3 Ways to Handle the Stress of Your Upcoming Graduation

With the real world looming and the pressure of finding a job increasing daily, here are three ways to cope.
September 28, 2017
8 mins read

If you are a college senior, this is the part of the year where you start to, for lack of a better term, freak out. Unless you are one of the fortunate few who have already landed a job for after graduation, you are probably so stressed out that you can’t even see straight. If you’re like me, you are beginning to realize that the real world is getting closer and closer, an absolutely horrifying thought after you have spent four years in the fantasy land of college. Staying inside the little bubble of the alternative reality that college has provided sounds incredibly appetizing; however, as we all know, you have to grow up at some point, head out into the world as your own person and make a name for yourself.

While you might feel like there is a dark cloud of impending doom following you around right now, there are some ways you can beat the stress that comes along with graduating college. While you are drowning in school work, job applications and the stress of keeping up your social life, keeping these things in mind can help you have a fresh perspective on your current situation; hopefully, you’ll be able to see all of the taxing aspects of your life right now as temporary inconveniences that can be put aside so that you can make the most of your senior year at the place you’ve been calling home for so long now.

1. Have a Backup Plan

Everyone has an ultimate goal after graduation: a perfect job, a house, friends, a dog or anything else that goes along with being a fully functioning adult. But realistically, those dreams are not always realities, at least not right away. In order to make sure that you are not left high and dry when part of your plan falls apart, it is important to think of a backup plan.

Creating a well-thought-out backup plan does not mean you are selling yourself short or lowering your expectations for yourself. All it means is that you can have something to fall back on, just in case. While this plan is not something you are actively striving for, having it there in the back of your mind as a safety net might take the pressure off of the whole graduation and job application process.

In the long run, taking a few months off after graduation to go back to your parents’ house and save up money while you work at your old high school job is not the worst thing that could happen. This kind of backup plan allows you to have a scenario lined up just in case things don’t work out the ideal way you want them to. Giving yourself some kind of an out will help you calm down and realize that the world will not end if you get a few rejection letters from companies.

2. Do Your Research

Even though you have your backup plan all set up for yourself, it is not the tip-top goal you are working toward. In order to avoid the backup plan from becoming a reality, you have to do your homework when it comes to potential jobs you could commit to after graduation.

You should spend some time looking up potential companies and their locations to find one that best fits your needs. You can do this on your own, or you could take advantage of some on-campus resources. Almost every school has some kind of career planning center where you can go to seek help finding the perfect job for you. This resource is perfect if you want to be proactive about your future, but unsure of where to start.

Additionally, you could spend time on your own surfing the web. If you already know what kind of position you want, or if you have a specific geographic area in mind where you want to settle down after school, you’re already in a great position to start looking for work on your own. Websites such as Indeed, Snagajob and Monster allow you to search a specific field or location, and you can take some time shuffling through the results that come up.

Taking these steps and having a significant amount of research under your belt will make you feel much more comfortable with your current situation while applying for jobs.

3. Remember to Relax

College is supposed to be the time of your life, so why not end on a high note and go out with a bang? The worst thing you could do is to spend your entire senior year worried and upset while the joys of college pass you by and end before you know it. You have to make sure that you are adding in the right amount of fun!

Take time to enjoy your campus and everything it has to offer. After you walk across that stage on graduation day, your college will no longer be your home away from home. Embrace all of it while you can and appreciate it for everything it’s worth.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, go for a hike, take a yoga class or have a movie marathon with some close friends. Again, graduation will change everything, including who you associate with on a day-to-day basis. Spend as much time as you can with your friends while doing what you love before everyone moves on and goes their separate ways.

The confines of a college campus are comforting and allow you to have a sense of security for four years of your life. When the time comes to break through those bonds, you’ll have the opportunity to discover yourself in an entirely new setting. It’s an exciting, albeit stressful time, but it’s important to see this transition period for what it is—an opportunity, one that you must take advantage of. What you find on the other side of those familiar campus walls might just surprise you.

Annie Farrell, James Madison University

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Annie Farrell

James Madison University
Writing, Rhetoric & Techincal Communications

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