Best Advice for the College Graduate

There are few accomplishments that can surpass obtaining a college degree. Although graduation conjures up emotions such as pride, relief, and joy, there is another, more negative, aspect that some initially overlook. After celebrating a recent graduate will eventually feel the stress that is piled on after graduation. It is how you deal with this stress that will affect your life beyond graduation. I will share with you my experiences immediately after graduation with hopes that you may learn something from it.

About a month before I graduated college I was married which was a little stressful, because we did not have our own place, and I did not have a job yet, because I was finishing my student teaching. Nevertheless, I finally graduated and began to wonder where I could find a job as a teacher. I failed to mention that at that time I was also waiting to become a father for the first time. So here I am, about 22 years old, fresh out of school, recently married, preparing to become a father and I had no job and no home of my own. The stress I felt at that time was beginning to get to me.

Finally, a month after graduation I heard of an opening in a town about an hour away and went to my first job interview. At the interview, I found out that a new teacher had quit in the middle of the year and there was a teaching position available. A few days after the interview, I receive the phone call that I was waiting for. My first interview turned out to be my only interview, and now I had to add moving to my list of stresses.

Eventually, my wife and I settled in, and I began my new career. Once I began teaching these students, I began to empathize with their previous teacher. Just as I was getting comfortable in the classroom, my son was born. As you can imagine, there were a few sleepless nights, although I have to admit my wife did most of the work.

All of this occurred about three years ago, and in hindsight, I often wonder how I made it through that time immediately after graduation. Let me try to outline for you several of the factors that helped me get through this pivotal yet stressful time of my life.

– Family. If it wasn’t for the support (financial and emotional) of my own wife, parents, in-laws, and brothers, I am not sure I would have been able to cope with all of that stress. You may feel like you are on top of the world after you graduate, but if you are not humble enough to accept help, you may find yourself falling flat on your face. I am eternally thankful to my family; they not only showered me with wedding/graduation gifts, helped me move, gave me a place to stay when I needed it, but they encouraged me the entire time to do what I felt was right. Trust your friends and family to help you through the tough times you will encounter after graduation.

– Keeping the end in mind. During the hectic part of my life I tried to envision 2 or three years down the road when everything would settle down. I knew that “This too, would pass.” I tried to tell myself, if I can just get through this week, this month, this year, than everything would ultimately work out. I am still teaching my son is two, my wife and I bought a house, and she also decided to go back to school, so I have another graduation to look forward to. Visualizing yourself accomplishing goals and succeeding will help you endure tough times and give yourself a bit of confidence.

– Persistence. When ever there is something that you want to accomplish, I believe that if you are persistent enough you will have the opportunity to succeed. Persistence can apply to the impending job search after graduation, but it can also apply to other aspects of life that recent graduates may not think about as much such as: improving relationships, raising a family, buying a house, enduring difficult working conditions, and overcoming financial problems. Persistence and faith go hand in hand; they are both helpful tools to the recent grad.

If someone like me was able to survive four of the most stress inducing events occurring simultaneously, than I am quite sure you will be able to cope with the stress that begins to pile on after graduation. You will learn as you go, however seek assistance from loved ones, and have an idea of where you are going, and do not give up until you have made that idea a reality. I look back after three years with a triumphant smirk on my face, because I realize that I have made my visualization from three years ago a reality.

Good Luck Graduates!