresh off your college career, you, as a young professional, are excited to dive into your new job and lifestyle. Thing seem to be wonderful during the busy, onboarding time. Fast forward just a couple months and it wouldn't be uncommon for you to feel anxious, disconnected from friends, and "old"- this is especially a common feeling when late August rolls around. Your undergraduate friends are returning to campus and settling into the college routine. There's nothing like scrolling through Instagram and seeing your friends moving back to campus to really solidify your new status as a fully-minted college graduate. The transition from college to "the real world" [which is a topic for another day- spoiler alert, it's all the real world] can be really hard- much harder than we oftentimes give it credit for.
2. Everyone else knows what they're doing
FALSE. Very few college grads actually have a solid handle on what they're doing. It's way more common to feel a sense of wandering, indecision, and even head straight into a quarter-life crisis. The more we believe that everyone else has it all together, the less we can actually be content with what we're doing. Millennials are unique in the way that we approach our careers- unlike previous generations, we're more likely to try different positions, companies, and fields. And, we are more entrepreneurial. This means that whatever you have studied in college may or may not be related to your day job or side hustle. It also means that you can change your mind whenever you want!
Older generations often see this in a negative light- they assume millennials are not interested in loyalty or commitment. I choose to see the positive side- millennials are open-minded and we have our identities rooted in things other than our jobs. What's awesome about that? It means if we change a job, we are still our full selves. We can be sad or upset about making a change (voluntarily or not), but we have an idea of who we are outside of our work.
3. Dating is a fun adventure
Wrong wrong wrong. Dating after college is definitely not the same as dating in college. Pursuing relationships as a student is more simple because a) there is an assumption that everyone is basically in the same life stage; b) your schedule might be more flexible; and c) simply being in closer proximity to many peers makes it easier to find someone to date.
There is such a wide range of what people are looking for on Bumble (or any of the plethora of dating apps). This is always true, but even more so once you're out of college. Plus, let's not forget about the challenges of starting to date someone when you're also just starting out in your career. Lots of young professionals find it hard to balance doing well in their first jobs while also prioritizing a new relationship. Not to mention keeping up with your existing friendships. Honestly, it can be exhausting and it's okay if you're feeling like dating is not actually a fun adventure right now.
What do you think? Have you believed these myths? If postgrad life hasn't been all you've dreamed it would be, maybe something else is getting in the way.
Anxious overthinking is common, especially during this transitional time. But it does not have to be this way. You can find freedom from anxiety and live the life you want. Counseling can help. Schedule your first appointment to get started today.