I just graduated with my Master's in Public Administration so I just went through this transition myself.
I graduated college in August of 2021. It felt like it took a lifetime and I was running to the Finish Line with my final classes. don't get me wrong, I got the opportunity to TA and I was having so much fun in my creative writing courses but I do not miss the stress of studying for finals and writing endless papers that weren't going to go anywhere but a professor's desk. but nobody told me how your brain flips as soon as you walk off that stage at graduation. my entire life and the way I think has changed in a matter of 4 months. I've matured in 4 months and that's crazy to think and obviously I will keep maturing. but nobody gives you a crash course on what happens to your brain and what happens to your life afterwards. You fight so hard to get that degree and then you step into a world that you don't even know.
I was having a conversation with a friend recently who is also out of college and we looked at each other and we just said that it's so crazy that a year ago we were going to parties and then cramming for an exam. And now we don't like going to bed late because we have things to do in the morning. But that didn't seem to stop us at 21 but we had an exam the next morning after going out the night before but now it's 23 and 24 we just couldn't fathom that life. Now to us people in college are a bit annoying because they don't know what's up ahead and we do. But nobody's ready to have that conversation.
The Truth of it All:
Workplace: In college, we could set our own schedule around a part-time job or around how we like to even get up in the morning. You could have no classes before noon or you could get away with not even going to classes. But once you graduate and you get a job in your field or get a job in general you don't have that luxury.
Making that transition from student to full-time employee can be so taxing. sitting behind a computer most of the day can feel like you are a shell of yourself and that you don't have any free time. but if you have a planner and you plan around your weeks and have things to look forward to it isn't as daunting as It seems. Remember the people who hired you for that job or for that internship hired you for a reason so you just gotta push through it because they saw something in you.
Job Hunt: I know some people are lucky enough to graduate college with an internship or with a job lined up for them. But some people have to go on that dreaded job search.Includes tailoring your resume, writing cover letters and committing several hours to applying for jobs. You may feel like everybody else is ahead of you that the unemployment rate is still pretty high for young college grads so don't be so hard on yourself. Just keep putting your resume out there and you will find something.
Responsibilities: This one got to me the most, I had responsibilities once I graduated but I didn't know how daunting they were going to be. I have to now keep a planner of everything I'm going to do that day and that week so I can keep on top of things. This includes paying off student loans and making sure I'm hitting the right day to pay those, taking care of my cat in the morning and making sure he's okay, making sure I work out and keep a good schedule with that all along with working a part-time job and still having time for friends and family.
Social Aspect: Being a social life with a support system is so important. It is really easy to shut yourself off when you get busy with everything you have going on. Especially because in college you have your friends and your roommates and so many other people going through the same thing as you but when you get out you feel alone. You can take this time to really figure out who was in your life and who is backing you along with finding out more about yourself and what you need is a person. It is an old time of self-reflection.
Taking Care of Yourself: This one's a big one don't let normal everyday needs go by the wayside. You don't have a dining hall or a fitness center just a few steps away from you now. Now you actually have to take the time to go work out and make sure your body is okay, go to doctor's appointments and make sure you're eating properly. If you don't take care of yourself then you are setting yourself up for success.
Mental Health: This was another one for me that I had to figure out. When I was in college I did take advantage of the student Counseling Center and that helped with my mental health needs. But graduating means losing those resources so if a mental health care provider is what you need especially in this time of change research 1 as soon as you get the chance. It may take a few tries but it will be well worth it for you and for your mental health.
Graduating is scary and I'm still getting the hang of it so don't be so scared because we're all just trying to grasp at straws to figure out the rest of our lives. Don't feel like you have to figure it out tomorrow or that the world is going to end but how have the right things in place to help you transition into this new stage in your life. Just know you're not alone and you can always reach out for help. No one said they had all the answers.