by Mozzified contributors Hira Jafri, Gaby Chavez, and Zainab Khan
1) Enjoy this.
These are fun times. Instead of fretting about the future, take this time to soak in everything around you. You’ll remember graduation for the rest of your life, make this memory a pleasant one.
2) Don’t let stress ruin a beautiful moment.
The combination of finals, graduation week, family and saying goodbye to friends is incredibly stressful. It’s easy to use the stress of all of this to mask everything you’re feeling. It’s easier to say goodbye if you’re angry, but in the long-run you’ll be disappointed with yourself.
3) Don’t panic.
This will be the first time in your life that you don’t really know what’s next. Up until now, you always knew your next goal. Now, you’re expected to figure it out on your own. Work? Graduate School? Marriage? It may be overwhelming, but don’t force decisions on yourself while you’re still stressed from the chaos of graduation week.
4) Be ready to move home.
If you’re moving back home, do so with the right attitude. Remember, the last time you lived at home, you were the 17 or 18-year-old child of your parents. They aren’t used to you being an adult, and may expect you to defer all your decisions to them. Ask your parents for permission rather than telling them what you’re going to do. Show them your independence through action and not words. They know you’re an adult, but haven’t lived with you as an adult.
5) Make new friends.
Whether you’ll be living at home or in a place unfamiliar after graduation, remember to make friends. This is hard. You spent four years of your life surrounded by the greatest people you may ever know, and graduation means starting all over. Reach out to old friends, and see if any college friends know people in the area you’ll be living in.
6) Keep in touch.
Make new friends, but keep in touch with old ones. It’s easy to move onto a new life, but you never know how important your old friends can be. Whether that’s for emotional support, or dare I say a job favor, keeping in contact is important.
7) Don’t think of college as your glory days.
College was one part of your life. There’s more to come, insha’Allah. It’s good to see undergrad as a highlight of your life, but it’s in no way the peak of your life. Take what you can from your undergraduate education and make something else better because of it.
College was mostly ramen anyway.
8) Keep yourself engaged.
In college, you had intellectual friends, the MSA, and events going on just about every single day. Once you graduate, this kind of intellectual stimulation is harder to find. Make sure you keep reading, engaging, and challenging yourself. Try going to events at local universities and mosques, or organize your own.
9) Don’t be afraid to come back.
Once you leave, you may never want to come back. Remember that there are students just like you on campus who would love some of your post-undergrad wisdom. If anything, go back for them.
10) Go with the flow.
You’ll enter the “real world” thinking you know exactly what you want to do. Then you’ll realize that what you’ve wanted since you were 5 years old isn’t really what you thought it’d be. Then you won’t know what do. Then you’ll panic. That’s okay. You don’t have to know what your entire life is going to look like right now. Try a few different things until something clicks.
11) Bonus: don’t let the world do to you what it did to this kid.
Hira is the Building Bridges research fellow at Wesleyan University for the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
Gaby is a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School.
Zainab is the founder of Mozzified and a student at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Follow her on twitter @zaynman.