Now What? 4 Tips For Dealing With Change After Graduation


Going from a student to a fully-formed adult can be a rocky transition.

It’s a stressful time filled with lots of changes: moving, job hunting, and saying goodbye to college or university friends as you go your separate ways.

You’re saying adios to one stage of your life and facing an uncertain future, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

As the old saying goes, the only thing that’s certain in life is that things are going to change, so increasing your adaptability now will serve you well when you encounter unexpected life events down the road.

So how do you deal with change? Here are a few tips:

1. Accept that you can’t control everything

Things may not pan out exactly as you had envisioned for your career and life post-graduation. Your identity is in transformation mode, so things we were sure about in the past (e.g., friends, your career) now aren’t so clear.

While the unknown can be scary, there is also such a joyful sense of opportunity about what’s next. Daydream about the possibilities that are to come, or create a collage (or Pinterest board) to act as your vision board. Optimism about what your future holds can be a real mood booster.

2. Enlist your friends and family for support

You’re not the only one who’s going through the transition after leaving school, so don’t go it alone! Talk to a friend, family member or a mentor you admire about what you’re going through. Sometimes you need a cheerleader in your corner, who will encourage you when you feel like you’re stuck or overwhelmed.

If you feel like you are better at expressing yourself through writing, keep a journal to keep tabs on how you’re feeling.

3. Be kind to yourself

Sometimes when we’re going through a rough transition, we forget to be kind to ourselves. Be conscious of your thoughts, and choose to be as positive and grateful as you can.

If you’re having a rough day and feel like this whole adulthood thing is too overwhelming, schedule some time for an activity that makes you feel nourished and positive, like going to a yoga class or reading a good book. Taking some time to relax can help relieve some of the stress that comes along with the hectic pace of change.

4. Take action toward building your future

Now that you’ve left school, you have whole world of possibilities ahead of you. How can you start working toward your goals today? Perhaps you’re not in your dream job immediately upon graduation, but that’s OK (and pretty common!).

What small, attainable steps can you take today? Taking action can be the best way to move forward during this transformational time; it will help you avoid feeling stuck or helpless.

As Maya Angelou said, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

New grads: How have you been dealing with the school-to-work transition?

Photo credit: sookie