Whether your plans are set in stone or written in pencil, acknowledge adulthood as a stage already entered rather than a stage occurring after graduation.
For some, preparation during college produces a seamless transition into post-graduate life. For others, college is like walking toward the horizon on a flat world—the last year ends as abruptly as dropping off the rim. Come senior year, students teeter on the edge of partial independence, hoping to fall into the vast expanse of full adulthood.While higher education is a worthy pursuit, college ministry author Chuck Bomar explains that college prolongs adolescence. Historically, when a person finished high school and/or turned 18, he was forced to become an adult.Now, because of higher education, college students often do not think about being adults and all the ramifications (paying bills, living situations, etc.) until they graduate. If a student hasn’t figured out his identity, or is on a quest to discover it, he often commits to things only short-term. He may change his mind quickly, or base his identity on what he does and not on who he is in Christ.Because of continued adolescence, young adults tend to marry later, depend on their parents longer, and stay directionless longer. Many don’t start working toward their goals like a house, a nicer car, starting a business, etc. until they graduate.Students should be thinking about post-college life as adults from the moment they begin freshman year.To get out of adolescence faster, consider yourself an adult before you graduate and take steps toward independence. Maybe that means setting aside money for traveling the world the first year after you graduate, or maybe it means researching internships. Don’t wait until your last semester before you start planning.When it comes to what you’ll do and where, it can be scary to put substance to those silhouettes. A good way to start is to find out who you are. This doesn’t simply mean what’s important to you, although that’s a big part of it, but think about how you process information and what motivates your behavior. Do you value the end goal or the journey of getting there? When you solve problems, do you absorb the information and then talk to people about it, or do you absorb information and get alone somewhere to think? Knowing who you are and how you function will give you a good start.