Helping you get through tough times

Finding a new rhythm after college

Daniel gives his thoughts on what it’s like once college is over and the summer has slipped by. 

A teddy bear wearing a mortar board cap and holding a scrollA couple of months ago I wrote on ReachOut.com about finishing college.

Last week, I had my graduation, which neatly drew a line under that part of my life. It put things in a new perspective, helped by the end of the summer as my head is still using the academic calendar.

I’ve had a few months to consider my next move and have come up with what seems like a reasonable plan. As a result things feel a bit more settled.

Staying focused

Having a goal has given me a clearer focus and sense of motivation. This was really important for me, as I think it probably is for most people.

Regardless of what “it” is, I think just having a plan and sense of purpose helps keep things in shape.

I’ve also had more time to think about what I’ll miss about college, and what I can do about that. The main loss is the sense of community I was fortunate enough to have.

Keep in touch

Having friends to hang out with is something you can easily take for granted when you’re lucky enough to have them. But, it becomes more complicated outside of the college structure, particularly if people are moving abroad.

However, there are ways of maintaining ties, and social media ensures that even if people are living elsewhere, you can still have them in your life.

Broader horizons

It’s also probably beneficial to have a change of scenery in life.

While I enjoyed the familiarity of college and its routine, getting out already feels rejuvenating. Still, it’s an adjustment, and the transition still feels a bit strange.

As I wrote in my previous post, the need to put a structure on my time and create a routine has been a challenge. I find it’s pretty easy to get into a a rut without something to build my day around.

Don’t stop learning

Something I’ve come to appreciate more is the benefit of continuing to learn and develop outside of the structure I’m used to. The benefit is that I’m now in a position to decide exactly what I want to focus on.

Though, the need for self-motivation, without deadlines or exams, may take a bit of getting used to.

When you go straight from school into university you’re used to having information immediately available.

You’re used to being presented with things to learn and skills to work on. Now that that’s stopped, and taking the initiative to engage with things in that way is important.

If this can be done through paid work, that’s a bonus. Ideally, we’d all find jobs that are intellectually stimulating and challenging.

In reality though, you don’t necessarily have the luxury of picking and choosing when it comes to available work.

There are a lot of alternatives available now though, such as online courses (a lot of which are free) and volunteering opportunities. Gathering as much experience as possible and pushing yourself to keep learning seems like a positive- if slightly vague ambition for post-college life.

Try not to worry

Lastly, one of the things I’ve come to terms with now, having wrestled with it over the summer, is that worrying about not having a clearly defined long-term plan doesn’t do much good.

It takes time to properly consider these things and get a sense of what you want to do. Panicking isn’t going to make that process quicker or easier.

It’s more likely to lead to rushing into something you’re not really enthusiastic about.

Taking time to talk to people and think things over will, hopefully, get me onto the right track sooner or later.

What can I do now?

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