Look forward to what comes next
April 29, 2019
So, you’ve finally done it. You’re here. It’s your graduation, the testament to all the hard work you’ve put in over the past four years. The caffeine fueled study binges at the Undergraduate Library, late nights at Red Lion and the days spent on the Main Quad have all culminated to this point. You worked your butt off and earned that degree. It may feel like a huge relief you’ve completed your schooling, but the future ahead can be even more nerve-wracking. With this mentality, the question on many seniors’ minds still remains: What comes next?
A common source of stress that many college students have to deal with is the potential of not having a concrete plan upon their graduation from school. When it may seem like all of your friends have scored their dream jobs or gotten into their master’s programs, it can be easy to feel inadequate and alone. However, the boat you’re in probably has more people in it than you would think at first. Putting things into perspective by talking with others and taking stock within yourself can be extremely beneficial. Vocalizing your feelings to others may also help you find more people that feel the same way as you, and could even lead to finding career inspiration as well.
If you’re in a nervous panic about the approaching date, make sure you take a breath and pause. As with many great things, it can take time to find the right career or educational fit post graduation. Just because you didn’t get your dream job right out of the gate does not mean you will always be living in your parents’ basement. Taking the time to navigate your new adult identity after college could be exactly what you need before diving into the work force. Also, many students take a gap year before going into law school or medical school with good reason. The mental recharge before going back into the fray can help offer perspective and provide worldly experiences, which in turn can help them improve their studies.
Taking time off from the stress of school or work might seem like the wrong move in our high-pressure society, but it should be more encouraged than it already is. When everyone is always wanting to be on the go, take some time to look back on all you accomplished during your time at school. With the high pressure of exiting college and becoming an immediately high functioning member of the community, this can be a very toxic viewpoint to hold. Pressuring students coming off of the stress and strain of obtaining their degrees can cause them to be less effective employees in the future. It may not be the worst thing in the world to not have a plan right out of college.
All in all, I’m not here to tell you what to do. I know graduation can seem scary, stressful and daunting, but I’m also here to tell you even if things aren’t coming together at the moment, don’t lose your strength. The right job or opportunity may be right around the corner. You just have to stay hopeful enough to look for it.
Ava is a sophomore in ACES.