My greatest struggle is facing the reality of adulthood after I graduate from college. I have literally been trying to physically avoid it, one of the ways is by studying abroad. In all honesty, I am terrified to come back to the U.S. because I have no idea what to do next, what jobs to apply for, how to move out of my mom’s house, etc. I could go on for days, but that’s my life in a nutshell. What do I do?
My heart goes out to you, my friend. Nothing prepares you for the intense and overwhelming feelings that arise when you’re approaching graduation. For years you’re told that the time will come when you’ll have to start “adulting” and be a part of the real world. Before you know it, it’s here and screaming in your face, “What are you going to do next?!”
I get it. It’s scary.
Here are a few tips to help make the transition a bit easier:
Don’t try to solve everything at once.
At work I have this quote taped to my desk: “There is no large and difficult task that cannot be divided into little easy tasks.” Figuring out your post-college life is an enormous responsibility, but you can tackle it by breaking it up into smaller, more manageable tasks.
Let’s look at moving out of your mom’s house. Your first step might be to determine what you can afford for monthly living expenses (like rent, internet, electricity, groceries, etc.). Depending on the cost of living in your area, you may be able to get a place of your own, or you may have to find roommates. Once you have figured out what you can afford, start looking at potential living spaces. After that, maybe send in some rental applications, and so on. To make it easier on your brain, I suggest keeping track of your to-dos in a journal or the notes app on your phone (like I did below!).
You can apply this model to finding a job, too. Any of the complex challenges you face will seem more manageable when you break them down into smaller, more practical duties.
Take it day-by-day.
When I was where you are right now, every morning I prayed for enough strength and wisdom just to get through that single day. If I thought much further ahead, I was crippled by the fact that I didn’t have a clear view of what was coming up next.
Try to take every day as its own. Don’t think about what you need to do in a year or a month. Just get through each day – each hour if you need to. Eventually, you’ll look back and see how each moment came together to bring you where you are.
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34
Eliminate “shoulds” and connect with your passions.
When trying to decide what jobs to apply for, I encourage you to eliminate the external expectations telling you what you “should” do. Trust your intuition, and focus on what it is that you love.
What do you enjoy studying? What have you loved most about studying abroad? Who have you met at school and on your travels that you really admire? The answers to these questions will reveal your most authentic desires for life.
Once you identify your passions, see if any careers will allow you to pursue them every day. Then, research available positions and see how you might be able to get your foot in the door.
Life is a big, beautiful mess that you will have to patiently and gently untangle. Transitioning from student to adult is scary, but you are equipped with everything you need to be successful. You are wonderfully capable of tackling big tasks like moving out of your mom’s house. You can absolutely find a job, because your passions are already within you, waiting for you to listen to them. Trust yourself.
I believe in you.
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