Congratulations! You probably don't yet understand why I'm saying that. It's not because you've accomplished so much in those four years of college, although I'm sure you have. It's not because you've grown more than they ever could've imagined, although, again, I'm sure you have. It's because you're on your way into the next phase, the most challenging and exciting one, and I know you're ready.
There's a few things you should know about this place known as "the real world." For one thing, it is not unlike the one you already know. The friends you've surrounded yourself with are very much still there. College may be over, but your relationships are not. Savor them and continue to enjoy them. Just because you no longer live with your best friends, does not mean that you're now alone in this. The bond between friends, the love that resides there, knows no bounds. Not even distance, I promise. And, of course, realize that the support from your family will never falter. You'll find that with each "grown-up" hurdle, you'll appreciate them more and more.
Secondly, please know that nobody out here has any idea what they're doing. Sure, they may seem like they have a plan; yeah, maybe they can tell you where they hope to be in five years; but the beauty of this crazy world of ours is in it's flexibility and freedom. If you're like me, make a schedule to create comforting structure for the time being. Next, since you're probably seeking employment or further education, (unless you're one of the lucky few that have already acquired it), I tell you: Dreams do come true but life is not a fairy tale. Each one of us is doing our best, slowly figuring things out along the way, and you can and will do the same. You want to be happy, right? I know it. You know what you love and you know what you are already good at, but do you know why you're good at these things? Probably because you love them too. Children enjoy most what they do best and true passion has a way of creating a practice that leads to improvement. Take these things, focus your time and energy on them, and they will lead you exactly where you're supposed to be, towards what you're supposed to be doing.
With that said, note that for most, this journey is not an expressway. It's not supposed to be. There will be wrong turns and minor detours but have faith that they are all a part of the adventure. They are, and you deserve the experience. You'll discover your true self along the way.
Finally, and this point is no less important the previous ones, embrace the uncertainty. I know it's not easy, trust me, I do. I know you're afraid, I promise you that I still am, too. But just because you are now supposedly a "grown up" in "the real world" does not mean that you're no longer allowed to live your life. If you're moving to a new city, make sure you're open to creating new friendships. If you're adjusting to a work week and a 9-5 job, make sure you keep your hobbies and try new things. If you still feel like you're at square one, be kind to yourself, listen to your heart, and trust what it is telling you. And, when you feel like everything around you is moving far too fast for you to deal with, STOP. Take a deep breath. Let go of all the pressures. It may not seem like it, but there really is no rush. You truly can enjoy yourself while finding the right fit of an income and giving back to society in some way. Yet, it's also true that the options and possibilities are overwhelming. Take each day, and each moment, at a time. You are ready and everything will be okay. The best things are yet to come.
With love and encouraging hugs,
(a girl that was in your shoes just one year and two days ago)