Fighting Post-Graduation Anxiety


Post-Graduation Anxiety






As the graduation season comes to an end, many new grads are facing the fear and anxiety of what to do next.  Transitions always come with doubts and concerns, but this one seems to be especially difficult.  All your life, you are told to do well in school, to go to a good college, and be successful.  But once you’ve graduated from college, what do you do next? How do you become successful? And particularly in today’s horrible economy with hardly any jobs and opportunities, how do you enter the real world?

1. Don’t let the anxiety of the future overwhelm you.

Many students are overwhelmed with the stress and anxiety of the future coming up.  However, this stress has both physical and mental negative effects.  According to Dr. Lisa Firestone, “Anxiety can be a serious psychological condition that limits us in our interactions, our development, and our general state of mind.”  By giving in to stress and anxiety, you stop behaving your best.  You start doubting yourself and become self-limiting.  You give in to your critical inner voice, the self-destructive thought process that creates nagging thoughts and doubts.  This can eventually coax you out of taking on challenges and going after your goals.  So it is very important for graduating students to remain calm during this transition.  By staying calm, you can take power over your critical inner voice and be free to follow your personal goals and best interests.

2.  What you do now is not necessarily what you will do for the rest of your life.

Many students feel that they have to decide now what they will do with the rest of their lives.  This creates a lot of unwanted stress, and the fear of making a wrong decision can be paralyzing.  The reality, however, is that this is just the next step in your life.  People go through many jobs and experiences before ending up in their career.  Many students feel the pressure to find the perfect job immediately.  Society tells us you have to be financially independent and well off, have your own place, be successful, etc… The reality is that it takes time.  You may have to do a little dirty work before you get what you really want.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

3. Enjoy this part of your life.

Commencement is the beginning, not the end.  This is the start of a new part of your life, and it can be just as rewarding as the last.  It is essential to remain happy and keep true to yourself during this transition time.  Don’t give up your interests, hobbies, needs, desires; rather, do things that will encourage them.  Relax for a little bit; you just spent the past four years cranking out papers, studying, taking exams, and it’s not wrong to take some time off. Travel a bit; spend time with your friends.  And know that just because you have started working and entered the real world, you don’t have to lose all the fun in your life.  It is extremely important to enjoy and take time for yourself.

So as graduation season comes to an end, just know that recent college grads from all over the world are asking themselves the same question: “What am I doing with my life?” The answer may not be easy, but if you stay calm, believe in yourself, and follow your goals, you will eventually succeed.  This is the beginning of a beautiful chapter of your lives.

About the Author

Yael Kent Yael Kent is a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara majoring in psychology and global studies. Yael is actively involved in intimacy and relationship research and works in the Close Relationships Lab for UCSB’s psychology department. Yael also works on campus at the UCSB Children’s Center and plans to pursue a Master’s in child development.

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Thank you for this. I am about to graduate and am feeling frightened about whether I have chosen the right career path for me. Good advice to remain calm, thank you

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