Let’s be real: Graduating sucks. You’re saying goodbye to parties, endless pizza, and people you like. And it just rubs it all in when you shake your college president’s hand not having secured a job. You think you’ve failed her, your parents, yourself. Calm down, because I have good news: You're not alone. In a Gradstaff survey of recent college graduates conducted last summer, 86 percent of respondents hadn't yet found a job. Here are the other reasons not to lose your cool if you don’t go straight from college to career:
1. You’re in the best living situation you’ll have for a loooong time.
So, you’re moving back home. Chances are your parents keep the house waaay cleaner than your dorm was, and now you hopefully don’t have to share one bathroom with 40 other people. The fridge is also usually stocked, so you can practice cooking in a real kitchen with actual counter space before you move into your first shoebox apartment. Yeah, you’re living with your parents, but you’re an adult now, so no curfew. But you’re also not a freeloader: You’re still going to throw dad a bone, because what kind of monster would you be if you didn't do the dishes after he cooks you breakfast every a.m.?
2. You can become a (temporary) real, live couch potato.
This is the first time in your life since you’ve been in diapers that you’re actually able to sit around and do nothing. Since kindergarten, you’ve technically been working. You’ve spent 16 years writing papers, giving presentations, doing homework, and working on the steamed brussels sprouts of all assignments: group projects. And even if you're carving out a couple hours a day for *~serious business, you still have ample time to become one with the sofa and marathon Disney Channel original movies.
3. But you’ve also got time for serious job hunting.
Literally no job opportunity will pass you by because you’re filling time every day trolling job boards, reaching out for networking opportunities, and researching your industry. You’re also able to drop everything to go in for a job interview no matter what hour (even if it’s during Ellen); when you’re trying to get your second job, sneaking out of work is so hard—seriously, coming up with excuses other than “I have a doctor’s appointment” is more difficult than you think.
4. And time for other activities that are just as important.
You can take your pick of daytime volunteer opportunities while watching people fight to the death over the few evening spots (Don’t you pity them!?). You can pick up odd jobs for cash the other days, like babysitting or helping your old neighbor clean out her garage. You also get to spend time with your parents as a real adult, where you can develop a different and new relationship with them.
5. You don’t have to deal with coworkers, especially ones you don’t like.
Remember that classmate who you always got partnered with but secretly despised? The one who would sit there munching on celery while you did 90 percent of the project for 50 percent of the credit? Now imagine that, but instead of a semester long, it’s forever long, and instead of one-hour intervals twice a week, it’s at least eight hours every day.
6. You get all the attention.
True, getting asked, “So what are your plans?” by literally everyone gets irritating. But look at it this way: For the next few months, you’re a freaking star. You just graduated college; that’s a big fucking deal. People send congratulations your way, constantly showering you with compliments and, if you're lucky, graduation checks. You probably haven’t gotten this much praise since your bat mitzvah, and you won’t have it again until you get married.
7. You can really think about what job excites you.
You majored in psychology but maybe you’re not sure you want to be a psychologist. Use this time to reflect and research a career you’ll actually like—go on , take internships, and shadow pros in jobs youve only read about. Instead of jumping into a career that makes you feel unsure, you can go deep and figure out the right move for you, so you can enter the workforce in an industry you truly love and be prepared for it. Maybe you’ll even get a spread in your university’s alumni magazine that no one reads!
8. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
You don’t get to pick your work schedule and it definitely doesn’t start at 1 p.m. Most likely, you’ll be there at some ungodly hour every morning and get home around dinner, or later, every night. Your days of getting at least 11 hours of sleep are over once you start working so enjoy it while you can.
9. You don’t have a dress code...
...And you don’t have to spend a fortune on monochromatic work wear until you know exactly what you need. Having some clothes that you can mix and match for interviews will suffice; the rest of the time, you don’t even need pants. You know where you do need pants? An office. I’ll let that sink in.
10. You can follow your passions.
I’m going to say something that may shock you: Sometimes, the job you go to every day isn’t your passion (kind of like that really mean teacher you had in fourth grade that made you be all like, Why are you a teacher if you hate kids?). Not being passionate about your job is OK and normal! But when you don’t have one, you have the freedom to go follow what makes you randy. Whether that’s volunteering or trying new unicorn snacks, you have time to explore. And, once you find a job (and you will), you'll already have set up an activity that de-stresses you and makes you happy. Plus, it’s a great talking point for interviews because they will ask you what you like to do for funsies.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.