For the past eighteen years, school was all I knew. I realized that being a student had become my identity after someone asked me what I liked to do for fun, and I just stood there trying to come up with an answer.
During my time at San Jose State, I pulled all-nighters to cram for exams, drank amounts of coffee that would make a Starbucks barista worry about my caffeine consumption and accepted the fact that I had no social life—and I was completely okay with it, too.
As graduation approached, I realized that my greatest fear was not knowing how to live without school dominating my life! I assume that’s what they call “Post-Graduation Depression.” Once I walked across that stage to receive my diploma, I knew I needed to adjust my routine to prevent myself from falling into a rut. I discovered several things that helped me transition from being a college student to a young professional:
1. Nix Netflix
Ok, don’t get rid of it completely, but limit your time! The first week after school ended, I found myself re-watching an entire season of The Vampire Diaries. Binge watching shows only made me more upset since I felt like I was wasting valuable time. I could have finally cleaned out my car or the junk drawer in my kitchen.
Long story short: use your newfound free time to finally do the things you were telling yourself to do all semester long.
2. Create a Routine
This was probably the hardest but most necessary step I had to take. I work the typical 9 to 5 and used to sit in traffic for over an hour each way. By the time I got home, the day was gone and I had no motivation to do anything. I wasted time until I needed to get to bed. I recently started to wake up at 4:30 AM, go the gym and start work earlier. Now my days feel longer since I bypass the terrible traffic on the 101 and get home sooner.
Long story short: trick yourself into having a longer day by waking up earlier.
3. Work Hard, Play Harder
If you are one of the lucky few who was able to find a job after college, first, I applaud you. Second, it’s okay to finally have some fun! When I was in school, I didn’t allow myself to go out on the weekends and meet with friends. I felt guilty if I did that since that time could be dedicated to studying. I work Monday to Friday, but once 5:00 PM hits on Friday, I bolt out of the office for some well-deserved fun.
Long story short: Have fun, meet new people and go out because you no longer have exams to study for!
Classes started this week at San Jose State, but instead of feeling upset that I won’t be there, these three tips got me excited that I finally don’t have to spend a dime on a textbook I’ll never even open. With that said, welcome back to school, everyone!