Immediately after graduation you may have had an “I did it” attitude. I know Staci & I felt that way. The “I did it” attitude is the feeling that you finished a sacred phase of life designed to open your eyes to an academic world and the world in general. You endured late nights writing world-changing essays, studied the periodic table until you could recite it in your sleep, you spent hours volunteering at the local animal shelter, and you aced every exam even if it meant not sleeping for a week…you did it!
After all of your hard work, you graduated college, but the end result was not as you expected. What happened to the rewards you were directly or indirectly promised? You did not get a good paying job. You did not get international connections. You did not get the ability to travel as you would like. You didn’t even get the guidance or experience to help make your entry to the real world easier.
As the months passed after graduation day you may have believed all you got was a worthless piece of paper, a pile of student loans and lots of stress from living in the “real world.”
You started to thrown in the word “kinda” at the end of that “I did it” attitude. You confess to yourself, family and friends “I did it, kinda”.
The rush of emotions and the high of completing college may have been further dulled down by the questioning of “what’s next?”
After resigning to the fact that you’re probably not going to get a fancy job with a corner office any time soon, you probably started to view the world through two options of what’s next: A) go to grad school or B) get a job that you don’t really like and feel stuck.
But neither of those options speak to you.
Does any of this sound familiar? It sure sounds familiar to us because this is also our story and the story of dozens of other recent graduates who we’ve connected with over the past 3 years. Over the last 2 weeks alone as we’ve met up with friends from high school and college during our road trip, we’ve heard this same story at least a half a dozen times. So Friend, you’re NOT alone in feeling like you did it…kinda.
Where our story starts to get exciting (and where we hope YOUR story starts to change directions) is when we discovered that there’s an option C…follow your own path. We didn’t stumble upon option C until 2 years out of college, and only after drowning in a sea of dead end jobs that paid well, but sucked the life out of us.
After spending a few years being bitter about college and the debt it gave us, we started looking around for answers to “what should we do with our lives” hoping that someone would hand us the answer…like a college curriculum or something. No one handed us the answer, but we did end up reading lots of great books like The Slight Edge and The 4-Hour Workweek that started to open our eyes to new possibilities beyond grad school and s0-so jobs. It took us another full year (and several months of counseling) to finally have the courage, determination, and know-how to pull off living option C…but man was the wait worth it!
Full disclosure, we still haven’t figured out the answer to “what should we do with our lives,” but we’re OK with that.
After college ended, you may not have felt like you could follow YOUR OWN options in life (option C). And you’re not alone in feeling like there’s only option A & B. We hope this post will be a reminder that you do have options. You can not only do great things but you can do them on your own terms. What college did not give to you, you truly ARE able to give to yourself. That’s the new attitude we have at Beyond The Diploma.
Nadir “Swim” Karim is the taller, more handsome half of the Beyond the Diploma duo. He’s a recovering car salesman who, after losing his job because the dealership closed, decided to start living life on his terms. Together, with Staci Ann, he plans on traveling around the world eating donuts and volunteering for the causes he believes in. Growing up in West Philly, he never dreamed of being able to live on the beach, or even in Seattle, and he wants to inspire others to do what it takes to follow their dreams.
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