You chose to read this article based off the title, or maybe someone told you to read it. Regardless, you chose to read this and that’s a positive step forward. It’s good you’re here. Read through the following and pay attention to what you experience.
Do you wonder, “How am I supposed to know what industry I’m interested in?” “When I get an offer, how do I know if it is a good offer?” “My friend already has a job, I must be behind. Am I even going to get a job?” “What if I make the wrong choice?”
Are you sick of hearing “congrats on graduating how exciting!” because you don’t feel that excited?
Did you nod your head yes, maybe widen your eyes, or feel a knot in your stomach?
Take a deep breath in, let it go.
These are normal questions to think about and feelings to experience. Know you’re not alone. As a career counselor writing this, I meet with up to 12 students a day and just about every senior expresses some of these concerns. When you transition from college to career it is likely to bring up a range of emotions. You are ending a major chapter and beginning a new one, you are transitioning to new stage of life. You may feel sad college is ending, scared of what is to come, comparing yourself to your friends, excited about the potential opportunities. It is okay to feel these emotions all at the same time, and it is okay to grieve college ending and to feel uncertainty transitioning into what is next.
Experiencing your last year of college, taking classes, participating in extracurriculars, working, balancing friends and family, and navigating your job search is a lot going on all at once. Trying to make a choice of what you want to do and what is important to you in a career can add to feeling overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help navigate your career path.
What do I want to do next for my career?
If you’re having a hard time figuring out what you want to do after graduation, prompt yourself with questions and do self-reflection work such as journaling on paper or in your phone, or meditate. Ask yourself:
If you’re having a hard time thinking about which job to choose, maybe think about it in another perspective:
Maybe you made a pro/con list, talked to family and friends, or meditated on it. You can use those previous tactics to help with the current decision you are making.
If you find yourself resistant and not wanting to do self-reflection work, ask yourself “why?” or “what is my fear?” Are you worried about being a failure? Letting your family down? Making the wrong choice and ruining your life?
Again, take a deep breath, and let it go.
These are questions you can answer if you’re willing to dive deep within yourself. And, if you’re having a hard time with these questions, consider going to see your Industry Coach at Leeds, or a counselor/therapist in general.
Three more steps for a clear mind
- If you feel overwhelmed searching for jobs online, set boundaries for yourself. Maybe only search for jobs 3 days a week, or apply to 3 jobs a day, or search for 15 minutes a day. Remember you are job searching for what you want to do next, not what you want to do for the next 20 years of your career.
- Comparison to others is killer. For example, if you see your friend and assume they have it all figured out because they got a job offer and you haven’t even applied yet; you may start to question your competency and choices. Sound familiar? That comparison will kill your motivation! Tabitha Brown would tell you to stop doing that, and mind your business. Instead of comparing yourself and being hard on yourself, accept and know you’re on your own journey. This is your life. Which means you have total control over what you do with it. If you decide a year from now a job isn’t for you, you have total freedom to switch paths.
- Remember to engage in self-care. It can look like remembering to eat three meals a day, talking a walk, watching your favorite show, or meditating. It doesn’t have to be a big, luxurious act, you can take small steps in how you take care of yourself. And remember to breathe.