Graduating from college can bring both elation and sadness. Celebrating your accomplishments while bidding farewell to close friends, established routines, and those never-ending term papers can be bittersweet. Graduation is a time of reflection; the past few years have been an incredible journey full of challenges you now must make way for new opportunities in life!
Following college graduation, you may not realize that a range of emotions accompanies the start of your new life. You have an excellent job and can afford rent and loan payments without sacrificing your morning coffee fix–which is fantastic! Even with these incredible achievements, however, it’s normal to experience uncertainty in regard to what career path or identity best suits you as a young adult.
After graduating, many of us experience a sense of unease or perplexity as we transition into adulthood. It’s easy to feel out-of-sorts when job hunting or questioning the career path you’ve chosen. Even those who appear to have everything figured out will encounter post-grad anxiety in some form – it’s unfortunately quite common!
It is important to keep in mind that you are not on your own as many young adults can relate when it comes to post-grad anxiety. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with stress or questioning your objectives, here are some healthy methods for managing the apprehension associated with graduating college:
1. Pause and reflect on all that you have achieved!
Post-graduation from college, it can be tempting to turn your attention towards constructing a “five-year plan,” or worst case scenario– ruminating over the fact that you don’t have one! Instead of fixating on potential objectives for the future, own and appreciate what’s already been accomplished: graduating from university. This feat alone should justifiably fill you with pride!
2. Refrain from comparing your journey to that of others.
Post-college life can be a stark reminder that success is not something to be measured by comparison. While it may seem like some of your friends are fast-tracking their way to the top, remember that everyone has their timeline for achieving greatness; there will come a time when you too will shine! Just stay patient and wait for the right opportunity – it’s sure to come eventually.
3. Fuel your ambitions by investing in what you care deeply about.
If you’re a college student and have had to compromise your passions due to lack of time, why not reconsider that decision? Pursuing hobbies such as cooking, painting, or playing sports can be an incredible way for you to relax after long hours of studying. Engaging in activities that make your heart sing will help restore balance in your life and revitalize yourself so that you can stay focused on the tasks at hand.
4. Step outside of your comfort zone and find a new hobby to explore!
If you are having trouble finding your passion, why not try something new? One of the most significant benefits of exploring an unfamiliar activity is that it could potentially lead to discovering a newfound enthusiasm and creating lasting connections. Consider enrolling in an exciting yoga class or teaching yourself how to cultivate herbs – who knows what opportunities await!
5. Spend time with people who make you feel happy and supported.
Hold on to those valuable connections you formed during college! Even if everyone is far away, don’t let these meaningful relationships become obsolete. The people in your life will always be there for you when times get tough – that’s their superpower!
6. Live in the moment.
Forget about that five-year plan for the time being. Instead, focus on bringing to life your ideal self today. Appreciate every moment and be mindful of all the things you can feel grateful for at this very instant. Take pleasure in life’s little luxuries and start crafting who you want to become now!
7. Don’t stress over the big stuff!
Student loan debt can be an overwhelming burden, but don’t let it drag you down. Despite the heftiness of your repayment requirements, there is always a way to make it work – even if that means taking on a second part-time job! Don’t allow this financial stressor to define who you are and what you’re capable of achieving.
8. Nurture your body and mind – they deserve the utmost care.
To cultivate a positive mindset, start with taking care of your physical and mental well-being. Although it appears to be obvious, ensure that you’re consuming nutritious food, engaging in regular exercise activities, and giving yourself enough rest. After college life is over, your body will inevitably inform you that all-nighters are no longer feasible nor can it survive on junk meals alone anymore. When you strive for becoming the best version of yourself – internally and externally – then naturally more optimism about your ambitions will manifest itself.
9. Make your dreams a reality – accomplish something on your bucket list today!
Are you longing to conquer a half marathon? Or maybe writing your book has been on your bucket list for years – what are you waiting for?! Now is the time to accomplish those cherished ambitions. By devoting yourself to goals outside of work, you can discover a whole new perspective when it comes to personal achievements!
10. Embrace the adventure.
Regardless of how your first year after graduation turns out, you can trust that everything will pan out in the long run. You may experience both exhilarating highs and crushing lows throughout this period; from securing a dream role to having your car break down – but it’s important to remember that nothing lasts forever!
* * *
When leaving college and entering the post-grad world, there is no need to be anxious. Have faith in yourself and your future journey, and all will turn out right!
When you cease worrying about how things “should” be and instead embrace the possibilities, you will uncover a plethora of opportunities to build the life that has been your aspiration.
Written by Olivia Adams and initially featured on Career Contessa, this article will provide you with valuable insights.