Post Grad: What's Next?
Around this time last year, I had just graduated from Morgan State University, after five long years of transferring from college to college and switching from major to major (read “The Longer Road Taken”). Despite the journey, college was an amazing experience that shifted my vision in life and instilled purpose in me (read “A Woman Made"). Despite the growth in life and your walk with God in college, it doesn’t quite compare to the transformation one experiences after graduation. Post graduation is a beautiful experience and I am grateful for it. I have learned some things along after graduation and I want to share some, not all, of them with you, Class of 2015.
Sallie Mae and Uncle Sam
Don’t let these names fool you. They aren’t as nice as they sound, they don’t know who you are, and they don’t want to know who you are. They are looking for their payments, and you can't tell them you don't have it. But if you don't pay, they will look for you, they will find you, and they will kill you. Jk. They will just kindly remind you that you owe them money.
It is okay to cry
You will find yourself crying. At times, you may not even know why you are even crying. With the weight of the world on your shoulders, you may just have to let it all out. Don’t feel ashamed, cry out to the One that has the peace you need and can carry your burdens.
Be Devoted To Your Devotion
In college, skipping classes to fellowship with the Holy Spirit, while your classmates listened to a boring lecture was cute and admirable. But in the Real World, that is not happening. When you work a “9 to 5,” you can't tell your boss that you can't come into work because you are engaging with the Holy Spirit. Nah, not happening.
While trying to balance out work, ministry, quality time with loved ones and having a personal life, sometimes your quiet time with God suffers. Don’t let that happen. Be Devoted To Your Devotion. Be intentional with your time with the Lord. Purposefully set aside time in your day to spend time with the Lord. I suggest that you wake up early to seek the Lord’s face before you start your day. It helps to position your day.
Love Life will not be on fleek
I just want to warn you in advance about a season in your life for that matter, where there will be a swarm of proposals on social media. Pretty soon, there will be a season of engagement photoshoots and then “Save the Dates” being mailed to you. [Warning: Do NOT let your parents open your mail]
If you are single, please do not let another’s milestone make you feel like a failure and have you doubting God’s plans for you. You are in different season in life. God has every aspect of your life planned out for you, including a significant other. [Jeremiah 29:11] So enjoy your years of singleness, because it’s a season that can’t be repeated, only cherished.
Once you get out of college, you will have a harder time meeting new people. Don’t worry, your family will remind you. Don’t feel that if you aren’t in a serious relationship once you walk the stage, that you missed finding a partner. Nothing is impossible for God to do.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5
As an adult, your free time will dramatically decrease and you will treasure Saturdays and Sundays like mini-vacations. With that being said, you don't have the luxury to serve the way you may have when you were in college. Please don’t stop serving! You don't have to do everything, but select an area of ministry that interest you to serve in and be diligent there.
We all say that a “9 to 5” is not for us. *Blank Stare* HAHAHAHA. That’s so cute, but all jokes aside, you will most likely work a “9 to 5” or overtime. Don’t let Instagram feed you fantasy and lavish lifestyles. There is nothing wrong with working a “9 to 5.” You may spend few months filling out millions of applications and going from interview to interview. You may end up with a job you never knew existed and doesn’t have anything to do with your major, but don't be discouraged!
A job and a career are two different things. A job is a temporary situation, but a career is where your knowledge and education is put into work and you are doing what you have a passion for.
When (temporarily) working at a job, do not get comfortable there. Have and keep a vision of where you desire and are called to be. This is a season, at this job, that can only be used to be built upon for your next season, in your career. It’s not in vain.
You are not a child
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
1 Corinthians 13:11 (AMP)
Legally speaking, you are not a child anymore. You are an Adult. All Groan Up! Duh Duh Duhhhh. I know. How did this happen!?
When you graduate, the world doesn’t stop for you to gradually transition into adulthood. You literally have the night of graduation to get your life and act together. That means some things and beliefs you developed in college, need to mysteriously disappear before someone calls you out on it. You have to mature and renew your mind on things happening in your life and the world around you. So being late, oversleeping, not planning in advance, not being financially responsible are habits that have to cease. As an adult, you have to leave childish ways in the past and use wisdom, knowledge and understanding in many areas of your life.
Your parents: Frienemies
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."
Ephesians 6:1–3 (NKJV)
They gave birth to you, but they can be the death of you. Literally. When you left for college, you probably planned to not move back home after graduation. HAHAHA. That’s so cute of you. It’s good to have dreams, but let’s be real here. Moving back home after 4 years of freedom can be the biggest set back you’ve experienced. You got a degree, but your dad wants you to wash the dishes. You want to hang with your friends, but your mom left you a voice mail, followed up with a text asking about your whereabouts. Your parents aren’t out to hold you back in life (they actually want to see you be great), but they may still see you as their child and not a ‘full blown’ adult. The first few months back home is just a time of learning to respect their authority and learning to submit. Learn as much as you can from your parents, saved or unsaved. This season is one many of us do not cherish and learn from.
My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life...
Your health and personal care
After years of eating over processed meals and going to bed at crazy hours, your body will have the last laugh. Take care of your temple. Make sure you take your vitamins. Drink more water. Get your yearly physical exam. Grab a friend and work out. Learn to eat and cook well balanced meals that seem to honor the food pyramid. We are tri-beings, let’s start to take care of our bodies, inside and out.
There are "friends" who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
When you are out of college, staying up with your friends, talking about God knows what, is a thing of the past. It will still happen, but barely. I mean rarely. You are in a different journey of life. You are walking down a different path. You will find yourself unable to relate to one another at times. You may even grow distant from one another, but that common bond that holds you together isn’t college, but the mutual love you have for God and one another. Be intentional with your current relationships. You will also make new relationships after college. Make sure you pursue healthy relationship and strive to glorify God in them.
The Future: what’s next?
I can’t tell you what’s going to happen after you walk across the stage. I don’t know what tomorrow brings. Like Sway, I don’t have the answers. What I do know is that God has a plan predestined for YOU. Before you entered college, before you were conceived, before the earth was formed. He has the answers and is ready to share it with you. But you have to seek Him. Your life, your desires, your dreams and aspirations is hidden in Christ. So get lost in Him. Rest and abide in Him and trust that He has your path paved for you to walk. Don’t worry about the future. It’s already written, just take the first step of faith.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[?And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:25-34 NIV