Graduating from college should be the happiest time of your life. However, for some, it may be the complete opposite. It makes sense. You are bombarded with many unknowns like “will you ever see your friends again”, will you ever get into graduate school”, and “will you ever land your dream job”, etc. It can be an equally terrifying and confusing period of your life but luckily, there are many ways to cope with post-grad anxiety and fear.
1. Say in contact with friends
Nothing is as more terrifying than graduating and thinking that you will never see your college friends again as they move back to their home states post-grad. With the invention of texting and social media, it is not difficult to keep in touch with your old pals from college. Heck, even soldiers in the trenches would keep in touch with love ones by writing letters. In this day and age, there is no excuse to not reach out to your friends.
Post-grad is the first time in years that you don’t have to worry about homework or writing an essay. If you have the money or the resources, seize the opportunity and take the time to travel. However, many of us have crippling student loan debt and do not have the money or resources to travel. Instead of running off to far aways lands, you can venture off to the next state over for a change of scenery. Take a few days off and enjoy yourself. Celebrate the milestone of graduating from college.
3. Take a gap year
It is a misconception that a 22 year old grad should have their entire life planned out. For some of us, it takes a little bit of time. A gap year can be extremely beneficial since it gives a person the time and space needed to reflect on career and grad school options. Find something that you are truly passionate about and stick with it. What is most advantageous about a gap year is that you are not rushing into anything that you might ultimately regret, especially a job you are dispassionate about, or a grad program that might contribute heavily to your student loan debt. Take the time to reflect and consider all your options before stepping forward
4. Focus on hobbies
We all do not miss the homework and studying routine. Now, you can use up any free time to focus on your hobbies, whether if it is writing, making films, or painting. Hobbies can also effectively help you get out of a rut. If you don’t have many hobbies, try something new. For example, take up knitting or photography or be bold and try something that you always wanted to do like surfing if you live near the coast or writing plays. Whatever it may be, pursue it.
5. Attend alumni events
Many schools have alumni events that are held in major regions such as the Boston and New York areas. If you are near any alumni events, definitely seize the opportunity and go. This is a great way to network and also talk to alumni who may have also gone through what you are going through now. You can also consider career options by talking to alumni who studied the same major as you.
6. Occupy time through jobs, internships, or volunteer work
Finding a cushy full time job after college can be challenging and lead to a lot of stress. Nothing is as more daunting than going through a list of job postings that all require 5 years experience. Sometimes, it is best to look into internships and volunteer work to help build experience. It is a misconception that internships are exclusively for college students. In fact, many internships actually look for recent graduates as well.
7. Remember all your accomplishments
This might sound corny, but you have to give yourself a pat on the back and remember everything you have accomplished in the last few years. Graduating from college is no easy feat. In the last four years, you have survived writing 15 page essays, studying the night before an exam, and attending those brutal 8:30 am classes. Having a four year degree in your 20s is extraordinary. Though most people in your graduating class might be in their early 20s as well, you have to remember that some people do not graduate or even attend college until much later in life. You have to give yourself more credit for this major accomplishment. You know for sure that it hasn’t been easy.