Graduation Is Upon Us: How To Calm Your Fears And Embrace The Next Chapter
Graduation is upon us and with that comes so many emotions. You’re finally going to be walking across that stage and receiving your diploma that you worked so hard for. That’s something to be excited and proud of yourself for!
Graduation means so much and is such a huge milestone you should celebrate. It’s a tangible goal that you worked so hard to get to and you did!
Now that it’s here and the reality of life after graduation has started to sink in, other feelings of fear, self-doubt and endless questions of “now what?” may also begin to crop up. Fear, discomfort and feeling lost are more common than we realize after a big life change, and completely normal emotions to experience. You’re finally at a point where there’s no “next step” and you can decide where you go next -- and that could be anywhere!
It’s hard to picture where to go next when the possibilities are endless. You might feel like you’re going to struggle to find a “real” job forever. It might feel like other people have it figured out (and some might!) but don’t let that discourage you. It does not mean you’re not going anywhere or that you’re failing. To be honest, you’re life is just starting. You have so much time to experiment and figure it out, on your own terms and your own timeline.
Comparing your life to someone else’s is rarely helpful and unrealistic because even our role models and our peers have had personal demons and obstacles they’ve faced. They have dreams, took risks, failed, went a different way and overcame more obstacles. Everyone has their own stresses and experiences, these are the things that gave them the resilience to get where they are now. They’re no different than you or me, we’re all humans and we can all decide where to go from here.
Not having a plan right after college, or maybe even for months or years after, does not mean you are going to fail in your career or in life. It’s all about growth and baby steps towards the things you think you want and want to try. Stepping out into the “real world” can be a lot so move at the pace you’re comfortable with.
If you find a job in your major and realize you don’t love it, that’s going to be okay, too. There is no prediction of how our lives will play out, the only way to know is to live it. We rarely go down the road we thought we would travel down when we’re young. Instead, we often realize it’s not our road and we no longer want to follow it, even if it’s what our parent’s always wanted.
It’s important to know that you can change your path at any time. There are millions of ways to create a life that suits you and you shouldn’t settle for anyone that doesn’t feel like it’s yours.
It’s important to trust yourself because you know what you want more than anyone else. Allow yourself to be imperfect and try. Perfect is just an idea, like failure. You learn from mistakes. Every time you think you’ve failed, you’re just learning what you like, don’t like and what you’d do differently next time. This applies to everything from your career to your relationships.
You have complete control over your life when you graduate. You can call the shots from here on out. You have more freedom now than you ever will and that’s exciting. The period between “college student” and “real adult” is a fun (and scary) place to be because you can do anything you want, and I encourage you to do that! Figuring out how you want your life to go next is up to you.
College is a great place to build your “dreams” and set yourself up for your future but it doesn’t mean it’s your only option or that you have to use what you learned for the rest of your life. There are infinite possibilities on where to go from here and I encourage you to explore them. Anytime a major chapter closes it’s filled with uncomfortable feelings of the unknown but it’s also giving you the option to be who you want and start fresh.
Getting it wrong before you get it right is just part of the process. It’s easy to think everything is going to fall apart but trust in yourself it won’t, at least if it does, it won’t stay like that forever. You are in control and there’s nothing more exciting than this.
You’ve got this and you’re going to do great things.