From College to Career: 3 Tips for this Life Transition
You were finally figuring the college thing out. You knew your way around campus and had made a group of close knit friends that you may stay in touch with for the rest of your life. The last couple of years the classes were more interesting, and that final practicum placement was life changing.
Now you’ve accomplished the big goal: Graduation. Maybe you’ve secured a job in your field. Perhaps you’re even using that college degree you worked so hard for. But what now?
Moving from college to a career is a big transition. We build up in our minds how much easier life is going to be after college. We look forward to the “real” paycheck and are excited to put to use everything we learned in college. But the transition isn’t always so easy. Whether you’ve moved across the country, return home or stay put after college, you’ll notice your roles starting to shift and change.
1. Express your emotions…all of them
Emotions are complicated. We want to see the world as being polarized: Good or bad. Right or wrong. Unfortunately, things are rarely this clean cut. Yes, you are excited about graduation and your new job. It’s also ok to feel scared. You may feel a sense of grief and loss as you and your college friends spread out across the country. Anxiety may creep in as you wonder if you’re truly ready for your new career. It is normal, ok and healthy to feel a mix of emotions as you start to face the world post graduation. In fact, it’s a sign you care.
You may be tempted to try to push down the unwanted feelings. You may tell yourself that if you just pretend happiness is the only thing going on you’ll be fine. Unfortunately, that’s not how emotions work. Expressing all of the complicated, messy emotions you are feeling is the fastest way to get unstuck, move forward and find pease.
So, let those feelings out. Call a friend and vent. Write in a journal. Dance to the radio. Whatever it takes to acknowledge and accept the wide variety of feelings hitting you right now.
2. Be flexible
It takes time to find a new normal and things rarely go the way we envision. You had your entire college career to build up your expectations about what life post graduation would look like. Give yourself a few months to re-adjust and acknowledge that things will probably look a little different than you planned. Expect the unexpected and give yourself permission to be imperfect. Rather than getting caught up in how things “should” be, focus on each moment as it arrives so you can mindfully, purposefully do what is needed.
3. Find Support
Everyone needs a little help sometimes and moments of change are often when we need support the most. Be willing to reach out and ask for what you need. We often try to prove we can make it alone or hope someone will offer the help we need In reality, people often want to help but don’t know how. Pick up a phone and call a friend to vent. Ask your pastor to talk. Invite a friend over to cry over a cup of coffee.
Counseling for Life Transitions
Mental health therapists have special training for helping people navigate change and grow through adversity. If you are in the Columbia, MO area and want to talk about how counseling can help you or your loved one start over after divorce, adjust to retirement, move forward after loss or cope with any other life transition you can learn more about our services or contact us today. We will match you with a therapist who can help you with your specific situation. Are you ready to move forward? Healing starts here.
Jessica Tappana started Aspire Counseling, a Columbia, MO counseling clinic in May 2017 to provide effective treatments in a caring environment. She carefully chooses therapists who are both caring and provide evidenced based treatment. Aspire Counseling frequently works with college students and young adults struggling with anxiety, trauma, grief, coming out, depression or a variety of other mental health concerns. Healing starts here.