5 Post-College Anxieties You Get After Graduating (and how to avoid them)
When I graduated college, I panicked. I didn't think I did at the time, but I did. Not only was I scared shitless of starting a new chapter in my life but I'm a perfectionist, and for the first time had no clear direction. I didn't have a job lined up straight out of college, no guaranteed income to support myself, and I had all the distraction of mind-clutter you'd naturally have when entering a new stage in life. But I also knew what I wanted, which is half the battle of overcoming this post-grad low.
1. Holy crap, I don't have a job. What do I do?
Get a job. If you don't have a plushy offer waiting for you from the company of your dreams, which most people don't, don't freak out. I found that while in school, professors groom you to believe that you'll have something straight away after graduation, doing exactly what you want and what you prepared for in college. It just doesn't work that way. They're your professors. Of course they're going to tell you what the institution you're paying $40,000+ a year wants them to tell you. Of course that's what, as YOUR professor, hopes for when you leave college with knowledge they passed down to you. But mostly, you are a young 20-something with no real life experience.
The advice? Get a JOB, until you can find a CAREER. And continue to actively search until that's accomplished. And I don't mean go work at McDonalds. Get an hourly, freelance, or temp job in the related field or position you want.
2. I got two offers from companies I like equally, hit the panic button. What do I do?
Don't panic. This is actually the best situation you can possibly be in, because you got TWO offers when some people struggle with landing one. Secondly, you can use the other offer to leverage what you want with the company you know you'll commit to. This happened to me.
While at a paid internship (get this, post-college internship), which I absolutely fell in love with and knew they were going to make me an offer, I was offered a position at another company. Company #2 was a notable and promising start-up with incredible projected growth, in the field that I wanted to be in. However, Company #1 (my internship at the time) had an amazing work environment, with appreciated quality of life. What sealed the deal for me with Company #1 was that I felt (and still feel) important. Knowing I would be getting an offer from both companies, I graciously declined Company #2's opportunity AFTER I got what I wanted from my offer with Company #1.
The advice? Don't shoot yourself in the foot. Don't decline an offer before you have your ducks in a row with the company you anticipate on committing. On the same note, don't blow your offer with the company you really want by being arrogant or entitled when negotiating. Present your worth and what you bring to the table, lightly suggest what the other company is offering, and explain that you would love to explore the opportunities with (said company) because you love (something #1 you like about the company + something #2 you like about the company). If the company had already laid out the salary/benefits, gently ask if this is negotiable. If they want you, they won't say no.
#ProTip: Be CONFIDENT in your delivery. And be honest with your skills and promises.
3. I feel depressed. What do I do?
Find a hobby. When I was in between graduation and looking for a job, then between having a job and looking for a career, I was so depressed. I was sad and anxious all the time about money, stability, responsibility, my well-being, you name it - I worried about it. I felt like I failed. I had too much time on my hands, which was the root of my anxiety. When you're a student, your free time consisted of clocking around the apartment watching netflix, eating pizza, and drinking with your friends. When you're alone trying to figure your life out, with your friends sometimes thousands of miles away, it's hard NOT to be sad.
The advice? With your extra time find a hobby you love doing, whether that be yoga, hiking, blogging, working out, doing freaking crossword puzzles...anything that's a way to escape for a little bit without digging yourself in a deeper hole. Basically, lay off the video games and binge watching television shows.
4. I moved back home after living on my own at school. What do I do?
Hug your mother. Your parents accepted you back in with open arms, and you (hopefully) aren't paying rent. Appreciate your parents for that, over everything else that might be going on in your life at the moment. Also, don't let the whole living-at-home-and-commuting become an insecurity. You can still have your independence and live with your family.
If you are going to live with the parents right after college, like I do, be prepared for some turbulence in your relationships with them. I thought everything would be A-okay but it was a little rough at first. Your parents have their baby back, and it's hard for them to realize you are an adult. In the same sense, you are not a child anymore. Though it'll always be their job to protect and take care of you, you're no longer a high school student kicking back watching cartoons. The vibes are different and once both parties accept that, it's a lot easier to have enjoy your company!
The advice? Pick up after yourself and go out with friends. Stay out at their apartments if it's a late night. Stay out with the dude unless you plan on bringing him home to Daddy.
5. The party is over, but I don't want it to be. What do I do?
Stop hanging out in fraternity basements. Holy crap, please. Once you graduate, you're pretty much deemed "old," in a collegiate sense. House parties should become a sweet, beer-stenched memory as you proceed (aka upgrade) to rooftop bars and beer gardens.
The advice? Let loose but be responsible. Take an Uber home. Don't do drugs, you could get drug tested. Watch your social media posting, coworkers (or boss) could be watching.