You are graduating! Congratulations! Think back on the enormous amount of work, time, and energy you put in to achieving this goal. You should be proud of yourself and your accomplishments. But, maybe in addition to the relief and excitement and pride you feel, the whole idea of finishing college and starting something else is scary. It was for me.
Even with all the celebration, it’s important to realize that this is a huge life transition. You may be moving, which entails possibly losing touch with some of your friends and best supporters here at OSU. You may be entering industry or the job market and unsure of what to expect. You may be continuing to graduate school and nervous about the academic rigor of a graduate level program. You may be starting a year of service program or traveling somewhere. Or you may not know what’s next for you. A lot of graduating seniors aren’t sure what’s next for them.
So, how can you manage all this flux and change? What is the best way to approach this transition?
- First, remember to talk to your friends and family about how you feel about graduating; sometimes the easiest way to relieve anxiety is to simply tell someone else about it. If you’re nervous about losing touch with a particular friend or group, let them know that you don’t want that to happen and make a plan to stay in touch.
- Second, get that job preparation process underway! Do research on your industry. Perfect your resume and cover letter. And work on figuring out what’s next. If you have something, travel or work or an internship, lined up, you will feel less fearful. It is never too early or too late to put together a plan. (For more on this, check out our website.)
- Third, begin imagining yourself as a non-student, especially if you don’t remember a time when you weren’t one. One way to do this is to list the differences you see between student life and professional life. Once you have your list, you can find substitutes to fulfill the needs that these essential student characteristics fill. For instance, if one of your favorite things about being a student is the social group you’ve established through the Management Club, than finding a regional professional organization in your field and attending their meetings can provide a substitute.
- Fourth, you will want to really think about these kinds of questions: How will you grow and continue to learn? Who are you without your major to define you? What could you do with your time now that you will be without papers, exams, and group projects? What skills do you have to give to your community? You may not come up with full formed answers yet but asking is still important.
- Lastly, if you can look at finishing college and beginning your professional life as an adventure, instead of as something to fear, you will probably relax about the process. In an adventure, you don’t always know what will come next, what will be around the bend, or what’s in store. Instead of fear, what we feel when we’re on an adventure is excitement and exhilaration. We feel alive and awake! Inspire yourself to look at this transition like a fabulous adventure movie with you as the star. The difference is you only get to do it once; so try not to spend your time worried about what’s to come. Just live it!
Posted by Jessica Baron, Graduate Assistant Career Advisor