You’ve dreamed about this moment for years. You just got the keys to your new place. You’ve just crossed that graduation stage and said goodbye to college. You’re leaving town and excited to start your new life in a new city. Well done! But wait…isn’t adulthood supposed to be liberating and thrilling…why are you plagued with an overwhelming sense of loneliness and isolation? You used to be able to make friends easily, but now you feel isolated. You’re likely wondering, “Does anyone else find it hard to stay in touch with college friends, or is it just me? What can I do now that my college days are over?” Adulting is so complicated; who knew?
Adapting to a Lack of Forced Socialization
When you were a child, do you remember how wonderful it felt to be invited to join someone for lunch for the first time? The friendship gods brought you together that day, and you became instant best friends. Naturally. As children, making long-lasting friendships is as simple as being in the same after-school activities or the same class. Leaving school, becoming older, and having our worlds exist beyond school walls change our entire understanding of what a friend is and how we look to find friends. We may initially feel out of place or ill-equipped to make new friends without teachers and classmates vetting for us, but we learn. Our understanding of ourselves and how we grow from various experiences will continue to develop throughout life. Our friendships become based on shared values, being kind and respectful, and being encouraged to live our most authentic lives rather than proximity.
Making Friends: Quick Tips for Young Adults:
- Join a community club; we know we can see your eyes rolling now, but seriously, join a book club, volunteer somewhere, or sign up for an adult sports league
- Make your coffee shop a frequent stop; eventually, the staff will recognize and start speaking to you
- If you’re moving to another city, seek out roommates. By living with roommates, you have the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends
- Consciously make an effort to spend less time on your phone, especially when you’re out with potential friends
- We all have coworkers. Take advantage! The importance of this one is even more crucial in our Zoom-filled world where we already have screens physically separating us
Being a young adult is just about as easy as it is straightforward. Growing up pulls you in every direction imaginable and, as if that wasn’t enough, it will push you out of your comfort zone from time to time into loneliness and isolation. But, throughout life’s trials, putting your most authentic self forward and into the world will attract the people you are looking for. You will find your people regardless of what the status quo says or wants you to believe.
Acclimating to Working Schedules
The college years are usually devoted to catering to your preferences and needs. As an individual, you decide how to spend your time, set your schedule, and understand that no one will interfere with your napping the whole day; it’s up to you. Then, graduation comes around, and you quickly realize that you will have a 9-5 job sooner than you hoped. The days of waking up at noon are numbered. But this is where you always wanted to be; you’re adulting. Still, you wonder, “Why weren’t we prepared for this?”
It is becoming increasingly common for young adults to embrace a “hustle culture” to achieve their professional and financial goals. However, they also understand that hustling is necessary to survive in the modern world, where most companies do not pay livable wages compared to the rising cost of living. Most of the time, this includes working all weekend, skipping meals, and drinking their way through the day with overflowing cups of coffee.
How to (Comfortably) Adjust to Waking up Early and Working:
- Keep caffeine intake to a minimum, really
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Make a conscious effort to eat healthier
- Take time for self-care
- Prepare as much as possible the night before
- Sleep more than staying out late; you’ll feel better when your alarm rings first thing in the morning
- Plan a morning routine with steps you’ll enjoy doing every day
- Don’t lose patience with yourself
You will adversely affect your mental health when you consistently work beyond your limits and neglect your needs. You may even start experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. Our suggestion? Whenever possible, start gradually (You have your whole life ahead of you to work, really). Consider working part-time and gradually increase your hours until you’re ready to take on a 40-hour week.
Moving from student to employee is stressful and intimidating for most of us. It’s common at this launching pad for your career to worry about not being qualified for your job, run through countless scenarios of how embarrassing it will be to fail miserably, and even wonder if anyone will like you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek the support of someone trained to listen.
If you or a loved one have similar thoughts, don’t hesitate to contact us. Whether you’re struggling with finding your authentic self, balancing work and life, or overcoming workplace anxieties, Pure Health Center’s individual counseling can help. We want to help you find your groove in this whole adulting thing. Reach out to us today.