The college year is drawing to a close. Every student is in a state of constant stress and anxiety, but none so much as those about to finish their final year. Yes, after years of slogging through 9am lectures and copious cups of terrible coffee to get you through that hangover, you've made it. The end is in sight. However, a strange thing starts to happen about this time of year. That moment you've been visualising in your head, just willing to get here already, is actually on the horizon and now you kind of want it to fuck off. There's an odd twinge at the thought of leaving your comfort zone, and not seeing your mates every day. But from one graduate to all of you soon to be graduates, I'm here to say, don't worry. Everyone is going through this crisis, whether they're being vocal about it or having a daily internal monologue questioning everything about their future. So here's just a bit of advice that will hopefully help you through this rather stressful period of change....
You will stay in touch with your college friends if you make an effort.
There's always the fear that once college finishes and you don't see each other every day in lectures, that you'll drift from all your college friends. While this certainly will happen if you don't make any effort, it actually takes very little to maintain these friendships. Something as simple as creating a WhatsApp group for your college mates will ensure that you still feel like you're seeing each other regularly. Be sure to organise a few nights out because nobody will say no to a few drinks.
The same goes for any friends leaving the country.
Yes, it absolutely sucks that they're leaving - how dare they?! But they're about to embark on a great adventure. You may not be with them on their travels, and you might miss them a ridiculous amount, but it's important not to let any jealousy take over and just be excited. They're going to see the world and you'll be able to see a bit more of it via their Instagram. (You might have to unfollow them in the end if the jealousy becomes overwhelming - don't feel bad, it happens to us all.) Just be sure to set Skype dates and to text as often as you can.
Not travelling straight after college is not the end of the world.
One of the hardest thing about finishing college is the indecision. What do you want to do with your life? Should you start working straight away? What about an internship? Don't fret, these questions plague everyone. We all want to travel but some people have the itch to get started with their lives. Going travelling is absolutely worth doing at some point, but it doesn't necessarily have to be straight after college. If a great opportunity for work arises, grab it with both hands. It's never a bad thing to have ambition and want to achieve as much as you can as early as possible, and you can always travel later in life.
Equally, don't feel bad about postponing joining the work force to go and frolic around South America.
On the other hand, don't let yourself feel guilty about putting off getting a grown up job and fleeing to South America, or Asia, or wherever appeals to your inner adventurer. Seeing the world is a massive part of growing up and becoming who you are. You'll not only learn so much about yourself, but about the world you live in. We're not saying that getting a job isn't important, just that it's okay to not be ready to take that step or to not know what field you want to work in yet. Go and see the world and maybe you'll figure it out.
Internships suck but they're a great way to gain experience.
The internship is a rite of passage these days. Yes, working for free is the worst, but there are some serious benefits to doing an internship too. When you leave college, you lack the requisite experience to do pretty much anything aside from being a sales assistant. That may sound harsh, but it is sadly true. Internships give you the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in your field so that you can go on to make some dollah bills. They're not all as bad as you've been told either. Most interns will get the chance to learn a whole host of new skills, not just how to make coffee for your boss.
Not getting a first, or even a 2.1 is actually okay.
This about the time when you realise what your GPA is, and what it will most likely end up being once you graduate. Do. Not. Freak. Out. We all fucked around in third year and most likely squandered a good portion of that potential 2.1. Your lecturers are probably telling you that it really matters what you end up with, meanwhile there's people from your course swanning around gloating about how they've basically already gotten a first. (Feel free to punch these people...not that we're in any way condoning violence.) When it comes down to it, the only thing you need that 2.1 for is to get into a masters, and even then, you can write a kick ass entrance essay and get around that pre-requisite. In my experience, I have never once been asked for my GPA whilst looking for a job. It's mostly irrelevant to the real world so try not to let this stress you out too much. We're not saying give up; still work your ass off and get the best grades possible in your final exams. Just remember that your life won't end if it doesn't work out as expected.
Don't stay in your college relationship if you're not happy.
This may seem obvious but I know many a person who has stayed with their other half from college despite feeling that the two had drifted apart. College is a very particular time when everything is very insular and you're surrounded by the same people day in, day out. This can make it hard to see that you and your partner aren't very well suited. You might have outgrown each other, or just not be the same people you were when you first began dating and that's okay to acknowledge. A huge issue can be your plans after college; one of you might want to travel and the other might want to get a job and settle down first. If what you really want to do is travel, just go and do it. If they're happy to do long distance, that's great. If not, but they're still here when you get back, then it was meant to be. Just never give up opportunities that you really want. It's unfortunate but people come and go, so go do you!
But don't break up with them just because you're finished college.
If you're happy in your relationship, don't feel like you have to break up with your other half just because college is over. This is a huge time of transition in both of your lives but if you love each other, you'll deal with it. Don't feel pressured to end things just because things might get hard.
Don't let anybody hold you back.
This goes for friends, partners, family, and pretty much anyone else in your life. If they love you, they'll support you no matter what. This is the most exciting time in your lives. As cheesy as it sounds, the whole world is your oyster and you should take advantage of that. Don't take no for an answer, don't let yourself be limited by expectations and just go and have fun. You can do anything, achieve anything, explore everywhere, experience everything...so why not start now?