What doesn't matter...
1. What school you attended.
Don't get me wrong, I love my school. I love representing JMU in all its purple and gold glory. However, other than having inside jokes or mutual understanding of your campus struggles with fellow coworkers, it's really not important. Your university does not make you a better or worse person, it makes you another college graduate.
2. What your major was.
Literally no one cares. No one liked that question in college, and to be perfectly honest it still doesn't matter. Unless it's a direct correlation for making a connection with someone, your major does not matter. At all.
3. What your GPA was.
We get it, you're smart. We're all smart in our own ways. A GPA is just a number. It's not a defining characteristic of a person. You had a 4.0?? CONGRATS! No one cares. Also, that proves nothing. Some argue it proves hard work, but why do you need to flaunt proof of hard work? It's just one stepping stone in moving to the next step of working hard. So keep working!
4. How much you could drink.
WOOO YOU CAN TAKE SHOTS! So? Did you feel good about it the next morning? Probably not. So please stop talking. As an adult, it's not cute to stumble over your words and wake up hungover only to skip out on responsibilities for the day. Just to be clear, that's not cute as a college student either.
5. Your super social circle.
Everyone likes to feel special. Everyone thinks being surrounded by 200 people means you're "in" finally. I disagree. Even in a circle with 200 people, you can only be close to between 5-7 people at a time. I don't mean that you can't like 200 people at once, but it's nearly impossible to truly care and be close to more than 7 people because relationships take effort and investment. Friendships take work and you should genuinely care about those you consider to be close. A label is one thing, but a relationship means so much more.
6. Being tan.
I'm still not sure why this mattered in college, but it did. I won't lie, I definitely liked the way my clothes looked when I was tan. But, being pale now means wrinkle free later!
7. Social Media.
For some reason pictures and posts generally mean the opposite of their portrayal. When you have fun, just have fun! There's really no reason you have to broadcast it. Also, keep the media sites clean for future employers who may search you!
8. Having the "perfect hot bod".
You know how "dad bods" became a thing? It's pretty much the same reasoning. Just enjoy your life. Eat what you want, drink what you feel like, take care of yourself, and live! Calories only count when you count them. Every person, no matter how fit, has rolls when they don't sit up straight. So chill out. It's not the end of the world to not be a size two with rock hard abs, maybe it's better because you don't have an image to maintain.
I personally never stayed up all night to study or complete an assignment. Once I stayed up so I could watch the sunrise. Honestly... all-nighters don't help you in the long run because cramming information doesn't mean you actually learned anything. Take your time, enjoy each moment, and seize your opportunities. Let's be honest, were you really working anyway?
What DOES matter?
You don't think about it, but the time you spend traveling to and from work is still a part of the work day. The shorter the commute, the less time you spend being annoyed, and the more time you can spend actually working and making things happen.
I am fortunate enough to have parents who are allowing me to stay on their health insurance for a bit of time, but it's still important for me to know my options. If you have questions or concerns regarding benefit options, you need to take responsibility for your well being and reach out to the proper HR personnel to get answers and clarity.
3. Company values.
Find a company with values you agree to upholding. Why waste your time working for a company founded on faulty or missing values? You should be proud of the company name that comes out of your mouth when someone asks where you work.
I'm big on at least 7 hours. I prefer 8 or 9, but I can still function on 6. We all have a different "sleep number" that needs to be met. Find yours. Use it. Don't sacrifice sleep, you need it to maintain health and hard work. Trust me.
5. Real friends.
Social circles shift constantly. Find out who your friends are and move forward with everything. It's important to surround yourself with people who matter and who care. It's not always easy, but you know in your heart of hearts who is good for you and who is harmful. Real friends matter, acquaintances can become friends, just be careful where you invest time and interest.
6. Your wardrobe.
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. It's as simple as that.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. Kindness is free. There is no reason to be anything other than nice. She was mean first?! OMG, it doesn't matter. Be the bigger person and move on, because if she really doesn't matter to you, then you need to understand being mean won't change the situation.
8. Hard work.
You will have people question, judge, test, and belittle you. These things will only affect you if you let them. Cliche, I know. It's true, though. You are as strong as you want to be, and your reputation is as great as you make it. Lead by example. Work hard and be nice, that's all it really takes. And maybe a glass of wine.
9. The Future.
Don't get so caught up in a little momentary occurrence you forget to see the bigger picture. Also remember not to get so caught up in the future that you forget to enjoy the moment you're currently living. It's all a learning process, take the experiences and lessons forward to a better performance.