post-grad slump

How to Navigate the Post-Grad Slump

After four years of wanting nothing more than to graduate, being finished with school doesn’t feel half as good as you would think.

In my time since graduating from college, I can’t overstate how much I hate hearing someone ask me “What do you plan to do with a BA in English?” Well, I suppose I’ll just have to make fun of you in my writing.

I must admit, I’m happy with the academic route I took in my time at UNC-Greensboro. The thing is, though, I can’t shake off this terrible feeling after graduating — a weird sort of post-grad slump. It’s the kind of scenario that has me buried underneath all my blankets playing games while my family blasts the air-conditioning.

I’m not sure where to go at this point. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy writing (though sometimes it’d be nice to have someone to write essays for you) and I hope to have a life where I can stay on this career path for a living. However, since I’ve graduated, I can’t seem to shake off the nagging thoughts I’ve got going on in the back of my mind. Call it the post-grad slump.

No matter what professions you decide to take on, you need a great deal of both the pertinent knowledge and necessary skills required for that particular field. In my mind, I like to compare it to a well and a bucket. The well represents your knowledge and potential while the bucket can represent your skill.

post-grad slump
You better hope you have a giant bucket for all the water you’re going to need .(Image via Pinterest)

If you want to get the most water out of the well as possible, then you’d better get a pretty big bucket. Likewise, if you want to reach your maximum potential or utilize all the knowledge at your disposal, then you’ll need to hone your skills in order to do so.

I’m sure someone else has come up with this idea before but I can assure you that I came to these conclusions all on my own. Well, I should say that’s not entirely true. Last week I watched “Dragon Ball” for the umpteenth time and felt inspired by the portrayal of its main protagonist.

For those uninitiated with the interweaving and complex tale of “Dragon Ball,” the story follows the adventures of a material arts warrior named Son Goku. While many argue over who this fictional and hyperbolically powerful could beat in a fight, I think these arguments miss the point of what the show tries to teach its audience.

In fact, maybe they should start playing the theme song for the show at graduation ceremonies. I’m not joking. In fact, I think “Dragon Ball” can teach anyone a lot about making progress in our respective fields.

While not everyone wants to be a martial artist like Goku, many people do explore professions that require the same, if not more, discipline to master. Throughout Goku’s story, the audience is constantly reminded that he’ll never be the most powerful being in all the universe.

In fact, the narrative makes a point to introduce new and more powerful characters all the time. The thing which audiences should admire about “Dragon Ball’s” protagonist is his ability to make friends with absolutely anybody.

Even some of Goku’s worst enemies sooner or later become his friend through a mutual respect for one another’s fighting capabilities. While I don’t suggest you start making friends in such a violent way, I can certainly learn from how Goku treats his rivals. No matter what you decide to pursue in your life, you will run into people who are more capable than you in your field.

Graduating (and then experiencing your post-grad slump) is merely one of many more steps you’ll have to take. For a long time, even before I attended college, I dreamed of wearing those robes and receiving a degree. Now that it’s all said and done, as I sit in the midst of my post-grad slump, I think I just wanted to wear those robes so I could feel like a wizard.

post-grad slump
“Yer a graduate, Harry.” (Image via News OK)

In all seriousness, the aimless meandering of the weeks following your graduation ceremony can feel daunting — especially if you don’t already have a job lined up. One good way the post-graduate slump can hit you is through social media. It can be hard not to feel jealous of other’s success when you still feel affected and a bit shocked by the recoil of completing your higher education.

If you’re tired of hearing people tell you not to worry, then I can completely understand. The first steps out into the job market aren’t easy ones to take. The same goes for applying to graduate programs.

With so many options at your disposal, it’s easy to feel stuck and distracted by the blisteringly fast pace of modern society. While I’m no authority on how to deal with these anxieties, I can at least tell you what’s given me solace during the past few weeks.

I studied English to gain a greater grasp of my native language and my writing. I studied it so that I could have the ability to express my ideas articulately and, hopefully, with a bit of sensibility. With that being said, I now have some means to really put myself out there for the world to see. Lately, I’ve been thinking of creating a website to showcase my portfolio and post new writings.

If you’d like to follow my example, try thinking about why you got your degree in the first place. Yes, I know it’s easy to blame cultural hegemony, but try coming at it from more of a personal angle. What are the things you care about? How do those things relate to your education and how can you use it to make something you’ll be proud of?

Higher education can dig a pretty deep well of knowledge and understanding while also providing a large enough bucket to actually use what you’ve learned to its utmost potential. Because of your post-grad slump, maybe you feel lost, hopeless or even as if you’ve wasted your time and money.

While I hope that’s not the case, perhaps there’s something you can do with the memories of your negative experiences in university life. I don’t know, I’m no expert on how to deal with immense regret. The only thing I know is that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read for fun ever again.

Cason Ragland, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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Cason Ragland

UNC - Greensboro

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