OPINION | Setting sail: navigating the seas of post-graduation life

When graduation finally rolls around during the spring semester, it is important to know how to prepare for this big day. Whether students have been in school for the past 14 years or took a few breaks in between, some choose to do major preparation, while others may choose to relax and enjoy their final moments before being unleashed into the world. Mason Britton | Sun News Daily

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As the spring semester creeps closer to an end, graduation is amongst students. For some, this might be a time of celebration. Yet, for many college graduates, this milestone also ushers in a wave of fear and uncertainty.

For the last four years, these students have had regular routines in their lives. For most, the day-to-day life included going to class, working and hanging out with friends. This routine is disturbed by the need for job-searching and trying to build a successful career, and on top of that, there is the looming threat of endless possibilities and the real world.

To all the seniors or upcoming seniors, know that you’re not the only person feeling this stress and uncertainty as we get closer to graduation. This might not be the easiest time, but some practices can help make it go a little bit smoother as you transition into the next portion of your life.

While I’m currently a junior in college, I am starting to feel the stress and anxiety that comes with being a senior as it will be me next year. I am already receiving the question, “What do you plan to do after you graduate?” This question is not making me feel more excited for my senior year but rather more anxious.

From talking to my peers or scrolling online, I found that a lot of the anxiety college seniors feel is due to the fear of the unknown once they walk across the stage with their degree in hand. Will they continue their education and get a higher degree? Will they move across the country? Or will they find a job that goes along with their degree?

A lot of this worry stems from needing to make money after graduation. According to Education Data, 54.2% of students have debt from their graduate schools. Graduates need to find a job to pay off their loans, while also needing an income to survive. Most jobs hiring are in industries where college graduates don’t want to continue working, like restaurants or daycares.

However, it’s important to realize that the ideal job might not be the job found right after graduation, and it could take a couple of months to be hired. Within six months of graduating, about 86% of college graduates find a job. The employment rate in 2022 for people 25-34 years old was about 80% and increased to 87% for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Despite all of the fears and anxieties floating around your head, know that you’re not the only college graduate feeling this way. Around 35% of graduates are feeling the same way as you, so you’re not alone. There are so many possibilities once you walk across that stage, which can be intimidating. At the same time, there is beauty in the unknown.

There are endless routes where life can take you, and this is something that needs to be embraced. In order to do so, build a support network of friends, family and peers that will support you on your journey. These people can provide you with motivation while also having your back through your struggles. Find the people in your life that will help take away the pressures that are felt by college graduates.

To ease some of the stresses, start looking for a job or internship now. Don’t wait until after graduation. This can be done by visiting the app Handshake or the Career Services Center. Starting early can allow you to plan your future out ahead of time and also show employers you’re enthusiastic about working.

On top of that, don’t let the pressures of graduating college deprive you of what could be your final college moments. Enjoy life and make those memories because they could help you through any possible struggles in the future.

Walk across that stage in a couple of months proud of what you have accomplished and excited for the unknown future ahead of you. Embrace the period of transition after college and blaze the trail ahead of you.