Becoming a “Grown-up” While Your Friends Are Finishing College: How to Cope

Mini Keg Stand I moved to Chicago in July, 2007, shortly after graduating from college. Trouble was, while I was starting my life over and transitioning into full time work, most of my friends were still finishing college, or at least living the college lifestyle while they looked for jobs. I would get phone calls from friends on their way out to the bar late on weekdays, reminders that I was pretty much alone amongst my friends in my new career-oriented lifestyle. I imagine many winter grads feel the same as they begin their careers while their friends finish up back at school. For those who go to college, the 21-24 age range can be especially tricky. It's the first time that age really ceases to define your stage in life. After years of following a somewhat guided path through education, always having at least some idea or say in what comes next, everyone is scattered to the wind and left to figure out for themselves what comes next. Some move to new cities to start work (like I did), some move home, some start businesses, some travel, some get married and many take more time to finish school. Coping With the Change I've found two ways to cope with the life stage rift amongst my friends, and both take time.
  1. Get out there and meet people in the same life stage as you.
  2. Give your friends some time—many of them will get to the same stage you're in sooner or later, and when they get there, you can be there to help them adjust to the changes.
I would have given anything to go back and join my friends in college during those first few months in Chicago—but now, a year and a half later, many of them have joined me here to start their own careers. Just give it time. Photo Source: Hello Serjiy, Creative Commons

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