Your last year of college can be a particularly daunting experience. There's no direction, no guidance and no straight path to follow. As most of your life has been planned out up until that point, being in your final year with no concrete plan can sometimes leave you feeling like the solid ground you're so used to standing upon is crumbling away at your feet.
But, don't panic. Although many of us believe we're the only ones who have absolutely no idea what direction our lives are headed post-graduation, this feeling of unease is very common. In fact, that woman who seems to already have a job lined up may be feeling way more uncertain than she's letting you know.
What about that guy who's had countless internships in a field he's no longer interested in? With many university career services offices providing poor support and a bachelor's degree no longer being the golden ticket to securing a job, it's no wonder post-grad life has become something to fear instead of enjoyed.
The truth is, most people don't really know where they're headed. It doesn't matter whether they're 22 or 62.
Here are four reasons you should say goodbye to those post-graduation blues, and hello to that exciting future:
1. We're still so young.
With college students turning only 22 when they finish their degrees, there really should be no rush for you to accept the first full-time job you're offered. Want to travel? There's no shame in going back to your old part-time job and saving up a little money to spend on exploring the places you've always had your heart set on.
With full-time work comes responsibility. So, post-graduation is the perfect time to take the plunge and see the world. Much of the feeling of needing to secure a full-time job straight after graduation stems from societal pressure. But the truth is, you have the power to define your own normal.
2. Just because it says "entry-level" doesn't mean it's the job for you.
Your first job most certainly won't be your most defining one. This is why it's often wise to not get caught up in the whole "entry-level" hype. Many final-year students feel extremely pressured to land graduate-level jobs immediately after they leave college.
However, remember that while your first job may not be your dream job, your happiness and well-being must still be factored into any job decision you make. Don't be afraid to turn down that demanding job if it just isn't for you.
3. Comparing yourself to others isn't useful.
Don't make decisions based on what your family or friends think. Sure, it's great to get advice from the people who have already secured their first post-graduate jobs, but there's truly no recipe for living that suits all cases. Everyone moves at his or her own pace, so don't stress if you feel like your peers are "ahead" of you.
4. You've just earned a degree.
Yes, your final exams are over. But, don't forget all the hard work, late nights of studying and hours of writing papers that enabled you to graduate. It's a great honor to graduate from college, and it's all too easy to forget this success when you're automatically faced with the "real world." Take some time to appreciate your success, and capitalize on this pride as you enter the job market with confidence.
While life after graduation may seem like the most daunting stage of your life, it could, in fact, be the most exciting. With no more exams, lectures, assignments or deadlines, you'll no doubt be on the path to independence.
More importantly, you'll now earn money. You'll have friends for life and countless memories. Your college experience doesn't have to be forgotten come graduation. Start looking forward to post-grad life, and leave those fears behind.