Congratulations — you have successfully navigated your way through college, made it to the finish line, and have entered upon the joys of post-grad life. But what do you do now? If you are a recent college graduate who feels lost about what to do with the rest of their life, you are not alone. Here are some things to keep in mind when navigating the scary, dark world that is the rest of your life (was that dark?).
Things to keep in mind
Post-grad blues are a real thing for anyone, even those of us who are especially ambitious. In fact, some even compare it to the five stages of grief. In school, it was easy to anticipate what came next — after one test came another, after this period came that one. This continued until the end of the year, at which point you were free to do whatever you wanted until the next academic year started. Through grade 12 all the way through college, there was a ladder, and nothing really change in this ease of anticipation.
But afterward, there is no government-mandated plan or rulebook for what follows next, and putting one foot in front of the other has never been as hard as it is in post-grad living. Especially because you are not used to it. For the first time in your life, you are forced to think for yourself. You’ve probably never had to deal with the full cost of living, eating, student loans, managing relationships, and otherwise taking care of yourself all at once. Understandably, it can be overwhelming.
Being financially empowered is crucial to anyone facing that cliff-dive that is post-graduate life. As Jay Z put it, “financial freedom is your only hope.” Make sure to save as much money as possible, as it is common for recent college graduates to not find employment right away. In fact, this is why many colleges and universities measure student employment on a six-months-after-graduation scale. You will need to sustain yourself in the meantime.
In addition to money, be sure to save time. Apply to jobs early instead of waiting until your cap and gown is in your hands and you’re asking “now what?” Stop thinking of a degree as a flotation device. If anything, it is a device that will likely weigh you down first with loans and calls pestering you to donate to the alumni fund. Then, it might open.
Networking is one of the most important tools in life — people are more connected than you think. If you know a guy who knows a guy, who is dating a woman who is in your dream job, your dream may well be within reach. Do not burn bridges with anyone you meet — they may be more significant than you realize. Remember that ego is the enemy.
Nylon also recommends not beating yourself up if you haven’t yet found the perfect job.
Post-grad woes are real. The question of “What are you doing with your life?” may be haunting, especially when comparing yourself to others. So don’t compare. Understand that your path is your own.
Post-grad life is known for being tumultuous and scary. But it should not catch you off-guard. With the right tools, you can be prepared for those first wobbly steps into the “real world.” Be sure to keep in mind that with the right preparation, your post-graduate life does not have to be … the worst thing ever.
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