The Engineer: Post-Grad Anxiety
Hello! I first wanted to take a moment to thank all of the support that we’ve gotten and for following our MacScientist journey. Your support means a lot and really keeps us going and writing every week.
This week we wanted to talk about post-graduate anxiety. It’s been a year since I’ve been out of college and I feel like time has really flown by. I still remember graduation weekend and how excited and nervous I was to begin the next chapter of my life. I don’t think it really hit me I was graduating and officially a full-time employee until about September when everyone else was either in school or getting ready to go back to school and I wasn’t, however, it’s been quite a learning experience. (Disclaimer: This post is going to be kind of long)
I wasn’t really stressed out my senior year because all my classes were relatively easy and didn’t require that much outside class time (if you can plan your classes now to where this is your senior year, I highly suggest it), so a lot of my post-graduate anxiety really came once I had graduated and begun living on my own.
Moving into my own place was the first immediate stress load. In my mind, I had thought that moving into an apartment would be similar to moving into a college dorm, however, I was in for a rude awakening. Being able to find a place that suits your needs when there are an overwhelming amount of options can be extremely difficult. Before, I found my place the only thing I knew was that I wanted to live by myself and I didn’t want to spend an extreme amount of money. I chose to live in northern New Jersey because 1) I knew that I can get a lot more space for a lot cheaper than living in New York City and 2) I planned on traveling for six weeks and dealing with the New York process of finding a place would’ve been extremely difficult to do in a completely different country.
Once I came back from my trip, the next step was getting all my furniture. I had no idea the amount of furniture that I would need or how much furniture would actually cost. Then once I got to my new apartment, I had to get all my furniture set up and also get other miscellaneous household items that my dad was the one who thought of. My moving stress was alleviated immensely because of my dad and I am forever grateful for all his help. It took about a week, but everything was set up, I was settled, and I was ready to start work. What I learned from this experience is that moving requires a lot of planning that can’t wait until the last minute unless you really want to stress yourself out and I don’t want to move ever again (yes, I know this is really unrealistic).
One thing no one ever told me about becoming an adult is how hard it is to make and sustain friends. I am making a distinction between “make” and “sustain” because it’s really not so much about making friends and meeting new people but rather maintaining and sustaining them so you don’t feel so isolated. Moving away from my family and friends was difficult and I often found myself comparing the new relationships that I was forming in New York to my friends from college and often finding myself with a little bit of disappointment. I learned quickly that you can’t compare your relationships between people because everyone is different and it is not fair on yourself or the other person to do so. Also, relationships as an adult require a lot more effort and time than your relationships in college. In college you probably lived close to your friends and if you got bored you could walk to them, requiring minimal effort. Post-college, it’s not nearly as simple. Everyone (including yourself) has their own schedule and lives in different places so it requires a lot more navigating and time if you really want to make those friendships last. If you’re someone who wants to meet people and make new friends, you have to put forth the effort, but those relationships can mean just as much as your old friends.
Starting your first job comes with a lot of ups and downs. On the one hand you’re excited because it is something new and exciting. On the other hand, things often times don’t end up being what you expect them to be. Having mentors in your profession who can offer candid advice and provide resources that can help move you in the right direction is key. Personally I’ve found that at least once a month I’m in need of a different perspective so I know how to best navigate through the corporate world. You may get to a point where you want to pursue other projects and ventures outside of work or pick up additional hobbies or extra-curricular activities. Those can be fun and through that you can explore other interests and passions you may have and may decide to go and pursue them. Just because you aren’t in college anymore, doesn’t mean you stop learning about whom you are and the world around you.
In summary, having post-grad anxiety is very real and you are not alone. Talking about the issues and challenges you may face with people you trust can help relieve some of that anxiety and help you navigate through any challenges or obstacles in this stage of your life. Use this season of life to try new things, learn about yourself, grow, and discover your passions while trying not to stress too much about things that you cannot control.