I recently read a great Levo League article, Fears of a New Graduate, that is spot on. Fears discussed in the article: Living up to your own expectations, no longer being in a place where learning is an ostensible goal, and a job with no definite end point.
After reading this article I had such a sense of relief knowing I was not the only one with these fears (I don’t why I ever thought I was). I feel that you enter college thinking it is so unstructured – you have all of this new freedom, you get to pick your class times, etc. However, I look back and miss how structured it actually was. I miss the little habitual moments like starting a new semester, scoring the last seat in a class, or my favorite of planning out what leadership position(s) to pursue next.
My dad jokes and says that I spent the past four years in “bubble wrap”. USF was a microcosm of the real world for me. I took on that university with so much passion and drive, joining organizations and taking on opportunities that allowed me to develop both socially and professionally. I never lived off campus; I went right from the first-year dorm to my sorority house, which by the way, was among the best decisions I made in college. You have your whole life to live in an apartment or house.
Here are two fears I have come across this first post-graduate month, and my advice. I hope many of you reading can relate!
1. Taking time off.
A sad reality of graduating is that there are no more winter, spring, or summer breaks. As I neared my graduation, I took that into consideration and had this question running through my mind: “Can I take the time off, or do I have get a job right away to stay competitive in my industry?” I am not sure if there is any right or wrong answer, because I’ve learned that either path can lead to success. I spent last summer in New York City – but not on vacation as much as it felt like one some times. I had a very fast-paced PR internship that kept me on my feet (sometimes literally). Since I started college, I always had a full plate.
Advice: Do not make decisions out of fear. Do what is best for yourself physically, mentally, and financially. I am still partially afraid of having a ‘break’ in my resume, but this three-month break before I move up north will end up being very good for me. I came across acceptances to opportunities this summer away from home, but timing and logistics led me to believe I need this. I will be working at the performing arts center I grew up at with lifelong friends by my side, while staying on track with my fitness and career goals. Looking for a job will be another full-time job – if you take time off, stay proactive!
2. Regretting every decision.
There is the cliché advice to “live life with no regrets!” but as a new graduate, you feel like you are playing the game of LIFE and you question every move. “What if I would have just moved away the week after graduation?”, “What if I do not really want that first job I get?”, “What if I applied to graduate school instead?”
Advice: Make decisions based on what you know. Okay, confession – that is word-for-word my mom’s advice to me during this time. She has said that to me repeatedly and now I find it true. My junior year, I almost did not apply to my New York internship on time because I was in the midst of running for chapter president of my sorority. I thought, “what if I get president? I won’t want to leave Tampa this summer.” I quickly realized that was a silly reason to not apply, and I am so thankful the New York internship door was the one that opened. I promise you that everything works out in the end, and regretting a decision you can not take back will drive you insane and stop you from moving forward. As a graduate, you have a college degree which makes you very qualified to make decisions.