college graduates in red cap and gown

What Happens After You Graduate From College

There are just 13 days until graduation.

Yeah. That’s just two more weeks of dealing with mountains of homework (unless you’re going to grad school), two more weeks of living near your closest friends, two more weeks of endless tests and essays.

college student dressed for graduation
Graduating is like stepping into the unknown. It’s okay to be nervous.

Senior year and graduation are bittersweet. On the one hand, you’re so ready to get out into the “real world” and actually start making money instead of owing it. But on the other hand, you don’t know what to expect after you don your cap and gown, take thousands of pictures, and turn your tassel.


You’re anxious, but that’s not unusual. Maybe you already have a full-time job lined up, and if that’s the case, congratulations! If you don’t, that’s okay, you will be able to find one.

So what actually happens after you leave PNC Arena on May 7th? The short answer: Things change.

You and Your Friends May Leave Raleigh

When you graduate, you’ll be farther away from your college friends. Some of you may move back home. Some of you may move to a different city for work. Some of you may stay here.

three friends huggingHelpful Advice: Just because you’re farther apart doesn’t mean you lose your best friends. It’ll take some time to adjust, but you can always text them or take a roadtrip to see them. Read this guide about how to stay in touch with your college friends.

You Become a New Student Again

When you get a job, or if you go to grad school, you essentially become a new student again. You finally get to apply what you learned in college to the “real world,” but you also have to learn how the company (or graduate program) operates and what’s expected of you.

Helpful Advice: Be prepared to make lots of mistakes. But making mistakes is how you learn. Read this article about what you can expect during your first year as a young professional.

You Have More Money… And More Responsibilities

It’s so nice to get that first paycheck from your “real world” job. It’s probably going to be the most money you’ve ever gotten on a single paycheck, and it’s probably going to be more than what’s in your bank account.

young professional in a suitBut you also have more financial responsibilities as a recent college grad: taxes, car insurance, phone payments, rent, groceries, retirement funds…

Helpful Advice: Live like you’re still a broke college student for the next several years. Make a budget and stick to it. Read these tips about spending and saving money.

Make the Most of Your Last Two Weeks as a College Student

Look, no amount of reading advice articles can truly prepare you for college graduation. The whole thing is an adjustment, and you’ll find that leaving college brings a lot of both negative and positive experiences.

college friends in a cool cityBut hey, you still have two whole weeks before you graduate! Visit that one restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Go somewhere awesome. Take a bunch of silly pictures with your friends. Treat yourself to a Cookout milkshake at 3 AM. Enjoy the little things.

Try not to worry about what your future holds. You’ll get there eventually. So just enjoy your friends, your school, and the world of possibilities before you.

Here’s to you, Class of 2016!


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