Life After Graduation: Managing Stress while Planning Your Next Steps

It’s early – you’ve still got a few months to go before the semester is over, at least one before exams and end-of-term essays become a reality. If you haven’t knocked this year out of the park like you might have meant to – relax, regroup and focus on achieving success in your next academic year.

If you’re graduating – congratulations! You’ve made it through what most students report is a stressful period in their lives. Now you’ve got some form of accreditation and you’re ready to conquer whatever comes next.

Wait – what comes next?

Call it post-graduation stress, quarter-life crisis, PCSD or whatever you’d like but the transition period for students exiting academia to begin their entry into the workforce is a significant event in a graduate’s life that can tax your wellbeing and mental health. Some of the common stressors include:

  • Finding a job in your field of study
  • Determining the best career path to achieving your goals
  • Losing connection with your friends and support networks from school
  • Figuring out your living logistics (moving back in with your parents, relocating, etc.)

Not to mention other social and financial concerns as well. There’s no denying it’s a big change that requires courage, preparedness and a can-do attitude. In today’s blogpost, we’re going to outline some things to keep in mind that can help ensure you feel just as good about finishing school as you did when you were younger and done for the summer.

  1. Don’t Leave Your Planning to the Last Minute:  This one is probably the most important tip for managing the actual workload of your transition. If you’re behind, don’t panic – see #3. At many schools, campus recruiting season starts in the Fall semester and extends into the Spring semester, with offers beginning in March. If you haven’t already investigated your school’s campus recruiting initiatives, make sure you resume is ready and hit the ground running!  Otherwise, there is no better time than the present to begin exploring and applying for job opportunities that commence after graduation.
  • Routine will make you Resilient: We can never be completely certain about what opportunities lay ahead, whether it’s a job offer or a grad school acceptance. Sometimes it’s a pleasant surprise and other times, a bitter disappointment. You can better prepare yourself for success, whatever the outcome by adopting healthy habits now. By creating and enforcing a routine that promotes productivity, health and wellbeing, you’ll be better equipped when you start the next phase of your life, whether it’s your career or starting the new job hunt in earnest. Make sure your routine emphasizes positive financial, organizational physical and mental health habits.
  • Give Yourself a Break: You’re young – most likely in your early 20s. No one expects you to have it all-squared away just yet. More importantly, there’s no age limit on achieving success. In the grand scheme of things, whether you’ve secured a job right out of school or months later will not have any real impact on your career or personal development. Additionally, there’s nothing to be gained from comparing yourself to others – why measure yourself by someone else’s yardstick?
  • You’re not Bound by the ‘Now’: Are you feeling like what you decide to do next will ultimately determine your fate? Relax –  a UK study highlights that 19 out of 20 graduates have changed jobs at least once within three years of graduating. In fact, the average worker holds ten different jobs before the age of 40 and the next generation of workers are expected to move around even more. While it’s important that you choose the opportunities that are right for you and don’t accept the next step begrudgingly, just because you feel like you have to, remember that you can use this next stage as the launchpad for great things to come, whether or not it’s your first choice.

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