Coping with Post-Graduation Stress
There are a number of sources out there that describe post-graduation stress disorder as a real diagnosis affecting recent graduates overwhelmed by choices of what they should do once they’re off college campuses. Most post-graduation stress felt by graduates isn’t quite that serious, but it can still be a drain on you if you’re unprepared for this new chapter in your life. To help you enter into the “real world” a bit more confidently and with a little less anxiety, we’ve come up with some tips below on coping with post-graduation stress so that you’re able to spend more time thinking about what you’d like to do next than about how stressed out you feel.
Keep Things in Perspective
You’re not the only recent graduate who has ever faced some stress and uncertainty after graduating from college. You’re not even the only recent graduate feeling that way right this minute. There are many others like you in the same boat, and many others who have come before you and successfully navigated that period of time right after college. Try to keep things in perspective when you’re freaking out after one too many questions of the “What are your plans now?” variety from your parents, family and friends. If you’re worried about your finances, join the club. Many young professionals who are years into their careers worry about the amount of money they’re making and the amount of money they’d like to be making. Don’t use your stress as an excuse to spend beyond your means. Stick to a budget so that you’re not adding credit card debt to the pile of things that already make you anxious.
Even if you did have a job lined up related to your field of study, chances are you would find yourself in a different line of work a few years down the line. Lots of young professionals change their minds about the career they’d like to pursue after some experience in their initial field of study, whether that’s because they realized that career wasn’t for them or they decided to follow another path that was more rewarding. It’s fine then to be a little bit indecisive, as long as you get out there and try to figure out what it is you’d like to be doing by pursuing work in varied disciplines.
Confront the Future
If you’re entering the real world without even the hint of a plan, your time will be better spent thinking about what you’d like to do next than coming up with excuses why you haven’t figured it all out yet. At some point, you’ll need to confront the future, and it’s probably better to do so sooner rather than later, and before you have a large gap on your resume to explain to a potential employer. Do a bit of self-reflection. Sure, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed, but if you stay in that rut it’ll be that much harder to leave your parents’ basement or that low-paying part-time job than if you start thinking about what you should do as soon as you can.
If you haven’t already, think about the kinds of things you could do with the major you chose in college. While many college students end up in careers unrelated to their majors, the obvious route you should start off on in your job search will be related to your field of study. Finding a job isn’t a science and sometimes it does take a while to find that perfect fit, so don’t feel discouraged if you’re not getting immediate calls back about your job applications and position queries. Try to think about what your goals are for your life after college, but be realistic as well. Most entry-level jobs come with entry-level salaries, for example, and while it’s fine to aspire to be someone who climbs up the corporate ladder, you do have to start somewhere. Confront the future confidently but with some common sense, as well.