Handling the Post-College Transition...What’s Next?
So, you've finished your last exams, completed your final paper(s), and still managed to apply to several jobs amid all the chaos. Now you are making the final preparations — taking graduation photos, sending out invitations, or applying for even MORE jobs. The day you've been waiting for endlessly has finally arrived, and as you turn the tassel, walk across the stage, and go to sleep that night you realize you're finally a college graduate.
However, for many individuals, the reality of the months leading up to graduating is nerve-wracking and pushes the mental health boundaries beyond limits. The endless amount of assignments all seem to have the same due date, the rejection emails from jobs/internships seem to be piling up, you realize you are about to graduate with no job, or you have a job secured, and you are about to relocate. Regardless of what the circumstances are a new norm is unfolding and the transition to full-fledged adulthood is unavoidable.
Considering all of these factors unfolding simultaneously and post-college depression being a reality for many, here are some tips to prep and handle the post-college transition.
1. Restructure and Organize Your Life for Your New Norm.
Now that college is not in the picture anymore; this means your life schedule is going to shift. The time you wake up, go to sleep, eat, and even workout may alter. However, to avoid losing a sense of structure to your daily routine, try to make a new schedule. Whether you choose to organize with a planner or the calendar on your phone, finding some order in the midst of your transition can help bring a sense of stability along the way.
2. Avoid Comparing Your New Norm to Others on Social Media.
While you are adjusting to this new norm be mindful of what you see on social media. It is apparent that people mostly post the good that going on in their lives, and comparing your transition to your peers can evoke a sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out); especially if you aren't where you'd like to be on your journey. Just keep in mind that in reality you are probably not missing out on anything and not everything is as it appears on social media. Just stay focused on your individual growth and progress.
3. Have a Positive Outlook and Don't Give Up.
Mindset and perspective are everything. The way you choose to look at your situation, yourself, and your future is what will either make or break you at any point during your journey. If your post-graduate life is not what you expected; that is okay! Do not doubt yourself or all the hard work you've done to obtain your degree. Readjust your outlook to seek and spot opportunities along the way, and encourage yourself. If doubt or lack of motivation begins to set further in, remind yourself of what you are capable of and don't hesitate to reach out to loved ones for support along the way.
4. Continue Learning and Making Smart Decisions.
Just because you are no longer in school, does not mean you should stop obtaining knowledge. Life can be a journey of continuous learning but in a good way. You have even more time to learn new skills, hobbies, or anything on your professional/personal development without having to worry about a grade being attached. Learning during this new phase is solely for your benefit and can aid in making necessary adult decisions.
5. Set Professional, Personal, and Financial Goals
Lastly, whether you graduate happy, with a job and no loans OR indifferent, jobless, and swimming in debt; becoming stagnant or comfortable in your new norm is a possibility. Granted there is nothing wrong with being comfortable; however, if you are aiming to grow and further evolve; setting goals is critical. Setting professional goals could range anywhere from updating your resume to taking steps to get your dream promotion. Personal goals can vary from becoming a black belt to reading more books. Financial goals can range anywhere from paying off student loans to starting a business. Regardless of where you a fall on the spectrum to get there, you have to be willing to embrace change.
Graduating from college is a significant life transition, and not having it all figured out is perfectly fine. Ultimately, being hard on yourself only makes the transition less smooth and leaves you doubting your new norm. However, just like every other transitional period...is just a period; it isn't forever. With some preparation, the time allotted for yourself, and having a positive outlook on the journey ahead; you may look forward to what's next.