Completing your college degree is a great accomplishment and reason for celebration. It can also be a very stressful event and life transition. You are leaving the support, resources, structure, and social network of college into something unknown. Additionally, you are probably being asked constantly “so what are you doing now you graduated?”. It feels like you should have everything figured out.
Here are a few tips/perspectives to help you thrive through this transition.
Keep Exploring: Often times there is an expectation that once you graduate from college that you should know what you want to do. Based on that knowledge you should move into a field that you are committing yourself for the next 20 to 30 years. Wow that’s a lot of pressure. Much of that narrative comes from previous generations. For example, my father worked for the same company for almost 40 years. For previous generations there were less career options and more of a value placed on stability both by employers and job seekers.
However, the world of career development has changed. It is reported that individuals have between 12 to 14 jobs and work in 3 to 4 different fields by the age of 40. Additionally, individuals change jobs ever 2 to 3 years. There is much more value on finding work that speaks to who you are and what you want in the moment. Who we are and what we want changes over time. We are not fixed entities. Instead of feeling like you need to commit to a career for the long term, use your first job or volunteer opportunity as a way to explore what you like and what skills you enjoy using.
Life Design: With the focus on finding or settling into to a first job, it can be easy to forget other important other aspects of your life that help sustain you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This includes engaging in non-work-related interests, building support networks, engaging in an exercise routine, and connecting to a spiritual or religious practice. The goal is not just find work but it is to build a life worth living.
Strengths Toolbox:In new situations, we tend forget about our internal resources that have made us successful in the past. Although it feels like navigating the transition from college is unique, you have navigated transitions before. This includes adjusting to college. Think back on a time that navigated a challenging situation.
o What was happening in that situation?
o How did you feel?
o What personal strengths did you use to overcome that situation?
Examples of Strengths can be: Courage, Planning, Self Compassion, Patience, Flexibility, and Optimism.
Once you have your strengths listed, now pick out which strength(s) you would like to draw upon to navigate your current transition. Write about how you will