Heyyyyy Congratulations Graduate, I am extremely proud of you for successfully making it through such a long process! The journey has been long, nights have been sleepless, money has be funny and the fun has been endless and now here you are. School is out, Summer is underway and you’ve honestly been needing a break so naturally this all feels good, but when Fall is approaching and you’re not scrambling to register for classes or buy books, you may start to feel a little less joy.
When I first graduated I was thrilled to be D-O-N-E. I thought I would be relieved to move on with my life and not have to worry about school anymore. Not only that, but I moved away from the town I attended college and I was in for a rude awakening. I went from working 3 jobs, taking 6 college classes, having friends and a life, teaching Bible studies at church and leading praise and worship to NOTHING. The day after I graduated I moved back home to Las Vegas and unfortunately all of the people I grew up with had moved away to start college. I started college when I was 16 so the year I graduated, everyone else was just getting started. My post-grad experiences were interesting and also isolating, but I learned from it and I want to share some insight with you. This next stage of your life will be different, it may be something you’ve never encountered before. There may not be people who don’t realize that the “so what are you going to do with your degree?” Question is less than welcomed and you may get annoyed with job hunts, but I want to help you through it before you get to it.
Realize Your Self Worth
You have this awesome Degree under your belt, a new job lined up (maybe not), you’re moving back home, have plans to go back for another Degree or maybe you don’t have a clue as to what you’re going to do which is why you’re here. I’ve been there and it’s such an unreal feeling to explain. I believe that Post Grad-Depression is a real thing. It entails feeling lost at times and not knowing what to do, feeling unproductive or unaccomplished because you’re not breaking your back to submit assignments before 11:59 pm, and most of all it includes feeling guilty for needing to catch up on sleep. You’re exhausted…you have been for the last few years, but it’s easy to put pressure on yourself to do more. When I moved back home I was WORN OUT! I didn’t want to work and I didn’t want to leave the house, but I was sure that it was the “right” thing to do. I applied as a high-end store (one of my favorite brands) and when I got a returned call, they told me I was “over qualified”. I was honestly so hurt because it was a dream of mine to work there. I know I was aiming pretty low by trying to take my degree into an over-crowded, over charging retail store, but I think I would’ve enjoyed it. Even though they didn’t give me the job I still LOVE their products. I later went on to seek a job at another store (also a favorite) and they hired me (yaaaay) but then turned around and only put me on the schedule to work 5 hours per week (booo). I got to a point where I admitted defeat. Who was I kidding? I was WAAAAY too tired to work in the first place and it was time I gave myself a break.
All I wanted to do was sleep and I was okay with that. People would ask what I was doing with my degree, if I had found a good job, what my next step was and why I wasn’t “trying” to find anything to do. Honestly, I really didn’t have an answer for them. My parents always taught me to have value within myself regardless of other opinions or mindsets and this gave me assurance that I could maintain my confidence whether or not I was working or actively seeking a job. As a result, I didn’t work for 6 months. I slept, ate and slept again and it felt good! I want you to realize something very important YOU ARE VALUABLE. Your value is not based on your post-grad performance. If you need a break, if you need to rest, if you need to regroup, do it!
If You Can’t Get A Job
Some people land a great job that exercises their degree before they ever graduate and it seems as thought everything is so beautifully aligned. Others slowly start to regret their major as they draw closer to graduation day. Still some haven’t the slightest clue as to what they want to do so they go chasing after some job that isn’t even close to what they want to do. Working is essential, even the Bible says if you don’t work you don’t eat but more importantly, working a job you like is a MUST especially if you’re planning to work long-term.
Do your best to keep your eye on the prize and remember that you’re valuable. It can be difficult to find a job that you absolutely love and even going after one you’re happy with isn’t a guarantee. The workforce is competitive and there are a lot of great candidates, including yourself. If you’re struggling with finding a good job I encourage you to dig deep inside of yourself, analyze your situation, acknowledge the opportunities you have before you and ask God for guidance. Just because you pursued a certain degree, doesn’t mean that you have to work in that field.
When I finally decided to work again after 6 months, I told God that I wanted to experience different industries and that’s what I did! I applied at a temp agency and told my consultant that I wanted to try out some different things. I actually had the time of my life working at these different places. I worked with a contractor, printer, gaming company, Realestate office and bath and body care company before I decided to settle on a job I liked. Each of the employers really liked me and wanted to make me permanent, but I wasn’t set on any of those places permanently. On the other hand, I was enjoying being adventurous and weighing my options until I found something that I really, really, really liked! There are amazing things that can happen when you step outside of yourself and explore the possibilities.
Do you remember the excitement you had before you started college to own a business or start that career or land that amazing job? Don’t loose that, just re-purpose it and make it work for you!
Planning For the Future (Near & Far)
Having a plan set for the future is very important. Setting longterm and short-term goals can be very effective when you’re starting your new life post-graduation. A few of the things to consider is the time-frame in which you have to start paying student loans back, permanent living situations, career choices, travel and adventures, how much money you’d like to save, etc. Even if you’re like me and you decide to just kick-back, relax and enjoy the pitch black glory of your eye-lids, it’s still very important to give yourself something to look forward to, if not you may just fall into a never-ending pit of self-pity and that is NOT cute honey.
How To Remain Calm Through It All
You have successfully made it through one of the most difficult times in your life and survived, that lets me know that you can conquer anything. Offer yourself some grace, give yourself some time to regroup and remember that your life doesn’t have to be perfect all of the time. You may not have things figured out yet or know your next step after college and that is O-K. What matters is the confidence you have in yourself. You are amazing, remarkable, intelligent, incredible and blessed. Don’t allow negative thoughts, words or situations to bring you down. You’re a champion and I believe that you will make it out on the other side alive. Just relax!