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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

Picture this: You finally graduated with a bachelor’s degree, and you have an amazing future ahead of you. The possibilities are seemingly endless. Before long, however, you find yourself sitting on the edge of the bed, thinking “What now?”

Society has led us to believe that we need to find a job as soon as we graduate. When we face the reality of the working world — employers who refuse to hire us because we have no experience, having no choice but to settle for the minimum wage, and working in toxic workplaces —vit’s no wonder we get stressed and depressed.

Entering the working world can be quite intimidating. The transition from student life to professional life can be especially overwhelming because working a career-based full-time job implies that you are in many ways independent. Add up the financial pressure of covering basic expenses such as food and housing, and now there’s no way to escape the often dreaded “adulting” lifestyle.

If you decide to continue studying for a Master’s or a Doctorate degree, the cycle will inevitably repeat, because there are still a lot of sacrifices to make concerning time, and money. Graduate school is expensive and time-consuming, and if you don’t have consistent study habits, it’s going to be a real hassle. Being a grad school student means you’re basically by yourself and need to work at your own pace, which is dangerous if you get distracted easily. Many students resort to using student loans as a means to pay for their post grad studies, which also has the potential to become a tedious long-term commitment. 

Unfortunately, finding a job during these past few years has become somewhat of a nightmare for graduated students, considering that a diploma is not an automatic ticket to get a career nowadays. The job market has become very competitive, and it’s common for students to undergo lengthy periods of time jobless because what matters most to employers right now is experience. There are other candidates in the working world that already possess the expertise required which can overshadow new job seekers. Gaining experience has also become difficult in and of itself because internships and paid training opportunities are becoming less accessible. Some employers also have unrealistic expectations from recently-graduated students, requiring them to know everything about a company or about a specific topic, when the truth of the matter is that employees will continue learning throughout each and every one of their professional experiences. Although this might be due to employers not wanting to invest more on training programs or other educational resources, the world is ever changing and so are the academic and professional spheres.

When you graduate and switch to a professional life, there’s also a lifestyle change by default. There are going to be aspects of your life that wouldn’t be viable within a working atmosphere, and others that you must change in order to acquire a job. Maybe you will need to move away from your family and friends to get that opportunity you’ve been waiting for so long. These kinds of changes often bring about emotional struggles that are also completely normal. You might have thoughts of loneliness or even experience an identity crisis, but this is something you can deal with healthy coping habits, such as calling your loved ones, practicing your skincare routine or cooking nourishing meals for yourself. Knowing that many students feel this way at some point or another during their post-grad years and that you are not alone is essential during this process.

Usually, graduate students find themselves at an age where their friends might be getting married, buying houses, and having kids. These factors may also have an impact on you. You might start to think that you will never be successful or ruminate over when your time to shine will come knocking at your door. It’s completely understandable to feel wistfulness or even jealousy. The key to overcoming these thought spirals is to never compare your achievements to others’. Everyone has different goals and there are many ways to reach them. Although you might not be able to buy a car right now or become a homeowner, you’re working hard to achieve other goals that are meaningful to you. Graduating is a big step in life, but don’t forget to savor your own little victories along the way.

Finding a job in your dream career is a slow process, but the trick lies in putting in small-yet-consistent efforts to finally get there. For example, if your goal is to work for a big, well-known company,  you might need to start by working in a smaller one in order to acquire the experience. If you strive to have a higher position in the workplace, you will need to gradually build your way up to the top. Life is made of sacrifices, but hard work and dedication are sure to yield positive results.

Job hunting is a very frustrating process. Throughout this journey, chances are you will face many rejections, but this will never mean you’re useless or don’t have what it takes. Even though competition is high right now, don’t give up! You’ll find something, even if you eventually land a job that might not necessarily be very appealing to you or that does not belong to the career path you envisioned. Think of it as a steppingstone to your ultimate goal. If you need and if you can, take a break to just do nothing. You can take that time off to learn new things on your own, to relax, and to ease your mind from all those studying years and then start fresh and focused. 

Astrid Carolina is a grad school student at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. She has a Bachelors Degree in Modern Languages and is currently doing her Masters in Translation. When she's not stressing out over doing her thesis, you can probably find her playing videogames or being crafty. Astrid is out there encouraging people to be themselves without fear!