“I thought post-grad would be different than this?” This is a question that I, along with many other people, have asked at least once since graduating. We had visions of that great job, all the happy hours with friends, buying that first apartment/house, and/or starting that family.

Have you had any of those visions? What happens when they don’t become our reality? How can we move forward and create a new dream? The answers aren’t as simple as I’d like them to be, but I’ve learned to accept that.

It’s been a long journey, full of self-doubt, even more questions, and all of the emotions. Yet somehow through it all, I am still standing, and even more hopeful for my future. Today I’m going to help you do the same. Here is the process I went through.

5 Steps To Take If Post-Grad Isn’t What You Expected

1. Realize you set yourself up for failure.

Yes, you read that right. To expect that we are going to have these perfect lives right after graduation is unfair to ourselves.

When we set these high expectations we are setting ourselves up for failure. Sure, some people do get that dream job after college, and that’s great. What happens when you don’t get that job? I can tell you from personal experience it’s a lousy feeling. All the questions of why am I here? and What could I have done differently? go through your head in this situation. 

To avoid these high expectations let downs I have discovered that the best way is to focus on doing the best you can, or finding the best opportunity you can. This way if you do get that dream job, that’s awesome. If you don’t, that’s okay because, as long as you were proactive and giving it your all, you did the best you could. This takes the pressure off of you while still pushing you to accomplish something.

2. Surround yourself with positive vibes.

During this time, it’s easy to want to throw yourself a pity party and stay stuck in your house feeling ashamed in yourself. Don’t do that! Not only is it not getting you any closer to where you want to be, but it’s also damaging to your mental health. 

Instead, it’s important to surround yourself with positivity. You can do this in several different ways. Daily affirmations, dream planning, inspirational quotes, etc. they all can help. Another great thing to do is to learn about other people’s stories.

I particularly love this article. It shows that even some of the most influential people also struggled, and look where they are now.

3. Stay focused. 

You may be tempted to let yourself go and give up on that dream career, but this is the exact opposite of what you should do.

Now is the time to be proactive. Improve your skills, learn new skills, take online classes (I love doing this through Udemy), practice for job interviews, meet with a career coach, etc.. Do whatever you need to do to prepare for the next opportunity you have to go after your dream career.

4. Find a side project

There are so many different ways to start a side hustle these days. Odds are you’ll be able to find something relevant to the career field you want to go in, or you’ll find a new, and profitable, past-time to keep you busy.

Who knows maybe you’ll discover that this side project will become your new dream. This is a great list if you need ideas. If you don’t know which side-hustle to start, answering these questions will help you find out. 

5. Never give up hope.

This point somewhat relates to point number two. However, hope is something much bigger than positive vibes. Hope is clinging on to that idea that you are extremely passionate about. Even though that isn’t in your cards yet, you keep hoping because you know that it will come.

It doesn’t matter where you get your hope from. It can come from your faith, a success story you follow, the dreams you have, etc.. Keep holding on to that hope that your post-grad years will get better.


This is the process I unintentionally went through and it drastically changed my perspective. I went through almost having mental breakdowns, because I just felt so trapped, to fully embracing where I am. I know I’m not meant to stay here. I’m placing my hope in the future that I want and having faith that I will get there. Even though I thought my post-grad path would be different, I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned along the way. 

What do you think? Did you struggle with life after graduation? What did you learn from your experience? Let me know in the comments below then share this with a friend that could use some encouragement.