Turning Postgrad Pressure into Living Life on Your Terms

Landing a Job after college can be one of the most daunting tasks you have faced in your life. The expectations from your peers, your family, and yourself can weigh on you like a ton of bricks. Everyone is in a unique situation after graduating. Some have had jobs lined up since the start of the school year. Some have massive student debt and NEED a job to start making payments. Some have complete freedom but feel pressure or guilt to get a job because it is what society (or their parents) tell them they need to do.

Breathe. All of this pressure and anxiety is normal and natural. The problem is that it skews our judgement if we allow it to get the best of us. The most important thing you can do when feeling pressure/anxiety is to take a step back and make sure you are making a clear headed decision about your next move. It is easy to take the first offer that comes your way just get that monkey off of your back and feel a sense of relief. Or maybe you want to get away from all that pressure, just say screw it, and take off to SE Asia with a backpack. Possibly you have always wanted to live out West, so you take a bussing job at a hotel in a national park. Any of these choices could be the right choice, but first let’s make sure these are well thought out decisions.

You’ve heard it before, after graduating college “the world is your oyster”. Pretty obnoxious to hear but hey, cliches are cliches for a reason. It may not feel like it at the time but at this age most people have the most freedom they will ever have in their lives. You can pack a bag and take $1000 to SE Asia and see what happens, or take your first corporate job offer and work your ass off and see what happens. The possibilities are endless.

What I suggest is taking some reflection time in your happy place (for me this is sitting on a rock near any river or running water) and writing. What do you desire to do? Short term? Long term? Include the most ridiculous things that pop into your head. Don’t judge your thoughts, just let it flow onto the page. Run with the bulls? Become a CEO by 28? Start a polar bear conservation foundation? Work with the President? Bungee jump in Macau? Let it all out. Next, take a look at what you wrote and think about how each one makes you feel inside. Narrow the list down. Next, think about your actionable options. Taking a job at your dad’s friends firm, booking a ticket to Bangkok, reaching out to your neighbor that is involved in politics. Anything can be feasible! Take some time to reflect on the outcome of this process and SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS with people you trust. People who want the best for you will give you honest feedback and support your decisions!

After you get some input from those you trust on your options, its time to TAKE ACTION. When you are taking a leap to do something extraordinary, it should feel uncomfortable. This feeling only means you are about to do something amazing! BOOK the ticket, then plan the trip. Set up the meeting. Make the interview happen (sending in a resume isn’t enough). Utilize your resources and make what you want become a reality. The sooner you realize this is possible, the more of head start you will get on kicking life’s ass on YOUR terms.

It is very easy to listen the noise from society and let it dictate what you should be doing. It is also easy to runaway from that uncomfortable feeling in your stomach when you are about to take a leap. Bruce Springsteen describes how he never gets nervous on stage. He describes all the symptoms of nerves and anxiety from head to toe, and then he says, “That’s how I know I’m ready.” Are you ready to take a leap? To dare greatly? To test yourself to find the best version of yourself? To start gaining confidence that will lead you kicking life’s ass on YOUR terms? Reflect, listen, and take action. These are exciting times my friend, go be the author of your life NOW.

Resources:

-In episode 1 with Matt Bannister, he talks about his time after college living at home with his parents and searching for jobs. Matt knew what he wanted and was PERSISTENT enough to make it happen.

-Your University’s Career Services Center. USE THEM! As much as possible! This is the most underutilized resource at any university. Go in and talk to someone. If anything, it will be therapeutic just to talk about post grad life.

Vagabonding is an concise, practical book about travelling, learning and discovering life on your terms. Recommended for those adventure seekers!

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