Hey there everyone!
I’ve had a lot of time lately to just think (a little too much, actually), and it’s been producing an overwhelming amount of anxiety. About what? Graduating.
Graduation is supposed to be a time of celebration: you’ve spent the past four years managing to balance 3-4 hours of sleep a night, buttloads of schoolwork, extracurriculars, and other life matters, and all of that hard work culminates in you receiving your diploma.
If you’re someone like me, however, it represents a giant wrecking ball to the face: what the hell am I supposed to do now? I have the paper, now what?
With things coming to a close, the all too familiar questions start to flood the mind:
- Did I take the right classes?
- Do I have enough experience?
- I should have squeezed in another internship!
- What if no one hires me?
- My interviewing skills are basura 🚮
With these thoughts in mind, how do you calm yourself down and trust in the process?
Make a plan. I know it may seem hard depending on your readiness, but sometimes you just have to take the plunge and put some things down on paper. For example, I am always juggling between career paths, so instead of weighing out things in my head constantly, I’ve created spreadsheets on Excel to compare costs for graduate programs, locations, details of their programs, prerequisites, etc. I’ve also created a calendar-like spreadsheet that outlines everything I am doing academically this year (classes, grad school prep, testing) as well as deadlines for applications and registration for any extra courses I need. This way, every time I feel like I am starting to overthink or worry, I can look back to this to make sure I am staying on track.
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. I may make another post about it, but if you’re in a position where you may not feel confident in the experiences you have as far as preparation for a career, try seeking an internship. Sometimes there are last minute postings or openings that pop up after internship application season. If that fails, you can also try getting a job that indirectly relates to what you are studying, or at least develops a skill you may feel you are lacking in. If those two options fail, try volunteering somewhere. If you can’t get paid to get the experience you are looking for, at least try to offer your help somewhere where you can help them out, and you can refine your interests as well.
You can also sign up for a class that gives you a skill, like Excel or Intro to Programming (or something you like, like photography that can also be a great skill).
Make that bucket list. Again, I am saying this from experience: you might not be someone who has had the most ideal college experience. However, if you are going into your final year, there is nothing stopping you from making it the best it can be. Find that one friend (if you have) and try to plan some excursions! Look up fun things to do around your campus and try to do as many of them as you can manage! Even if your experience is filled with some regret, that doesn’t have to be the legacy those four years leave in your memory.
Take advantage of your connections. It annoys tf out of me, but networking really is key. I am an introvert, and someone who doesn’t really like asking for too much help, but I have learned that even if you may not have many, even 2-3 close connections with people can help you out. Reach out to these people to discuss your plans and get some input! See if there is any way at all they can connect you with an opportunity. You never know!
Practice your interviewing skills On your own, you can look up commonly asked behavioural interview questions since a lot of interviews tend to focus on their types of questions. This gives you a chance to really think about your responses so that if these questions come up frequently, you are more confident with your answers. Additionally, you can go to your career services center at your school to practice your interview skills and get some constructive criticism so you can refine this skill.
Have someone take a look at your resume/cover letter(s). You can and should utilize career services to have your resume and cover letter checked out. You may think you have everything, but many times the employees there can pull experiences or skills that you may not have thought of to beef things up. They can also assist you with wording to make you much more competitive.
Don’t ever doubt yourself. It’s SO hard not to do this in a society that pushes a narrative of post-college success and extreme achievers, but this doesn’t have to diminish your self-concept. If you’ve done the best you could during your college experience, trust in the process lol. It may take you longer than others to get where you need to be, but you’ll get there eventually. Try not to compare yourself to your peers. Focus on the goals and deadlines you’ve set for yourself and stick to those. Everything falls into place when it needs to.
I don’t want anyone to think I am spewing off about these things just “because.” I really want to offer advice to those who may be going through the same thing. I am a chronic catastrophizer/spiraler when it comes to thoughts. This is been a huge source of worry for me, and I understand. I know how hard it may be not to stress, but if you force yourself to stick to something and just plow forward, you are taking a huge and important step.
I really hope that this is of some help! Let me know if I missed anything!