Graduating college: exciting or scary? Most graduates will experience a mix of both positive
and negative emotions. The first few days after graduating may feel exhilarating; you have
survived your finals, long nights of studying, and living on a twin bed for many years. Mom
probably cried tears of joy watching you receive your diploma as you felt confident walking
across that stage. Yet, twinges of sadness about leaving college life may surface. After a few
days of catching up on sleep and getting some much needed R&R, the realization that things are
about to change is imminent. Post-graduation blues can creep up.
Will I stay in touch with my friends?
Will I get a job I like?
Will I be successful?
Will I meet cool people in the new city?
Am I ready to be an adult?
Luckily, most seniors will have these same fears as it is normal to experience post-graduation
sadness and worry about the unknown ahead. Maybe you are moving across the US to pursue a
new job, or you are moving back home to save up money. Maybe this is the first time you’re
going to have to buy a car and drive yourself around. Adjusting to major life transitions can be
difficult and scary. It is important to practice healthy coping strategies to deal with these
Will I stay in touch with my friends? Will I meet new people in a new city?
You have made many great connections in college and it is scary to think about moving away
and losing touch. College creates a nice built in support network where it is easy to meet people
with common interests. The idea of moving away from this network and forming new
friendships is tough. This is why it is important to get creative. Try to combine hobbies you
love with activities that enhance your social life. While it was easy to get involved on campus, it
will now be up to you to seek out and initiate these social opportunities. Look into joining sports
leagues, professional networking events, and/or volunteer opportunities. Also, you will have to
make a concerted effort to stay in touch with old friends. Luckily, things like Facebook,
Instagram and other social media make it easier to keep in touch. It will also be important to
plan times for deeper connection. Maybe plan a once a week phone conversation with an old
friend or a yearly reunion for something to look forward to. Social connection is important to
thriving after college.
Will I get a job?
This is the first time in your life that you have not had a script or template to work from. After
7 th grade came 8 th grade and after 8 th grade came 9 th grade. But now what? Remember that
finding a job is a full time job in itself. It can take several months and many people seek out help
from career counseling centers and coaches. Try to calm your perfectionistic tendencies. Just
because your first job is not “perfect” does not indicate that you will not find a meaningful
career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most adults change jobs 7-10 times in their
life before finding a good fit. Stop comparing yourself to your peers who you view to have
successful careers right out of college. Everyone is working on something and there is no right
time, way, or age to find your path.
Am I ready to be an adult?
Yes you are! Although change can be difficult, it also allows for the most growth. Allow
yourself to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings (i.e. I am feeling scared and excited at the
same time). Remember to practice the techniques that worked well during previous transitions
(i.e. moving away to college). Practice self-care behaviors such as exercise, good nutrition, and
good sleep hygiene. Remember that you are not 18 years old anymore, which means that 2 hours
of sleep and 2AM burritos will take a toll on the body. This can be the perfect time to practice
caring for yourself as an adult.