Don’t rush into post-grad life

Graduation anxieties around jobs and education are valid but shouldn’t be given into

Throwing your cap should lead to freedom and exploration, not stress. PHOTO: Vasily Koloda / Unsplash

by Alex Masse, Staff Writer

The spring semester is almost at a close, and many students at SFU are one step closer to graduating and entering what many hail as the “real world.” For many people, this is a scary endeavor, especially with the pandemic bringing anxiety to new highs. However, even outside of a global crisis, students should not feel the pressure to rush into another occupation right after graduation, but  should use the time as an opportunity to regroup.

There’s a misconception that after completing the years-long marathon of a degree, students have to immediately dive into the lifelong journey of retaining employment. But making quick decisions from a pressing feeling of having to be productive could hurt in the long run and may lead to taking a job that isn’t a good fit. Often, the first offer a student gets is not going to be the best one, and the last thing they want is to end up in a job they hate.

Obviously some students have financial pressures that lead to taking that first offer. Many can’t afford to wait for the perfect opportunity to fall into their hands, or to take a break to recover from school. Not to mention the negative effect the pandemic has had on student job opportunities. However, this haste shouldn’t be an expectation for all.

Graduating from university is an incredible achievement, and something many people never manage to do in their lives. I’ll be the first in my family to do so, and I’m sure I’m not the only one in that boat. University is a long, challenging journey and completion alone should garner celebration. 

Post-grad anxiety is also a very normal feeling. Even if people don’t talk about it, the worries are still there. Anxiety rising during this pandemic isn’t a good thing by any means, but if there’s one thing to take from that, it’s that students aren’t alone in their concern.

There are people who are trying to destigmatize solutions for this anxiety. Regrouping at home after graduation, for example, allows for saving money, alongside providing the most valuable currency of all: time. It’s not the most glamorous thing to do immediately after donning the cap and gown, but if it’s an available option, it can be a great occasion to reflect on both the past and future in preparation for the latter.

Management researcher David Burkus said in a TED talk that “so many college graduates immediately start wanting to make all their dreams come true at once — this can go wrong in many ways.” He’s right: there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, but expecting to walk into a perfect life after graduation often leads to stress and burnout — not an ideal situation to be in.

Post-graduation life should be seen as a time of celebration rather than one of duress. There should be time for reflection, instead of rushing towards the first offer you receive. That post-grad life you want will come, but rushing to get there is not worth the hardship it may bring.

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