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Life after graduation should be about self-care, not more work

Life after graduation should be about self-care, not more work

Life after graduation should be about self-care, not more work
July 22
12:00 2022

After almost eight semesters of college under my belt, I can confidently say I have no idea what I will do next. When freshmen year starts, there’s a lot to think about. You think about how much time you have and how many friends you will make, but you definitely don’t consider a global pandemic changing life’s trajectory.

There is always debate over which is more important: the journey or the destination. If anything, these last four years have stripped both of their meaning. I am six months away from graduating college, and I’ve found a strange comfort in not knowing what comes next.

A lot of people feel like they have to go from college directly to a full-time job, myself included. I spent the majority of my four years at this university stressing about what I am going to do next. I was worrying so much about the future that I never enjoyed the present. For those who are still a couple of years out from graduating, spend it with your well-being as the top priority.

With in-person classes finally being the norm again, there are friends to meet and things to do. Graduating is still so far away, and there is plenty of time to focus on more important things than school. Even while being glued to an office chair at home with remote classes, I did a terrible job of balancing work and play. I’d be lying if I said I would go back and do it all differently, but I certainly wish I had more time to prioritize taking care of myself through these past four years.

We spend however many semesters doing everything we can to graduate, so the least we can do is rest after it is all over. Feeling burnt out is a common affliction college students go through. Graduating and immediately scrambling to find a job is just transitioning from one major stressor to another. Completing four years of college, especially during the peak of a pandemic, is something to celebrate on its own. Take a vacation or spend time with people you haven’t been able to because of the demanding lifestyle you finally conquered.

When you get close to graduation, you talk to people who have graduated. Everyone has gone through the same dread, and everyone is willing to help you out. The one constant I have heard from nearly every alum I have talked to is don’t expect it to happen all at once.

There are so many uncontrollable variables in life, and it is important to understand you can only control so much. Big moments like applying to jobs and forming connections will be met with rejection. Everyone goes through it and everyone feels those same emotions. If you have never been a fan of keeping your glass half full, give it a shot. I have been pessimistic for the majority of my life and flipping the way I view achievements and failures has helped me immensely with feeling content.

Sooner or later, we will all submit that last assignment for that last class and never have to open Canvas ever again. Instead of immediately asking yourself “what’s next?” Enjoy one of the biggest achievements of your life. Four years of college, most of which took place during a pandemic, can take its toll on even the strongest of students. There is a time to work and move on with your life, but there is also a time to realize your accomplishments and give yourself the credit you deserve.

For those who are graduating in the upcoming semester, you have almost made it. One more semester and the hardest part of your life up until now is finally over. When it is finally finished, put a proverbial bookmark in your schedule and allow yourself to take a vacation. It doesn’t matter if it is a mental vacation where you binge-watch everything you can find or a literal vacation where you visit the location of your dreams.

Feeling like you need to move on to the next chapter of your life so quickly is not necessary. It’s okay to put the book down for a bit. Don’t put it back on the shelf for too long, but you do deserve a break from your own life’s story – that’s what bookmarks are for.

Featured Illustration by Erika Sevilla

About Author

Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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