Life after graduation is the tangible, petrifying “afterlife” of the average twenty-odd year old. While college may have initially been an overwhelming idea, four years and some incredible memories later, the last thing a college senior desires is to leave the comfort of university and enter into the “real” world.
Post-graduation life is a lot less happy-go-lucky than the years preceding it. Here are eight tips on what to expect upon graduation and how to deal with them:
1. Daily Structure
Although the lack of structure may seem like a welcome change after the years of classes, assignments and homework, in reality it leaves a feeling of aimlessness. This lack of purpose can quickly lead to postgraduate depression in graduates, who form one of the least talked about groups of individuals suffering from the disorder. Having some daily structure to perform ordinary tasks, or investing time into small projects until a job comes about could significant help with the feeling of pointlessness.
2. Value Yourself
Someone will always be doing better than you, and that is a fact that will be rubbed in regardless of how much you try to avoid it. The best thing to do in such a scenario is to remember that your accomplishments are not valued in comparison to another individual’s. Keeping either a physical or a mental list of your own personal achievements and goals can also help you focus on what is truly important – you.
3. Take Care of Your Own Progress
There will not always be someone to commend your efforts and your accomplishments will not have a GPA value attached to them, which may make them seem insignificant. This is not the case however. The adult world is not made of gold stars and progress reports and accepting and adjusting to it is simply a necessary step to being your own person.
4. What Next?
You will be forced to think of the “what next” question no matter what. Instead of avoiding it and having no back up plans, start thinking about your next steps well before it becomes a constant gnawing in your head. If a job is the next logical step, then seek help from career professionals and begin working on job applications before graduating. If graduate or professional school is next on the cards then conduct research on universities, courses and deadlines during your bachelors to avoid as much of a lag time as possible between graduation and beginning the course.
5. Your First Job
Your first job more often than not will not be your dream job, nor may it have anything to do with your college major. That is okay. The next 40 years of your work life will be spent building your career toward your goal anyway, so spending a few years experimenting in other fields and learning skills outside your specialty will only make you a more marketable candidate.
6. Where Are My Friends?
You may not see your friends as often anymore, or your social group may change entirely. Completing your bachelors is not only a momentous step in your life; it is also a more tumultuous change than is given credit for. In such a situation, it is only natural that people drift off to do their own thing based on their priorities. With the blessing that is social media, this need not be as drastic of a change as it was for the generation before us. In time you will find your own set of friends, old or new.
7. Time (Or Lack Of It)
Time that was otherwise spent with coffee in a corner of the library completing assignments is now time that you have to explore interests and hobbies than you have been putting off for years. If you haven’t picked up a novel in a while because of all the literature readings that had to be finished, if you haven’t made an actual meal in between all the ramen that was scarfed down or even if you have been putting off on a TV show you have been meaning to watch – now is the time.
8. Questions, Questions
Finally, the well-meaning concerns and incessant questions from every one you know will not stop, at least for a while. Learn to block them out or keep your tried and tested answers at the ready. Remember, you are the only person who needs to know your achievements and why they matter.
Start by setting yourself some new post-grad goals and then go and make it happen!