That Awkward Time After Graduation

Graduation commenced, gifts were received, and diplomas were framed. So… now what? This is that awkward time after graduation. Myself, currently jobless, has had more stress after graduating then I did when trying to complete senior year finals. In college, we stressed about group projects and had nightmares about that one lackadaisical fellow that slacked, turned in work late, and contributed nothing positive to the group. Perhaps you stressed about when you were going to have enough time to study for exams, complete homework, have a social life, and sleep/stay sane all in one day. My absolute favorite form of anxiety that made me want to hurl at the sight was displayed on some of my professor’s syllabi and stated that assigned homework was ungraded but necessary for the student’s benefit (note: bolded) that many of us students found ourselves completing only hours before class in preparation for an exam (guilty). Now graduated, jobless, with too much time on my hands, I have found myself contemplating what the heck am I going to do next? This is the time where we have full control over what happens in the next chapter. We all write our own lives and now with school completed (congrats class of 2015) this new chapter depends solely on the individual and how pro-active, fearless, and adaptable he or she is in the real world.

I use “real world” as a term in regards to what I have heard from elders, which is, this place where we start living on our own, begin paying bills, and learn to hate taxes [insert mini-panic attack here]. I am not panicking because the real world sounds intimidating…more so, I am panicking because umm…I am graduated and I have so called entered the “real world” but am: 1. Living at home and 2. Jobless. Combine those two realities and you’ve got yourself an impeccable example of “that awkward time after graduation.” Even when you are pro-actively searching for a full-time job, the notion of knowing you’re jobless haunts you during your search for the perfect job. Oh yes, the perfect job, what does that specifically entail? I hear the bothersome red devil on one shoulder saying, “You won’t love your first job, so who cares what job you take” and an angel on the other, “Do not settle, and keep searching until you find the best fit with a company.” My goodness, my head is now spinning and my eyes are bloodshot from filling out various applications that take too long to fill out online on company websites that need an updated webpage.

The other day, I overheard two girls talking about their horoscopes while at the store. They were reading several disparate categories out loud consisting of their forecasts for their “love & relationships”, “money & career”, and “health & happiness” for the month of June. If I had a dollar for every girl that lives by her horoscope, I wouldn’t be sitting here wearing GAP, but rather Chanel.

If my horoscope worked like a crystal ball and this guidance from the moon and stars predicted my future, I would have been famous about a week ago, fallen in love yesterday, and hands deep on a team project this week. Odds are the forecast of me having a tech project go haywire tomorrow are slim to none. Point is do not let anything or anyone control your future other than yourself. Yeah sure we would love to know what our futures hold but if the future holds something unfavorable, then that would only stress us out more. So, lets take a second to be thankful and forever indebted to not knowing what the future holds. (Takeaway: Trust the timing of your life.)

I have learned that the key to a sumptuous life is to work hard and still celebrate life even when you may encounter pyrrhic victories. Although we cannot control the plethora of outcomes we face, we can control our reactions to them. Marcel Pagnol once said, “The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.” When I read that for the first time, I realized my brain had too many tabs open and that this awkward time after graduation isn’t so bad after all. Humans cannot control everything therefore we need to learn how to let things be. Realizing that it’s okay to not know all the answers is the first step into ridding post-graduation stress and allows us to get closer to where we want to be.

In closing, my advice to graduates that may be feeling the same way as me: Do not overthink; just allow your body to overflow with good vibes. Enjoy this summer because everyone deserves a break after graduating from college because it is such an enormous achievement! Instead of letting stress win, let stress motivate you to find a job or run that extra mile. Let the uncertainty of the future serve as an adventure and you’ll find yourself #winning at life in no time. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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