You made it! You’ve graduated college! Now what?
Maybe you think you are set… you have a job lined up, know where you are living, and have a plan for saving money along with paying bills.
Or maybe, you aren’t quite as sure what you are doing yet, but think you have the right idea. You are on the job hunt, or plan on taking a year off to explore, or want to get a part time job to pay the bills while you figure it out.
Or maybe you are still trying to figure out how to start the job search, wonder what you are doing with your life, and question what bills you’ll even need to be making money for. You start to feel a little lost and are missing those college days.
Most likely, you will relate with the latter two scenarios, especially considering only about 14% of this year’s college grad have relevant jobs lined up, according to a poll conducted by AfterCollege and discussed on The Daily Caller. Whatever stage you are in as a recent grad, there certainly are some challenges ahead. Having a job is a good first step, but even once you land that accomplishment, what else are you left to tackle as fresh-faced twenty-somethings (or even thirty-somethings) ready to take on the “real world”? How do you adjust to the pressures of working life, long hours and high demands?
Depending on your situation, college may have allowed you to feel like you were living in freedom for 4 (or 5, or more…) years, and you might start off thinking you’ll have even more of it after you are finished with school. You were excited about graduating and getting to live in the real world, but once you move out of college life (whether back to your parents or on to a new city…) and graduation becomes a memory, you may start to feel some anxiety and pressure creep in and sense a void in your new life.
Transitioning into the real world will take some time and adjustment. This is normal for any transition period of life, but especially so for young adults as you are still figuring out who you are, how you will conduct yourselves in different situations, and what values you will hold closest to you. Each of you will have your own challenges with this transition because it is like grieving the loss of the way your life used to be, learning how to grow into your next stage of life, all while your brain is still maturing. Although you may want yourself to be self-sufficient, coping with so many changes can be overwhelming.
You may also want to feel more independence from your parents. Learning how to differentiate your goals from your parents while still building your relationship within your new dynamic could cause frustrations or strain between you. You may start realizing the differences between yourself and your parents or even have feeling of guilt for having these differences. It’s okay to be unlike your parents in certain ways or even different from how you thought you would “grow up” to be. But that doesn’t always make it easier for you to deal with in your head.
Questions about the meaning of life, if you are on the right path, how to feel accomplished, or simply how to motivate yourself can cause stress on you. Again, it is natural to ponder these questions and feel anxiety about what’s to come or how to get there, but at normal as it can be, it is still hard to handle. One of the best ways to help you through this period could be talking with a counselor to assist you to maneuver though your challenges and questions.
As a counselor myself, I have seen the stress that can arise from young adults transitioning into the real world and understand how they can feel more fulfilled by discovering how to conquer even the smallest of road blocks. I also see how they can provide themselves the insight they need to learn how to deal with changes or gain clarity to their questions. Having a counselor to guide you can be that support you need, as I feel everyone can benefit from talking through their struggles.
A few small tips I can offer would be to grieve the loss of your younger self, but don’t get stuck with facing the new road ahead. Continue to learn as you would a student throughout life. Be humble but confident. Be patient with yourself, but push yourself to your full potential. Be accepting of yourself. Be ingenuitive with finding a job and going after what you want. And don’t let the stress of everyday life overwhelm you too much to not be able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and learn how to keep trying to be that person you want to be (once you’ve figured that part out). Life is ever-changing; change for the better with it.
If you are in the Broward, FL area and would like to try counseling to help deal with with transitioning to the real world, please send me a message or give me a call at 954-675-1936 to schedule a free phone consultation. I’ll be happy to speak with you and look forward to hearing from you soon.