At some point after graduation, you will experience post-grad panic; many of you have probably experienced it already. It usually starts when you find yourself struggling to find a full-time job. You get thrown into a state of regrets and new planning and the urge to make life-changing decisions.
This state of mind is usually recurring, and I believe it’s why now more than ever young people are questioning what they want to do with their lives. The longer it takes you to get a job, the more time you have to think. And the more time you have to think, the more time you have to panic.
Here’s an example, in chronological order, of how this spiraling panic might affect you:
You finally graduated! Way to go. Now you have a degree and a resume stacked with collegiate awards and activities. Bring on the job hunt!
A few weeks of unemployment
So you’ve applied to a handful of jobs you felt incredibly qualified for but weren’t called in for any interviews. No big deal! These things take time, right? You’ll tweak your resume, try to get some more positive experiences under your belt and do a little networking. Nope, it won’t be long now. Your dream job is right around the corner!
A few months of unemployment
What were you thinking?! Why didn’t you start looking into the job market while you were still in high school? Why did you major in something that interested you instead of something that would have guaranteed you a job after graduation? Everyone told you that your major ultimately didn’t matter. That if companies saw you had a four-year degree, you’d have a good shot at almost any job. You wish you could find the people who gave you this thread of hope and tell them how wrong they are.
You start thinking that tech school wouldn’t have been such a bad choice; at least it aims you toward a specific job. You start thinking about going to tech school. You start thinking about going back to school for something math or science related. Those people always get jobs, right? Now you remember that health care is a job-filled cornucopia these days.
You start thinking about becoming a doctor. But that would involve years of school. You’d be one of those old interns that are always made fun of on E.R. and Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy and every doctor show ever aired. You decide to become a nurse. Then you make a student loan payment. Going back to school suddenly seems like a terrible idea. It’s only been a few months. You’ll for sure find a job soon.
A few more months of unemployment
Why is this happening to you? You thought you were this awesome person with so much to bring to the job market, but now you fear that you are actually a really lame person without any more to bring to the job market than the thousands of other people applying to the same positions as you. In fact, all signs point to you as having less to bring. Like you brought really good chips to a party only to realize that everyone else prepared a dish.
Now you start to think about how horrible your high school biology teacher was. She made you not like science. It’s her fault you didn’t pursue a better career. And it’s your English teacher’s fault for encouraging you in a subject that apparently has no purpose!
You could go on Facebook to calm yourself down, but whenever you see statuses complaining about work or school you are thrown into a fit of rage. You start to resent your friends who are in grad school and secretly hope that it takes them at least a year to find a job after graduation. You start thinking about grad school. And then you remember your current student loan debt. What would you go to grad school for, anyway? English??
You finally get an internship or a job that is at least somewhat in your field. See, you had nothing to worry about. I knew you could do it eventually. But man, ya really lost it for a second.