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How to Balance Adult-ing and Volunteering as a Recent Graduate

Recent graduate
What is life really like as a recent graduate? Bills, mysterious phrases like 401(k) and Roth IRA, weekends without homework, wrinkles, careers ... According to the general population, this collection of alphabet soup equals adulthood.

Recently, I asked Make-A-Wish employee and wish granter Britni Jensen the age-old question: Do we ever really leave the nest? And just as important: How do we incorporate volunteering into our busy lives? The level of involvement required in coordinating a wish from start to finish makes Britni a great resource for understanding how she balances a multitude of adult responsibilities. 

Two things set me on the path to putting together advice for recent college graduates. First, I’m approaching my own college graduation, which has left me speechless at the question, “What are you going to do?” one too many times. After every uncertain response, I wonder how I will survive insurance, rush hour traffic and the 21st century in general. Second, I came across a story in the news about wish kid Randall, who recently received his college tuition wish and will pursue his dream of becoming a pediatric cardiologist. 

Whether you’re at the beginning or end of your college experience, the “what ifs” of post-graduation life can seem perilous.

6 Years Out – Thoughts from a Recent Graduate

Britni Jensen graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Communication and currently works as a social media and web specialist at Make-A-Wish.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received about life after college?

A: The best advice I’ve ever received about life after college is to just enjoy it and not stress too much about having everything figured out. It’s a time where you’re really figuring out who you are, what your path is, etc., and it can feel overwhelming at times – and that’s ok!

Q: What’s a common misconception you discovered?

A: I think a common misconception is that we’re supposed to have everything figured out. That’s just not true. Your 20s are for exploring new things and finding out what you like and don’t like. It can be a difficult transition from college to “real life” but the more things you try, the faster you will find your groove.

Q: How do you balance volunteering with all of the other responsibilities of adulthood?

A: It can be hard to balance volunteering with all of the other responsibilities of adulthood. You just have to plan and set aside the time for it. You also have to figure out what your priorities are and then let go of anything that is not a priority or not serving you in some way. For me, it was letting go of the feeling that I would be missing out on something if I didn’t attend every social gathering. The things and people that matter in life will allow you to fill your life with other things that make you happy – including volunteering!

Q: What is one unexpected thing you love about being a “real” adult?

A: The most unexpected thing I love about being a “real” adult (I don’t believe these actually exist, by the way) is interacting with people outside of the core circle of friends I gained in school. This happens at work, volunteer opportunities, networking events, etc. You gain a lot of perspective hanging out and/or working with people who are older, younger, or just from completely different backgrounds than you. 

For more advice on volunteering, read our post on one volunteer who used her talents to enhance a wish.

Header Image Credit: "97/365" by Sarah Buckley is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / resized

About this Blog

Wish Nation gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Make-A-Wish®. See how wishes come together and how they change lives forever. Hear directly from those who work or volunteer here, or those who have been transformed by a wish. And learn why we are so committed to someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year.

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