If you had an amazing college experience, you probably feel like nothing that happens in your life can top the feelings of freedom, self-discovery and pure fun you had. So, after you’ve had your last finals week, last night out with your best friends at your favorite bar, and thrown your caps into the air together, you may wonder what’s left to look forward to. If you’re like a majority of today’s college graduates, what lies ahead after graduation may be an indefinite period of unemployment.
As this is probably the exact opposite of the gainfully-employed-living-on-your-own-in-a-new-exciting-city happily ever after you were dreaming of, staying optimistic can be hard. However, there’s a lot of growth that takes place and happiness to feel in this interim period. If you’re having trouble finding the silver lining, here’s how you can cope with the after-grad blues.
Remember, This Won’t Last Forever
After a few months of post-college unemployment, the future can start to look a little bleak. However, don’t let yourself forget that you will get hired – it’s not a matter of if, but of when – and that there are exciting things ahead.
You’ve Been Given the Gift of Time
In this post-graduation interim period, you may feel short on cash and optimism, but you have been gifted with ample amounts of time. While you should undoubtedly be spending a good chunk of that time searching and applying for jobs, and crafting the perfect cover letter, the rest of the day is completely yours. So, if you’ve been yearning to travel (your graduation money will come in handy for that) or take up a new hobby, now is the absolute perfect time to do it.
Conversely, if you want to add to your resume while waiting for employment, your schedule is wide open for you to take a class, get an internship or a relevant part-time job. Once you get hired, your PTO days will become few and your weekends precious. You’ll have less time to take these opportunities, and feel grateful for what you did when you had the time.
Keep Your Goals in Focus
If you’ve moved back into your parent’s home and childhood bedroom, you might find yourself regressing a little. However, staying optimistic and keeping your goals for the future as a main focus each day is absolutely key. Doing this can help to make your time at home a little less bleak, and motivate you to keep looking and applying for jobs.
Do Something Each Day That Makes You Happy
If reading polite rejection emails from every job application that didn’t go your way isn’t quite making you happy, you need to do something that does. Whether you love to exercise, be outside, spend time with friends or just read a book, doing something that makes you smile each day is important. As an added bonus, because of your extra free time, you’ll have lots of opportunities to do more of the things you love, making unemployment not seem quite so bad.
Don’t Take This Time For Granted
While right now being unemployed may feel less than validating and altogether unrewarding, you will look back on this time in your life and actually miss it a little. Right now you likely have little to no major bills (thank you, student loan deferment) or responsibilities, and all the time in the world and nothing but a future full of possibilities ahead. After you enter the workforce and find that your free-time has decreased, your responsibilities have increased and you start to feel like an actual adult, you’ll find yourself longing for the time in your life where you could stay in your pajamas for a week watching Netflix with wild abandon.
The Only Way Out Is Through
Before you dismiss this trite and overused saying, give it some thought and let it give you some hope. Before you can go on to land your dream job and make your first million, you’re going to have to send out countless resumes, go on your fair share of interviews, and feel the sting of rejection more than once. Almost everyone who’s ever been happily hired has been in your shoes, and has made it through. All you have to do is persevere and wait your turn.
While you may feel like your life post-graduation hasn’t been everything you’ve hoped for so far, don’t give up yet. There are plenty of new experiences to be had, opportunities to make money and fun times ahead. Until you land your first job and are living in this state of unknown, try to enjoy the benefits of ample time, little responsibility and anticipation for what is coming just around the corner.
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