Post-Grad Confession: How I Survived My First Post-Grad Year

You’ve graduated from university or college. Now it’s time to leave the group of friends you’ve made over the past three or four years, potentially move back in with mom and dad, start paying off your debts and, worst of all, get a real job in the ‘real world.’

Post-grad depression sets in and the reality blues are at an all-time high. Your life starts to resemble the tacky post-grad scenario in Alexis Bledel’s flick, Post Grad.

I don’t think I ate or slept much in the months following my graduation. The past four years had been broken up into four month blocks: first semester, second semester, summer break, repeat. Upon graduating, I had nothing but time and a million ways to fill it. Sounds awesome right? While it is an exciting time, it can easily be overshadowed by stressful decisions and new living arrangements.

There were tears, sleepless nights and many bitten fingernails, but I’m happy to report that I graduated a year ago this month and I’ve survived!

Here’s how I tackled my first post-grad year.

Keep busy!

In my first post-grad year I was lucky enough to start a summer job a few weeks after I graduated. My next two jobs didn’t give me more than a weekend off in between. Two of the three full-time jobs didn’t relate to my degree or what career field I want to work in, but they kept me busy and sane. I also took a college course, I took a bartending course, I went to the gym, I went to circus school and I maintained contact with my best university friends.

But be patient…

I remember feeling guilty that I was so confused and down after graduating university. Having been fortunate enough to get a university degree should have prepared me for entering the working world. Such is not the case.

As independent as university and college programs are, higher education still offers consistent feedback, variety and encouragement that is often not offered in a new career. Remember when you first started university or college? It probably took you about year to adjust to the independence and responsibility.

Don’t feel guilty. Acknowledge how you are feeling and understand that it probably will take a year or two to work out your new living situation, and that is okay.

Talk it out

If you’ve had to move back in with the parents, sit down with them and talk about what they expect from you and what you expect from them. You’ve both found a new groove over the past three/four years. They’ll respect you and you’ll respect them more if you lay down the rules as soon as you get back home.

Talk to them about your job search too. You or your parents have probably just spent upwards of $40,000 on a diploma or degree. Tensions can rise when you still haven’t found a career job six months later. Let your family know how your job search is going or how you are further building on your skills.

What was your post-grad year like? Let us know if it was one of the worst or best times in your life!

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