Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment. You breathe a sigh of relief as you are ushered out of school with the promise of the world being your oyster. Once the realization of finished classes finally sets in, the excitement may start to mix with anxiety and/or depression. There are so many decisions to make and options to consider; sometimes all of the choices can be overwhelming or paralyzing. Generally the first step is to find a job, but then what?
The transition from college to adulthood can be a major challenge in your early twenties. Finding a job can be tough, let alone one that you enjoy. A new job is not the only part of this transition, though. In addition to paying bills, work demands that are quite different from classroom requirements, waving goodbye to known relationships and beginning the process of forging new ones, as a new graduate you may find yourself re-examining your personal identity. No longer defined by your roles of student or adolescent, you now are expected to somehow “be” an adult.
You have achieved something that, along with your age, allows you different freedoms than at earlier times in your life. Now is a great opportunity to work on ideas and try so many new things. However, growing into adulthood often also requires navigating and renegotiating your relationship with parents, siblings, colleagues, and even friends. While you are being faced with choices that can shape your future, people in your life may expect you to be the same person you were as an adolescent, or have the same interests, tastes, or opinions as before.
Take the time to work through relationship issues, as well as in who you view yourself to be, who you want to be, and the reconciliation with where you are in your life-this is invaluable to developing your adult identity. It may seem like a lot to think about while you are being bombarded with so many changes, but as an adult especially, you get to decide who you are. To quote Doc Brown in Back to the Future III, “It means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one…” Luckily, most of the choices we make are not set in stone, but it takes effort to direct your course. Fortunately, there are people (whether friends or therapists) who can offer some help along the way to becoming the person you want to be.