You’ve adjusted to meeting new people from classes every semester, joining extra curricular activities and having a social life on campus, but what happens when you graduate? Most people don’t talk about how hard it is to make friends or find a job after graduation. In reality, I struggled to find a job right away. My friends all moved away, I had to adjust to living back at home and my mental health started to decline.
The University of Washington reports that approximately 53 percent of college graduates are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. The report goes on to say that it takes the average graduate three to six months to find a job, which falls directly in line with my experience.
It took me roughly five months to before I landed a full time job that utilized my degree. Even then, it was a low paying job and wasn’t something that I could see myself at long-term. However, it’s normal for college graduates to not utilize their degree right away, or even at all. Aspects of your life can change; you grow as a person, have different goals than you once did and might see a different path for yourself.
And you know what? That’s okay. Changing the course of your life is okay. There are constant ebbs and flows that come with growing up.
Learn to be okay with where you’re at in the moment. I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t be so hard on yourself and realize that you’re doing the best you can. Take the time to job search but also take care of your mental health, whether by working out, journaling, spending time with family and friends or whatever else might make you happy.
After graduation, I went back to my summer job while I searched for something to utilize my degree. The student debt I acquired from my bachelors hovered over me and I knew I would go crazy if I didn’t have something to do other than apply for jobs. In all honesty, I enjoyed working there that summer because it was time to relax from the pressures of school. All I had to worry about was making some payments on my loans and finding a “big girl job”.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all puppies and rainbows. I still struggled to keep in touch with friends or make new ones. Looking back, I wish I had attempted to make friends with people at the gym or join a small group at a local church. Although, looking back, the biggest thing I learned during that summer before I found a full time job was to give myself some grace (no pun intended).
I had to learn to be okay with where I was at, learn to push myself to be more outgoing in some areas, but also to be okay with just resting after a hard four years of school. Don’t think of the down time you have as a burden, channel it into something. Use that time to find out what hobbies or passions you have and lean into them. As long as you try your best and take care of yourself something will come around, I promise, your story is just beginning.