Congrats Grad! Now What?

 

This past December, I officially changed my title from ‘student’ to ‘grad.’ As relieved as I was to be done with school forever, I consistently found myself fighting off waves of anxiety. Was I really done with something that I had spent four and a half years working towards? Did I really walk in and out of a college campus as a student for the last time?

Me posing in utter disbelief that my college career had come to an end.

Me posing in utter disbelief that my college career had come to an end.

To be honest, it all didn’t feel real to me. This is most likely due to the fact that I’m a Winter grad and my school doesn’t offer ceremonies in the winter (thanks LIM)!

After speaking with a few of my friends who were summer grads, however, I realized I wasn’t alone in my feelings. Amidst the “congratulations” and “you must be so proud!” sentiments that were pouring my way, I was still battling the urge to lay under a weighted blanket with a glass of Pinot.

I’ve spent the past month and a half reflecting and truly deep-diving into what I need/want to do next. During this period of self-reflection, my feelings of apprehension began to morph into something else- frustration. Life is supposed to be starting for someone in my position, so why did I feel like I was waiting on stand-by? Where was my ‘Life as a Post-Grad info pamphlet?’ How about a ‘Welcome to the Real World’ initiation email? Speaking of emails, when TF does my student email expire? Does this mean I’m losing my student discount for Spotify Premium?

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This post goes out to all my recent grads who can resonate with any of the thoughts and feelings I’ve expressed thus far. You’re not alone, it’s ok to not feel the way you’re ‘supposed’ to. I still have some unanswered questions but here’s what I do know:

Finding a full time position IS a full time position

Applying, following up, interviewing, sending thank you’s, the list goes on and on. Luckily I’m still at my full time position but juggling both roles is exhausting. Really carve out time for the application process, it’s only the next most important step in your life after all. Cue the heart palpitations.

You need to reach out to EVERYONE you’ve met thus far for job leads

It’s a known fact that one of the easiest ways to land a new job is by exploring your connections, especially when it comes to larger companies and corporations. Imagine how many resumes a HR department receives a week. Fast track the process by sending well thought-out and non-pushy inquiries to anyone and everyone you may know that could introduce you to an opportunity.

You’re graduating GPA is essentially irrelevant

I’ve had several phone and in-person interviews and not ONCE has someone asked about my GPA. Granted I’m not applying for a tech position at Google or Facebook, but alas.

You need to know how much you cost

This one sucks. Unless you’re a trust fund baby or an oil heiress. Graduating from college inevitably brings about the question- When and how will I be self-sufficient? Some young adults have already had to face this before graduating, and I haven’t forgotten how lucky I am to not have to worry about that until now. Regardless, you need to know how much it costs to keep your lifestyle the way that it’s been and if there are changes you need to make. I know, I’m nauseous too.

Post-Grad depression is extremely real (and normal)

The point I just mentioned is enough to induce this one, but I want to be serious and really stress that post-grad depression is an actual thing. You go from one extreme to another, busting your ass to finish your degree, balancing a job and everything in between. Suddenly you eliminate one of those elements from the equation and what now? Personally, my mind became a constant swirl of mixed emotions. I felt releived, and then wholly terrified. I was oscillating between the extreme motivation to find a kick-ass salary and to hit the ground running to wanting to take a month long nap. Especially living in a city that waits for no one, I spent a considerable amount of time staring at my ceiling wondering What do I do now? What do I WANT to do now? A post-grad support group would be a good idea, no?

That sense of accomplishment everyone keeps talking about? It will dissipate quickly

Refer to my above point.

Only you can decide what’s next

At the end of the day it’s your life and you have to be the one to make the choices. That being said, it’s okay to ask for help. Ask for advice, support, guidance, whatever you need. As exciting as this time should be, it’s also scary and that’s okay. I would be lying if I said I’m still unafraid. The difference is that I’ve realized these feelings are valid.

Believe in the magic of new beginnings.