You’ve been a student all your life and you tend to take it for granted until you’re about to leave your academic career behind.
For better or for worse, your school days have defined your life for over twelve years and stepping out into the real world can come as a huge shock, even if you think you’re ready for the next stage of your life.
1. You might miss school more than you realize.
For some, school was awful. They were bullied and/or isolated. They struggled with their classes. Homework took up all their free time. They resented being forced to do difficult work on subjects they didn’t enjoy. Graduating college and moving out was a constant daydream for much of their academic careers. Now that they’re graduating, shouldn’t it be the most joyful moment of their lives?
Maybe the graduation itself is, but in the following months, one might begin to realize that there are things about school that they miss. The guidance of teachers, clubs and other extracurricular activities, less financial concerns, and being able to dream a certain, specific future. These are all things that a student might take for granted until they’re gone.
2.You might even become depressed.
Some people fall into what is known as post-graduation depression. They might spend the first few months after graduation feeling lost and hopeless without the routine of school. They might know how the world works on a logical level, but don’t have the real-world experience to put it into practice. This gap in knowledge can make the life they had imagined seem out of reach.
Depression saps your energy and motivation, which can make someone even more depressed because they know they’re capable of doing more but can’t seem to actually do it. It’s a frustrating cycle that’s hard to break out of.
3. You might have regrets.
Maybe you think you had chosen the wrong college. Maybe you settled on a career path much later than your peers. Maybe you spent too much time on extracurricular activities and your academics had suffered, etc. Whatever the case, you might realize in hindsight that you should have done things differently.
College seems to drag on forever when you’re in the middle of it, but that time of your life is gone before you know what had happened. During that time, you may be faced with an overwhelming amount of opportunities. You can’t and couldn’t do everything at once, and learning how to prioritize and plan for the future is an important step in adulthood.
4. Things aren’t as bleak as they seem.
With all the overwhelming emotions, you might find yourself wondering, “What’s the point? It’s all downhill from here, right?” But the generations before you have survived post-graduation and found their way in the world. You will, too. You have a lot to offer the world, whether or not people can see your worth right now.
Give yourself time to adjust and to feel all the emotions you may be feeling. Lean on your support system. Then dust yourself off and get back in the race. Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself and remember that you were smart enough to get a degree, so you will be smart enough to figure out the next stage of your life.