When you graduate from college, the world seems full of possibilities. You believe you’ll get where you’re going in a matter of months. Turns out, it can take years to reach those lofty goals of yours. So buckle up, it’s a long ride, but there are some ways to make it through the workforce in your early 20’s.

Our parents raised us believing we are the best and the brightest, and in some ways that’s true, but in other ways it’s not. Life has never been so good for minorities, women and other people who are less privileged. More of us are educated and prepared to work. The trouble is, business isn’t like it used to be. Our parents worked at the same job from 24 to 65, climbing up that ladder to success. That’s just not the reality for people our age. Comparably’s Company Culture Surveys show that most young people have had 2 or more jobs in the past 5 years, but close to 60% of us have clear goals and a plan for our career. We have to adjust to the fact that stability is harder to achieve and most likely we’ll be facing unemployment at some time or another. With thousands of new startups being formed a year, they’re all hiring young employees, but there’s a solid percent of those that are going to go out of business. So start saving up.

Our parents bought houses at a young age, but most of us are still renting. The economy is bad, work is fleeting, and people are waiting till their 30’s to settle down. That’s the truth, that’s the generation we were born into. The previous generations gave us global warming and a terrible economy, but a belief that we can do anything we can set our minds to. And so we will, it just is going to take a bit of time. Here’s what I’ve learned.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re working towards a goal, if you give up after a few months, you’ll never get there. It’s the people who stick around and follow through on their dreams that make them realities. It may take longer than you would like, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Every connection matters. I couldn’t count the number of times that a random friend has connected me to important people that have helped shape my career. Being kind, and staying on good terms with everyone you meet is massively beneficial. Go out and meet new people. The 6 degrees of separation is real, so the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to become friends with someone who can help you achieve those goals.

Work Hard. The best way to make a good impression is to be kind and work hard. Put in that extra effort early on, so you can impress your employers and they’ll be more willing to invest their time and energy into your career. You can’t expect everything to come easily, you have to prove your worth. Millennials can get a bad rep for being lazy and expecting everything to be handed to them on a silver platter. Whether that’s a correct stereotype or not, you’ve got to prove it wrong.

Don’t leave on bad terms. Even if you’re working a job you don’t like. Even if you’re losing your mind working there. Even if your boss is sexist or racist. You never know when you’ll need a recommendation from someone, or when someone will know your previous boss or co-workers in an interview. It may be a difficult situation to work in, but make your exit as pleasant as possible.

Take Educated Risks Be bold, be unique, be different. Don’t be reckless, but your quirks are what make you special and you need to embrace them in order to be an effective worker. Don’t be afraid to take a leap, or try something new.

Be smart on social media That post from you drinking in college can come back to bite you at a job interview. Make sure your twitter, insta, facebook, etc is either private or the posts that are public aren’t embarrassing. You can never be too careful with that stuff. Trust me.

Always Be Learning Keep reading, keep learning, keep growing. Just because you are out of college doesn’t mean your education is over. Stay up to date on your industry, and learn about other industries. With the internet nowadays you can learn just about anything. There are no excuses for not taking advantage of that.

These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned so far. From one millennial to another, you can reach those goals, but it’s going to take a lot of work, and maybe a bit longer than you expected. You got this.