No Job? No Problem.
Graduation may scare you because it means you’ll finally have to find a job. Cook says some students feel anxiety because they think they need to find a career that they will want to have for the next few decades. With this economy, it is very common that stress develops from job hunting because jobs can be scarce. “But you have to think what is interesting now and what is fulfilling now. If you do have some bigger goals, find some things that can help get you there,” Cook says. Start small and focus on finding an entry-level job that suits your needs now. Look to see if this job can help you move in the direction you eventually want to move in. And don’t worry—you can always change directions later.
Moving Back In
Back when you first left home for college, you might have thought you’d never move back in full-time. But now instead of moving to a new city to start a job, many students are moving back in with Mom and Dad. Cook says it can be a hard move because some students feel they are moving backward. She says to sit down with your parents and discuss boundaries so you can have freedom while back at home. Just look on the bright side—you will not have pay rent and you live with the one landlord who will probably cook you dinner. Meanwhile, you can save up money from your job to spend when you do move out.
Whatever your feelings about graduating, there are many things you can do to look back fondly on your college years. Here are some of HC’s tips:
Take a Trip
There’s nothing like a good road trip to bond with your friends from college. My good friend, and fellow UNC-Chapel Hill grad, Gloria Holbrook and I have been planning a post-graduate trip for months. We promised each other that if we did not have jobs by my birthday in July, we would head down to Disney World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Knowing that I’ll see my friend so soon after we get our diplomas gives me something to look forward to and makes job hunting more tolerable.
Remember the Good Times
Did you cover your dorm and apartment walls with photos in college? You can still look back on your favorite memories after college, but this time, try something more permanent like a scrapbook. Holbrook started working on hers a week after graduating. “I’m asking all my friends to e-mail me photos from their digital cameras so I can print them for my scrapbook,” Holbrook says. “Putting together a book will keep me busy this summer and by the end, I’ll have an incredible book to look at for years.” If you are not feeling crafty, pick out a cute ribbon bulletin board and fill it with photos from nights out and the graduation ceremony.
Keep up Communication
Despite modern technology, it can be all too easy to lose touch with great friends from college between texting and Tweeting. To stay in touch the old-fashioned way, send your friends cards with your address written on a Post-it. This will encourage them to write you a meaningful letter, and you and your friend can become pen pals, which can really strengthen your relationship. You can even print out a favorite photo of the two of you to put in the card so she can frame it. Follow my lead if you’ve got any far-away friends and send them a care package of things they’ll miss. My old roommate and fellow UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Caitlin Powell is working one last summer at a camp, and I plan on surprising her with a box of goodies to make s’mores. Sending out a letter or package is a tangible way to remember your friends.
Just because college is over doesn’t mean your life has to be. If you do feel overwhelmed about graduating, Cook says you should look on your health insurance website for a list of counselors and find someone who deals with transitions. Just remember there are plenty of people who have been in a cap and gown and have felt the same mixed emotions you are experiencing. Cry, smile and cheer with your friends at your graduation ceremony because over the past four years you worked hard for your degree and you earned it. Enjoy your gradation and good luck with whatever is next for you!
Avery Cook, Clinical Social Worker, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Caitlin Hardgrove, HC Contributing Writer and senior at James Madison University
Cara Sprunk, HC Managing Editor and senior at Cornell University
Gloria Holbrook, senior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Caitlin Powell, senior, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Graduate, IMDb.com