Advice for graduates: Enjoy the ride

For all of my lucky peers who have already received employment offers for after graduation, feel free to stop reading this article here and now. You all clearly have your lives in order more than me anyway so my advice won’t be of much use to you.

But for those of us who are still sitting here with unemployment looming over our heads and decisions stacking up on our desktop post-it notes, here’s what I have to say: I feel ya. And we got this.

As graduation approaches, we’re all a little nerve-wracked. We have to tie up those loose ends to final thesis projects, present our research at the Legacy Symposium, search through eighty different e-mails to figure out when and where to get our caps and gowns, and keep up with all of our regular course work and jobs.

But on top of that, we also have to find time to apply for future jobs, pack up out of our final college houses, spend time with friends, eat, shower, sleep, breathe. No problem, right?

Wrong. It’s not easy. But that’s okay! We SHOULD be pretty exhausted with all of this on our plates. If we’re not tired, I would go so far as to say that we’re not doing it right. But sleep-deprived and stressed/terrified do not necessarily have to go hand in hand.

It’s acceptable to only get four hours of sleep because we were drinking up the last vestiges of fun college has to offer (i.e. living within a four block radius of five hundred of your closest friends). But it’s not okay to lose sleep because we couldn’t stop worrying about getting a job or even which cities we want to focus our job search on.

Yes, these are important questions. And yes, choosing a destination and finding a job are important. But we are spending tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of dollars on this education of ours, so let’s take some time to enjoy it! As seniors, we’re taking the courses which should define our favorite subjects to learn and we’re working on the projects which best showcase how much we’ve learned here. It’s an amazing thing we’re doing here, training ourselves for our future profession in such a well-rounded environment as this.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be goal-oriented, and I think that one of the biggest pitfalls to it is that we are so consumed by what we want to happen in the future that we forget to enjoy the present.

I know you’re tired and I know you’re still unemployed. But stop wishing for this week to be over so that you can get some sleep. And stop stressing so much about your job search that you forget that you’re still a college kid for a few more weeks.

And just as we were itching for winter to turn to spring, it eventually happened. So too will our graduation decisions. A city or town will pop into our search that has all of the sports or food or music or weather that you’ve been looking for.

Some company will finally call you back and tell you that you’ve been hired – whether that happens in a week or in a few months, and that’s okay. The caps and gowns will come in, and we’ll walk around the Rock Bowl one last time as current Duhawks and (fingers crossed) none of us will trip.

So for now, enjoy the time you have left. Go out to dinner with that friend you haven’t seen in a few weeks. Stay up late goofing around with your roommates. Lose some sleep living it up. Because you know what? In a few weeks, who knows where we’ll all end up?

But hey, I’m going to be unemployed come four weeks so why listen to me?

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