Those of you who are still in school can feel the summer breeze right at your fingertips. Summer break is almost here and for some of you, graduation is just a few short weeks (or week) away. As I only graduated four months ago, I am standing right with you, super excited but also filled with a bit of anxiety. Some of you may already have your first post-grad job ready to go, while others are still looking, or are still unsure of what they want to do. Have no fear—all of these are perfectly normal, and I actually found myself in the “still looking” category for a couple of months after graduation. I’ve faced some intense job interview anxiety, real-life “not working laziness,” and questioned why in the world I wanted to graduate early. I’ve gotten some help and worked through quite a bit since December, so here some of my strategies for embracing the real world head-on!
Dealing with Job Hunting Anxiety
This was such a real thing for me and I’m sure so many other people who have graduated. That feeling of knowing it’s your last semester and that you have to find a job before you walk across that stage and get your diploma. I vividly remember intense panicking from November to February as I went from just browsing for jobs to interviewing and applying to over 50 in 4 months. I would have such bad anxiety before a job interview that I almost couldn’t get out of bed… frankly, I was a bit of a mess.
But guess what? I found a job. And not just any job… something that truly highlights my talents and is an absolute joy to do each and every day. I know I’m one of the lucky ones and I was able to find a career that is essentially just writing (my biggest passion). I’m saying this to bring up one point—there are plenty of jobs out there. We are graduating at a time in which the job market is better than ever. Sure, it may not be your dream job right out the gate, but it’s part of a stepping stone to build your career. Take a deep breath. You’ll get there. If it takes a week or if it takes a year… just work hard and you’ll find something where you can shine.
Dealing with “Why Was This My Major?”
I haven’t personally dealt with this feeling mostly because I accidentally chose a major and career I’m obsessed with (yes, it literally was just an accident—I really didn’t have any idea what I was doing). This probably happens to less than 50% of people and I know that I am one of the lucky ones. I have, however, seen and known many people who realized they hated their major a little too late, graduated, and then looked for jobs that might just fit their general interests.
Guess what? That’s perfectly normal. There are so many people who don’t work in the field they majored in. As we grow, our interests often morph or change and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you find yourself wanting to branch out and try something different—go for it! That’s exactly what this time is for.
Understanding that Perfection Doesn’t Exist
Hi, my name is Brianna and I am an insane perfectionist. I sometimes find myself battling really dark sadness when my life feels slightly “off” or “imperfect” in any way. But whose life is actually perfect? It doesn’t matter what you look like, how much money you make, or where you live—there is always imperfection at the surface because we are human, and imperfect is what we do best.
If you’re having a hard time, spend some time with people who are real. These are the people in your life who are never trying to put on a show and are always their authentic selves. And then maybe take a break from social media—even for just a couple days. Remind yourself what a normal life is and trust me, you’ll start to feel much better about yourself way quicker than you thought. Lastly, remind yourself every day that you don’t have to be perfect because you are already exactly who you’re supposed to be! I literally have notes written all over to remind myself that I’m good exactly the way I am. It sounds so cliché and goofy, but I promise it works.
Coping with Being an *Actual* Adult
Okay, some of you have had to work full-time jobs while taking care of your own homes (and sometimes little humans or animals) while in school. Skip this last one. I’m addressing those of us who lived at home, lived in dorms, or maybe only had to work a couple of days a week while in college. We are the ones who now have to learn and adjust like never before. For me, I’m taking it step by step.
I’m living at home until Jon and I get married, but I started my first full-time job about two months ago. I have gone to school/worked 5 days a week pretty much throughout my college experience, so I thought that I would be able to crush this full-time work thing. Apparently not. My spaces at home are messy pretty much always because I realized that after I get home and work out… I have like an hour before I need to get to bed. I spent the first month of work feeling a bit like a chicken with my head cut off. And now I’m in charge of more bills and financial responsibilities and it can feel a bit overwhelming. One thing I learned: most “adults” often feel this way still. It takes months of being able to figure out your pace after a life change (new job, baby, etc.). Don’t stress. We’re gonna tackle this somehow. After all, we aren’t the first people to ever graduate and really start fresh.