Post-grad is going to look different for everyone, however, it’s a huge transitional period for all. It’s possibly the biggest transition since the transition to college. Some of your friends may spend a few months traveling or just taking a break from all responsibilities before even thinking about job hunting, some may jump right into the “real world” with their new “adult job,” and some might not fall into any one specific category. No matter which path you end up going down, it’s important to remember that there’s no right or wrong path. While not everyone is going to experience the same emotions or have the same troubles, that doesn’t mean that your journey is any less valid. Maybe you move back home, you can’t find a job, your friends move to different cities or states; you may find yourself feeling really lonely now that you’re not five minutes from your friends at all times. Comparing your journey won’t do you [or anyone else for that matter] any good, and it won’t get you close to where you want to be any sooner either.
We’ve all heard it, “I can’t wait for post grad because I’m going to have so much more free time.” Sadly, that’s not as true as you might think. By the time you’re at your full-time job, going to happy hour events after work, fitting in exercise, finding time to cook, grocery shopping, doing laundry, having ‘me’ time, seeing your family and more, you’re going to realize that life is nothing but a balancing act. Some of us struggle with saying no because there’s something so exciting about taking on way more than you can manage. Some may seem like they can’t find enough things to fill their time. Regardless of your situation, it takes time to find your flow of post grad and get into a new routine.
While most people transition into the workforce after graduation, I began a 1,200-hour unpaid internship. This sets me up to be in a different position than most college graduates already. On top of my internship, I’ve been trying to find some side jobs to make money, and do things that keep me happy, all with little to no free time. My schedule has been insanely busy, and while I didn’t think this would be a problem because all my life I have been a busy bee, I’ve been having an even harder time adjusting than I expected.
Just like in college, mental health can be one of the things that gets put on the back burner when going through a difficult time in our lives. This transition period was no exception for me. After completing an exercise that has you evaluate how you spend the 168 hours of the week, I quickly realized I was being extremely overworked. ‘Me-time’ and self-care wasn’t high enough on my priority list anymore and it was starting to take a toll on me.
If you’re struggling through the first few months of post grad, know that it will get better after you create your new flow. If time management wasn’t a skill of yours before, it’s going to be now. Like any other period of your life, you and your mental health matter so much. Make time for yourself, learn to say no to people/activities/events that don’t bring you joy, and most importantly, be patient with yourself. We’re not meant to have this crazy journey called life figured out right away.