Sometimes, things just don’t work out (blunt, I know.) You can plan, put in the effort, make all the right choices, hope for the best and still wind up opposite of your aim. Maybe you’re torn between graduate school and joining the “real world,” or maybe you’re a recent graduate who has yet to be called back for an interview. Either way, your life didn’t magically fall into place after tossing your cap into the air. The post grad slump is that helpless feeling of being stuck somewhere you didn’t want or expect to be. My advice to you is: don’t get comfortable here. Wake up and realize that setbacks are inevitable, but temporary!
Stop the pity party.
Sorry for the tough love, but sometimes you need a kick in the pants! Getting frustrated or disappointed from time to time is completely acceptable. However, wallowing in self pity rather than taking action and being the driving force in your own life is not. Whatever your circumstances, no good will come from spending your free time feeling sorry for yourself. Accept whatever it is that’s holding you back, and get ready to move on, because yes, you are going to move on.
Set one goal at a time.
Set small goals that will serve as stepping stones toward your larger goal. Don’t be discouraged if your application is rejected by your dream job, or all jobs. Stay focused! Look for an internship, volunteer, or work on an individual portfolio, all while keeping your goal in mind. Yes, it takes patience, which is something many of us recent grads lack, but success doesn’t happen overnight. Give your all to every opportunity that comes your way. It will pay off!
Look at the big picture.
Try not to obsess over one area of your life. Sometimes it seems like if you could just get that dream job or that beautiful apartment, or that perfect relationship then you’d be happy, but that’s an awful lot of pressure to put on yourself! Take a break from that mindset and focus on other important aspects of your life. Spend a week cooking healthy meals for yourself. Take a week to work on a creative project. Write. Paint. Take pictures. Spend more time with friends and family. Spend more time outdoors. There are so many aspects of you that are more than the pressure you put on yourself.
Take a chance every now and then, both personally and professionally. Ask your boss for more responsibilities, apply for the job that sounds out of reach, end the friendship that’s been bringing you down for months, go on a date with someone new, and say “yes” to happy hour drinks with coworkers. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you” – so challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone and be open to the opportunities that present themselves!
Remember: you’re young. The choices you make right now are not going to make or break you for the rest of your life. You’re going to make some awful, horrible decisions every now and then, but you’re also going to make some really good calls based on what you learn from those mistakes. So stop being your own worst enemy, and start doing what makes you happy!