I walked across that stage and I felt a newfound freedom.

I felt like the world was my oyster. I was done spending days studying for exams, I was done with homework assignments and my time was mine.

Yet, that was exactly the problem.

I had been so used to always being told what my time would be spent on (class, homework, exams, projects) that I didn’t know what it was like to be free to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

All of that time started adding up and suddenly I realized that I was constantly thinking about my future because I had all the time in the world to do so.

I would think about what my next step was while I was at my waitressing job. I would think about where I should apply for jobs while I laid in bed at night. I would think about how far away I was from accomplishing anything that I wanted to as soon as I woke up in the morning.

When I look back to those awkward months following my graduation from college, I think of all the things that I wish I had known that could have put me at ease.

It’s okay to take a break..

For some strange reason I thought that I had to hit the accelerator and get to my career as fast as humanly possible after crossing the graduation stage. I was so used to the mindset of go-go-go and multitasking four classes and my work schedule that I felt like working forty hours a week waitressing just wasn’t enough. It is enough. It would have been so beneficial for me to chill out for a second and just enjoy being young and not having the burden of exams and projects on my back.

It’s okay to spend your last dollar on awesome experiences.

Like most college graduates I was scraping to get by and whenever an awesome opportunity came along I would immediately say no because I didn’t have the funds. Without question, if I could go back in time I would have said yes to all of the fun things that I had been invited to and I would have forced myself to scrounge the money together because those few months between graduation and your career are the perfect time to explore more of the world and in turn explore more of who you are.

It’s okay to feel lost.

I’m not quite sure why but I truly believed that I was the only one struggling to find their path once I graduated. I knew that I didn’t want to go the 9-5 route but I had no clue how I was going to avoid it. I felt so lost and for a long time very emotional about it. I wish that I could go back to my twenty two year old self and tell her that it is not only totally fine to feel lost but you are one of so many other peers who are feeling the same way! Lean into that feeling of being lost and use it to discover yourself and who you want to grow into.

Follow your curiosity wherever it leads you.

For me, my curiosity led me to books about the mind, how powerful our thoughts are on our lives, and human psychology. In my own opinion, I think its detrimental to read books about how our mind works in order to best be able to use it as the incredible tool that it holds potential to be. Once I had the time on my hands to decide what I wanted to spend my time reading (surprisingly it wasn’t 1,000 page biology textbooks) I started to discover what my interests were and it started to shape my future career of writing, although I had no idea at the time.

It’s okay to change.

From high school to college we all go through a tremendous change that shifts us to a closer version of ourselves. From college to the real world there’s another tremendous change that takes place and it’s okay if that means that you become a different person than the one you were in college. I struggled with this for awhile thinking that I had to be interested in the same things, hold true to the things that I said I wanted to do with my life when I was in college, and that I had to stay rooted to my college persona. This isn’t true! There’s always, always opportunity to grow ourselves as a person and we are only doing ourselves a disservice when we fight this change. It’s okay to change because it’s a sure fire sign that you are becoming exactly who you are meant to be.

Just as much as these lessons apply to post college grads they can apply to any point of your life where you are feeling confused, have a big change (expected or unexpected), or are searching for something more.

When we allow ourselves to know that it’s okay to chill out for a second, spend our money on experiences even if we feel like we can’t afford them, to feel completely and totally in the dark about our next move, to learn new things, and to change from the person that we were life transforms exactly as we want it to.

There’s power in being okay with where you are right now even though it can seem like one of the hardest things to do.

Give yourself a chance to breathe and make sure that you aren’t being too harsh on yourself by applying these hard earned lessons now instead of later. Know this world is your oyster and it’s ready to give you everything you could ever want and more whenever you are ready to accept it.