Life after graduation: The Good and the Bad
You’ve visualized graduation day since freshman year and now you find it quickly approaching. Amidst the excitement and enthusiasm also comes a frenzy of emotions that borderline on hysteria. Don’t panic. You’re not alone–and you’re not going crazy.
Me’Shon McGarner, a winter 2010 graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, recalls that being a college graduate is an accomplishment that is earned and not given, and it takes hard work and dedication to get to the point where a person can finally say I did it just like any other goal that they set out to accomplish in life.
“It’s a great feeling to know that I now have something that can’t be taken away from me,” says Kellie Fox, a recent college graduate, “and it only makes me crave more.”
Pre-graduation fright is not only completely normal, but almost a prerequisite to accepting that diploma and diving head first into the real world.
According to Fran Katzanek, author of the newly published Reality 101: The Ultimate Guide to Life After College, academics have little to do with transition. “Not knowing what awaits you is the most traumatic,” says Katzanek. “Even though high school is different than college, it’s still an extension of a structured environment.”
Katzanek, who served as director of career services at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island for 15 years, was inspired to write the book to help recent college graduates and almost-grads cope with the trauma of ending their college career. The idea came to her after she realized that graduating students — even those with the highest honors — are horrified when staring the future right in the face.
Brittany Pitcher, a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, says that life after graduation sucks if you don’t have a job lined up especially during this time of economic hardship. “It’s really difficult to find a job in the field that you are looking in you may have to find something out of your field just to get a start in the real world” said Pitcher.
For others, life after graduation has had its benefits. For Wendy Tumblin, a winter 2010 graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, states that it felt like she was set free to conquer the world. “It was like fresh air on a new day,” states Tumblin.
Nicole Wimberly, a 2009 graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, describes her last semester as one of the toughest periods in her life. Finishing up with classes in the Summer before graduation, Wimberly took a corporate job, yet continued living with two of her college roommates until her graduation ceremony took place in December of 2009. Wimberly says adjusting her sleep schedule with that of her roommates was problematic.
“They would have friends over and party almost every night,” says Wimberly. “I had to be in bed every night by 10:30 [p.m.] so I could get up early enough to function the next day. I eventually had to wear ear plugs to bed just so I could fall asleep among the noise.” For Wimberly, this created a great deal of stress, which was aggravated by the pressure of starting a new career.