Life After College
Does it feel like your friends are getting jobs just to spite you? If so, you’ve come to the right article.
By Kristina Fernandez, Florida State University
So, you’re graduating from college, and this should be the most exciting time of your life, right? Wrong.
It’s not because you don’t have the necessary skills or are unprepared to take on a job if presented with one. Life after college is just strange to think about. Your entire life has been spent in school, and suddenly, you’re thrust into the world. It seems odd that you decided what you wanted to do with the rest of your life when you were just starting college. Now, you actually have to act on that decision, because you’ve passed all of your tests and you’re done.
Anyone who finishes college and doesn’t have a job lined up will experience the dread of having to answer all of those “So what are your plans after graduation” questions, and the fact that you have no answer will drive you crazy, which is understandable. For the most part, these people are merely asking because they are nosy and need to know if you have anything going on. Honestly, if you don’t want to answer, throw them a generic response.
Not having a job after college doesn’t mean that you’ve failed and that you’re going to have a horrible life, even though it may feel that way. It may just mean that you had other things going on that required your attention more than job-searching. Perhaps your last semester was difficult for you, and you needed to focus on your classes. There are plenty of reasons for not having a position lined up after school. Think about it this way: Don’t put the cart before the horse, planning everything out before you’re certain that you are graduating and leaving.
Lacking a post-grad job is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the free time you’ll have to do whatever you want for a period of time. Go on a trip and enjoy your achievement. Other students, who acquired jobs right off the bat, have to report to duty immediately after graduation.
The downside is that you won’t have any money coming in, and you don’t want to rely on your parents forever. Use your free time to volunteer or network; you never know when an opportunity will emerge.
The thought of moving back home and living under your parents’ rules feels like torture. You want to move forward and enter adult life, but, in order to get there, there’s a gap you have to power through first. Worrying about your future and knowing that there are things you want and don’t want means you care, which is a good sign that you won’t be stuck forever.
There will be people who are instantly successful, and it’s annoying. But, remember that someone else’s success is not your failure. They may have something going on right now, but have you heard the one about the turtle and the hare? Take your time and figure yourself out. Make sure you get your footing before you get into anything.
Review your resume, change it and change it again. Build yourself up, and use your free time to prepare yourself for the fight of job-hunting. It can be discouraging to see so many people beginning their careers, and the jealousy will grow inside you as you see other people moving on while you are still figuring everything out. You’ll feel like you’re waiting for an opportunity to fall into your lap or take you to the doorstep of an employer who will look at you and say, “You’re hired!” If you’re going to take something from this, know that if you want something to happen, you are going to be the one to make it happen. Grab your dreams, and never let them go.
Keeping in touch with your friends could also motivate you to push forward. The people who you studied with and got through the hard times of college with may be able to help you advance. They could give you inspiration for your next step, or someone you know could be able to help you get the ball rolling. Keep up your networking; you never know who you may need to contact in the future.
Find out where you want to go. Do you want to move to a new area? Realize what you want from life, and work toward it. The best part of college is that it provided you with the tools to succeed in your field. Don’t worry about being prepared or ready. Whether you’re ready or not, you need to overcome your fear of change and do it.
You’re not the only graduate who didn’t have everything figured out right after walking across the stage at graduation, but you will find your way. You’re not a failure, and you aren’t alone in this feeling; plenty of successful individuals were in the same position you were.
Sometimes, you need to take a step back to gather yourself before taking the next step. In the end, if you have a plan after college, that’s great! And if you don’t, that’s great too. Make the most of your time.