Life after college can bring a rollercoaster of emotions. And if you’re anything like me, you were completely terrified to graduate. And that’s okay. Here are my tips for maintaining an optimistic attitude even after you leave the happiest place on Earth (yes, I mean college).
1. Apply, apply, apply
Months before I graduated, I aggressively applied for jobs. This may be because I had friends who graduated years prior to me, and I know that they had a hard time finding work. Being the planner and go-getter that I am, I wanted to make sure that I left college with a next step firmly in place. I may not know where I will be five years from now, but I wanted to know where I would be five months from graduation. I stuck to Indeed and LinkedIn for my two online job boards, and I ended up finding my now-job after six months of applications.
I applied to hundreds of jobs before landing this one last April. It wasn’t a walk in the park finding it, but I am so grateful that I started applications in October. It allowed me to get used to the idea of rejection early on.
Even if you don’t have a job by the time you graduate, keep applying. Filling out apps will allow you to always have an end goal in mind: get the job. You could find one sooner than you think!
2. Always have something to look forward to
When Chris and I were planning out Walt Disney World trip, we wanted to pick dates that would be months after we graduated college. This trip is a celebration for us, and we wanted to make sure that as we began working our post-grad jobs, we had something to look forward to. And after we get back from this trip, we plan to pick our next trip ASAP (in our case, it will hopefully be a springtime trip with our college friends!!).
I realize that traveling is not accessible to everyone, but you don’t have to have an expensive trip in mind in order to be looking forward to your future. A weekend brunch date, a new podcast, or even a delicious breakfast every morning can give you the same sense of optimism. Making sure you always have something to look forward to will help you get over the fact that you won’t be returning to your undergrad life.
3. Work toward a goal every day
I am a very goal-oriented individual, and I believe that you should have at least one goal that you are working toward every day. This can be a goal at your job, in your home, within your hobbies, or anything that you can think of that makes your heart beat. It is highly important that you work to achieve something, big or small.
Because I am planning on attending grad school within the next three years, the new goal I will be working toward is studying to retake the GRE. But every day I work toward a goal of booking more meetings at work. Every week I strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Every month I aim to learn something new, whether it is from a book or a podcast.
We learn and grow so much during our undergraduate years. Why can’t we continue to do so post-grad?
These are just a few tips that I use to make sure I am optimistic during this weird and emotional time of my life. I still miss college—I just barely graduated!!—but keeping these things in mind really helps me understand how wonderful life can be. Hey, if you’re like me, we’re just getting started.