Life after college: 3 things that will help you navigate your early 20's.

Posted by Jodi Dugan on

 How do you ease the transition of life after college? For the most part your entire life has been planned out for you and this is your first step towards a non-predictable future. How do you manage?

It’s scary to think about what happens ‘after college’ and it’s really difficult to know what your life will eventually look like. I wanted to share with you the three things that helped me immensely to navigate life during this period of my life.


By artist Bodil Jane


1)   Friends. 

I know this is pretty basic, but it’s so true. Friends are so important to helping you navigate the who, what, where, when and how of your life and your personal goals. Friends have this way of keeping us buoyant when we would otherwise fall through the cracks.


They also have this marvelous way of helping us to put things into perspective. For instance, you may be really worried about something and feel like your world is caving in on you. Sometimes, your friends carry the magic that will alter your perspective and help you to see a broader, more vibrant scenario than that of doom and gloom.


Friends also help us to relax and to ‘chill out’ because you realize that whatever it is that you are going through, you’re not doing it alone.


a handful of flowers

 instagram account: madebymarywithlove

2)   Community + getting plugged in. 

When I say ‘community’ I do not mean ‘friends’. Although, your friends are part of your community. I mean it in a much larger sense. Sometimes it is easy to get tunnel vision. Say your world is mainly made up of people who are just like you, same age and interests and perspective on life. This isn’t all bad per se, but sometimes it’s helpful to really connect with others that are not like us. It’s beneficial to have friends, mentors, aunts, uncles, boss -figures in our lives who may be older, wiser, people from different cultures, who may have different priorities and perspectives.


Community is also important to see that you are a part of a much larger whole. It’s easy to believe that the world revolves around us. And even though it feels like it does, it simply…does not. It’s important to see other aspects of life, like the guy that bags our groceries in our local food store, or the person who always takes your order at a local coffee shop. They make up the ‘whole’ of your world in many different ways.


Volunteering could also fall into this category as well as attending a local community of faith. These two things help in enlarging our world-view and see realities that extend beyond the known or the visible.


adulting photo and book with coffee

3)   Working on a specific goal. 

This is pretty much open ended, as this goal can be work-related, education- related or hobby-related. But whatever it is make sure it is something that you truly care about. Sometimes, at least for me, I wasn’t sure about myself at all. I didn’t know what I liked or didn’t like in some of the most basic areas of life. It took a while to form my particular vision, goals, and desires. And that’s a totally normal process. Sometimes, you get out of college and you spend your whole life thinking you want to do “X”  when you really are meant to do “Y”. You’ve spent a lot of time and money thinking about perfecting “X” to find out you really aren’t into “X”.


More than likely, you will be afraid that you will let someone else down or worry, ‘what will others think of me’. Or, ‘will my parents be mad’. This is the point in your life where you are ‘breaking away’ from thinking about what everyone else thinks and wants, and instead focusing on who YOU are and what YOU want. It’s really hard and it’s really scary, but it’s incredibly worth it.


Also, “3 years” (just a random number I chose), seems like such a long time. But, it’s not. If 3 years is all you need to make a change, learn a new skill, or pursue a different career… do it. Remember that you’ve got potentially 60 + more years to live your life. You’d better do something that you actually like.



Jodi, the owner of Socks by Chloe

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  • Loved this article Jodi!

    Brandon Cordle on

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