The end of your time at university can feel like a period of hope and excitement for the future. But it can also be stressful — for likely the first time in your life, you’ll no longer have external direction. How do you step forward into this new world? Sit down, take a breath, and set your sights on the future as you read on about making the adjustment.
1. Mind Your Mental Health
In college, you knew what needed doing, enjoyed a ready-made peer group, and had resources of all kinds readily available. As you enter adult life, much of that direction and support falls away. If you’re feeling a bit lost, don’t beat yourself up — you’re far from the only graduate to feel this way.
People in general are prone to valuing their physical needs over emotional ones, and recent graduates are no exception. Even if you’ve put care into figuring out your day-to-day, it won’t make a difference if you neglect your mental health. If you sense that your post-graduation unease is veering into anxiety or depression, seek help. According to Nurx, You may need therapy, prescription-based mental health treatment, or a combination of both to restore your positive mindset.
2. Find a Job
Unless you’re heir to a fortune, you’ll have to find a way to support yourself once you leave school. That means your job will likely be the aspect of your life that takes up the most time and energy. In an ideal world, you’ll find a position that helps you advance in your desired direction and provides a healthy living. Unfortunately, many graduates don’t land such jobs right out of the gate.
If you get work of the former type, it may be a stepping-stone toward more exciting opportunities or feel personally rewarding despite modest compensation. Alternatively, you may find a job that offers a way to pay your bills but not much more. Working only to gain an income is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it’s the norm. At least it allows you to build savings and pass your time more productively than if you weren’t working at all.
3. Secure Reliable Housing
Finding a place to live is no easy task if you don’t immediately find a job or have savings. Still, you’ll need to establish a home base for the sake of your physical well-being and mental health. Look for apartments available to rent and, if need be, find some roommates to split the cost. But if you need to move back in with your parents, don’t be embarrassed. It’s a great financial option, and even before the pandemic, 50% of new college grads planned to do so.
Whether you strike out on your own or return to the family hearth, having a place to live is paramount. Both your personal and professional success depend on having a safe place to rest your head. And once you have your living arrangements set for a while, as with a lease, a significant stressor is removed.
4. Maintain a Fulfilling Routine
Schoolwork is now out of the way, and your work most likely takes place within certain scheduled hours. So when you get home, it can be easy to get lost in all the free time you have. You may face long evenings that contain nothing but ramen, laundry, and Netflix.
In order to make your spare time feel more gratifying, establish a routine that takes personal fulfillment into account. Perhaps you can pursue some old, forgotten hobbies or make a point of seeing a friend every Friday night. Learning to cook will both give you something to do after work and keep you well fed. Maintain a healthy balance to make all parts of your day feel more worthwhile.
5. Stay in Touch With Friends
Your college years are the time of your life when new friends are the most accessible. Almost every part of college life either centers around socializing or involves it in some way. It is such an integral aspect of the college experience that the transition to the adult world can be quite shocking.
After graduation, friends often spread out as they begin new jobs, which brings about an abrupt change in their — and your — availability. You only have so much time and energy to spend on work, home responsibilities, and socializing. But try to at least stay in touch with old friends and put yourself in situations to make new ones. Just having someone to talk to and meet up occasionally with can do wonders for your mental health.
6. Set Attainable Goals
Even with everything else in place, you may continue to have issues adjusting to post-college life if you don’t set goals. However, make sure that the goals you set are truly attainable. It’s one thing to want to learn to “shred” guitar and another to truly and fully build that skill. The vague ending point and lack of specific milestones make it hard to follow through on such an ill-defined objective. Instead, choose some particular solos that you’d like to master instead of hoping to shred in general.
All this is to say that when setting personal goals, ensure that they are concrete and truly possible for you. Don’t just decide to “save more money.” Instead, look at your monthly income and expenses. Do some calculations to determine how much you can comfortably set aside each month. If you aim to save $100 specifically rather than some vague amount, you’re more likely to succeed.
The adult world is a difficult place to live, especially after a lifetime of being a student. Thankfully, you aren’t alone, and you can find help, solutions, and support in many places. You’re ready to take your first steps toward true independence, so good luck!