How to deal with stress caused by thoughts of life after college

“Don’t allow your closest relationships to fade just because you live hundreds of miles apart.”
(Photos sourced from: UnSplash)
“Don’t allow your closest relationships to fade just because you live hundreds of miles apart.” (Photos sourced from: UnSplash)

Written by: Génesis Ventura

Upperclassmen often wonder what their life will look like after college. It’s easy to feel like you will be in college forever, that you’ll always be studying, participating in extracurricular activities and living across the hall from friends. But that’s not often the reality of post-grad life. The social activities that are your norm in college won’t be as frequent anymore. Many students already have jobs lined up, but some are still searching and stressing.

As a junior, I have found myself stressing about the unknown. I like to have things planned out, so it is hard to accept that there isn’t a secure plan after college. Something that has helped me deal with that stress and anxiety is having conversations with my friends and classmates about those feelings and being vulnerable with them. 

As I’ve progressed in college, I’ve noticed  how students’ prayer requests have changed. Now, almost every week many students have prayer requests about interviews and securing jobs. I’ve noticed that many of my classmates and people around me have been feeling the same emotions as I. 

While greeting for Merge on Sabbath, I sparked up a conversation with Lissy Buck, senior nursing major. She explained her emotions related to post-college life.

 “The best word to describe my feelings on it right now would be anxious,” she said. “There’s so many decisions, so many uncertainties. The level of responsibilities is about to increase like 100 times. I’m scared because it’s going to be a lot of new, but I’m also excited because it’s a change. And in general I really like change.” 

Senior, marketing and film major Ziarah Carrillo explains her thoughts on it as well. “All I know is school and it’s scary that it’s coming to an end very soon. I’ve had internships, but I went in with the student mind. I don’t want to get rid of the student mindset because I believe you are always learning, but it’s going to be different not applying that mindset as an actual student. What will my job be? Am I qualified enough? Where will I go? All these questions and worries are surfacing as my graduation day comes closer.”

An article in Women’s Health & Wellness by Rheyanne Weaver explains that it’s normal for young adults to feel stress and anxiety after college graduation. 

Weaver quotes Andy Hogg, a psychologist, who explains that graduating is an exciting achievement, but the task of looking for jobs can cause stress and anxiety. He explains some ways to help eliminate those feelings.

Planning for life after graduation is among the first things a student should do, according to Hogg. Many college students don’t actually think about transition plans; instead, they just focus on graduation and moving on to their future lives. The best-case scenario, he continued, is that an internship while in college turns into a full-time career after graduation. He advises looking for employment before graduation.

Finding a solid job typically takes three to six months, according to Hogg. Oftentimes, people don’t think about it until they are out of school and out of a job, at which point they start formulating a job search strategy. He advises reading Richard Bolles’ book “What Color is Your Parachute?”, which is a how-to manual for finding a suitable career.

After college, classmates are scattered across different cities, and college friends, the ones that used to be your dorm neighbors, are not as accessible to you anymore. An article in Career Contessa by Oliva Adams gives tips on how to keep those relationships after college. 

Retain the connections you formed in college; they are important,  Adams writes. Don’t allow your closest relationships to fade just because you live hundreds of miles apart. When you need them the most, those friends will always be there for you. This helps you get through the big milestones with someone who can relate to starting an adult life. 

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