Wake Up, Buddy; You’re A Post-Grad

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Close-up of hand holding a seashell on a beach.

Take a moment to reflect about life, staring at this sea shell. Now, back to focusing on your post-grad life.

It’s been 2 months since I graduated. The whole “no longer in school, hooray for me” mentality is starting to fade.

Although graduating college was a huge accomplishment and some celebration was in order, it’s time I put things into perspective: I am freaking out. And I think I have the right to be.

***

I don’t think I’m alone in this. Post-grad life has a whole new set of responsibilities and mentalities to get used to. Even though this is exciting, there are still a few fears that linger from senior year of college that I’m coming face to face with now.

“Is This Really What I Want To Do With My Life?”

So you get your degree and all is well. Then, you realize “did I really want to be a journalist or diplomat or filmmaker?” What does that mean exactly? I thought I believed that I really wanted to do what I studied. And then, I looked at my fellow graduates and wondered if I was like them, or if they were better than me and I didn’t think I could compete.

Turns out you are not your degree. What you studied in college helps you develop as a person, but it doesn’t define your person. Everyone is different and learns differently. Throughout your college years, you developed many talents and skills. Now, it’s time to put these to use. Try using them all—I won’t settle for just what I think I should be good at. Maybe you’re like me and surprised of what you can accomplish too.

“Will I Ever Find A Job?”

Job searching is a long and tedious process. I’ve lost count of how many applications I’ve sent, all the cover letters I’ve written, and where I’ve applied. It’s exhausting and discouraging to get a reply saying you’re not what they are looking for or “we found someone more capable.” So it’s inevitable to start losing the faith in the job search.

The trick is to keep going. Don’t focus on the job you didn’t get; focus on the next one: the one you WILL get. The right job for you is out there—it’s just a matter of time before the universe brings you together. So let’s “keep calm and apply to jobs” and never let those automatic rejection emails get us down!

“College Friend, Will I Ever See You Again?”

The fear of never seeing your college friends is real. My first month after graduation, I called my best friend every day just to tell her what I had to eat and how good the coffee was at our favorite place. But with time, you wait more and more to call. You don’t know what to say, or you are too busy to call. It puts your friendships to the test. But just because you’re not seeing each other every day, it doesn’t mean they’ll disappear from your life.

Luckily for us millennials, social media keeps us in touch all the time. You know who got hired, who’s getting married, or who is just having a great day. It’s less personal, but practical. I can’t expect all my friends to call me whenever they get hired, so a Facebook status will suffice. Sometimes you just got to embrace social media rather than condemn it. (This doesn’t mean I like you, Zuckerberg.)

New grads, what questions are you now facing? Share them in the comments. 

(Photo: Carmen Guzmán)

About Carmen Guzmán

Carmen Guzmán is a former SALT intern, an alumnae of the Boston University film and television program, and a freelancer in NYC currently serving as an associate producer for a National Geographic Channel documentary miniseries. Follow her rants on Twitter: @cgooseman.

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