If you're anything like me, this year you are reaching an important milestone in any students life: college graduation. You've put in your time. Turned in your assignments. Participated in your extracurricular activities. Swam in some debt like millions of other students just like you. Trust me, it is all terrifying. Especially during Covid when graduations are virtual and you work your hardest for years just for your graduation to be at home with your name and face being shown on your computer (if your WiFi works well enough). Once they announce your name, that's it. Your Bachelors, Masters, Ph.D etc. education is officially over. What is next? Hopefully you've thought of some sort of plan before graduation. Hopefully you've applied to jobs, internships, anything to boost your resume and sharpen your portfolio to get your foot in the door of your chosen career field. It's about time to put that new piece of paper to good use. But even with a plan, knowing that you have officially graduated and your academic career is over, is extremely terrifying. The unknown and knowing that things can change in an instant are terrifying. But take a deep breath. I'm right there with you. Let me tell you how I've been coping with post graduation anxiety.
- Socialize (A LOT)
As vaccines have become avaible, I have been fortunate enough to get fully vaccinated and been able to see my other fully vaccinated friends while still social distancing and staying safe with masks and plenty of hand sanitizer. However, even before the vaccines, I still made an effort to contact those close to me setting up virtual dates and Face Time calls to reconnect with friends I hadn't been able to see during this time. It's been so important to stay connected to those you care about. Especially since graduating, I've been making more of an effort to contact people even if it's just a small message or Snapchat to stay grounded and feel connected because the people I care about are my motivations and my resources for advice and ways of taking control of my sanity.
- Reading anything and everything
Before covid, I only really had time to read the assigned readings for my classes and a periodical skincare article or two. Now, I have gone back to my old reading habits from high-school and have bought so many new books and found so many new reading resources to help me disconnect from my phone and feel a little more enlightened by new stories that I've read. I've been reading everything from self help books, YA romance novels, and the ocassional Wattpad story because there are some great writers that are not necessarily those you'll find in your local Barnes and Noble. Reading has been a great way to soothe anxiety and take a break from social media that can definitely be draining when consumed too much throughout the day.
- Indulging in a new hobby
Once I realized that I had more free time on my hands because of graduating, I thought maybe it was time to give myself the opportunity to enjoy an activity that I would have barely had time for while I was in school. Hobbies can seem frivilous and a waste to some people, but I consider hobbies very important as they can be amazing stress relievers and opportunities to learn a new skill. For me that is skateboarding. I had always wanted to skateboard as a kid, but never had the time. So at 22 years of age, I bought my very first skateboard and now ride for thirty minutes a day enjoying every fall and every time I can board over five miles per hour without a helmet. (Because I'm cool, and cool kids don't wear helmets...You should still wear a helmet. Don't be me. Wear a helmet).
- Register for a "fun" class
Academics are great and hopefully you had the opportunity to take classes required for your major or not that were actually interesting and even fun for you. For me, that was a Kpop class I took online Fall 2020. Luckily, it also applied to my major requirements, so I definitely was a lot more invested in my class. However, post grad, you may find that you really didn't have that opportunity and you became so focused on taking specifically your requirements and only classes that applied to your chosen career path. That's totally fine. Amazing even. You're probably even more well equipped for your future. But post grad, you may find that you wish you took a class that could've been the one that took the idea of trying to get that A and worrying so much about the class and allowed you to actually enjoy the subject matter. However, post grad, you still have that opportunity. Community colleges will still allow you to pay for classes that you just want to take to try out. No worries about the grade. Take it pass no pass if you'd like. Even if you've graduated, your academic endeavours don't have to stop once they send you your diploma. If you still want to ride the academic high, sign up for a fun online class at your local community college and see if you'll enjoy learning about something you didn't get the chance to at your alma mater. Sign up for a language class like me or take that fashion design class you thought would be interesting. The academic fun doesn't have to stop at any time for you.
I know graduating can be scary. You've spent four or more years of your life so focused on your academics and passing your classes that suddenly it has finally hit you that that period of time is over. You've closed the chapter on your academic journey. However, it's not the end of the world. If you are motivated enough, you'll have found your niche and your opportunity to finally put those skills and new knowledge to use in your new career path. Or you've decided that you want to take some time for your self before you join the workforce officially. It's all up to you. The world is yours. Make good decisions that you think will put you on the right path to your happiness and success and don't turn back. In the meantime, before you decide what you want to do, take some time to reflect and use my tips to help ease any anxiety that you have built up since graduating. Everything is going to be fine. Trust me. And before I forget, Congratulations, you did it!