How To Transition Into The Real World Post Graduation

By Victoria Robertson on July 10, 2015

This article is brought to you by Kaplan, the leader in test prep for over 90 standardized tests, including the GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT.

Graduating changes everything.

Well, maybe not everything, but it does change quite a bit.

For one thing, you’re no longer a college student, and while at the time you couldn’t wait to get out, joining the “real world” is a total bummer. There seems to be a never-ending list of responsibilities you’ve got to take care of and within minutes of graduating you can’t wait for a little “me” time to relax and watch some Netflix.

Too bad the real world doesn’t wait for you to relax.

So for those of you that this is all too familiar for, here are some ways to help you transition into the real world post graduation.

1. Stick to your daily routine.

Image by Bethany Legg via Unsplash

Readjusting to living at home, or even adjusting to living in a new place altogether is a big change, and it’s thrown on us quickly. There’s no time to slowly get acclimated, especially if this is only the first step on that never-ending to-do list.

The most difficult part of this transition is typically the lack of structure, which most of us need to live an at least somewhat, stress-free lifestyle.

So rather than messing up your schedule entirely by forcing yourself to unpack late into the night, or eating food as you get the chance, set a schedule for yourself to input some normalcy into the move.

If you normally eat three meals a day at regular times, continue that routine. If you go to bed at a certain time, leave the boxes and go to bed – they’ll be there for you to finish unpacking in the morning.

The more you adhere to your normal routine, the easier the transition will be. Plus, you won’t need to spend the next few weeks walking around like a zombie due to a lack of sleep. It’s a win-win.

2. Keep in touch.

Image by Kevin Schmitz on Unsplash

Just because you left college doesn’t mean you need to leave all of your friends behind as well; keeping in touch with college friends is great for your social life and your sanity.

There’s going to be an overwhelming amount of work to be done once you graduate and you’re going to want someone there to help take the edge off and to just be around you. It’s a great way to relax as well as to remind you that you aren’t alone, and someone else is going through the same transition.

So whether you call up the entire gang for a night out or just your best friend for a quick game of catch-up, keep your friends close, because I promise there will be plenty of times that you’ll need them.

3. Take a break if you need it.

Image by Ilham Rahmansyah on Unsplash

Graduating is a great thing, but it’s no surprise that most graduates are completely burnt out by the time they walk across that stage for a diploma. Four years of an undergraduate program takes a toll on your mental health, so don’t feel like a total failure if you need to take a quick minute to yourself.

While there’s definitely a push for graduates to run out and get a job immediately, don’t feel pressured to do so if you don’t think you’re ready to jump into a career. Sure, money is great, but what happens when being burnt out from school transitions into being burnt out and unsuccessful in your professional life?

If you need it, take a break. It can be a few days, weeks, months – whatever you need to get yourself back on track and to be fully motivated to start working.

We hear all the time that we need to find a career we’re happy with, and it’s impossible to be happy if you’re so overly-exhausted from school you’re forcing yourself to go to work everyday.

Take a breather – no one will judge you for that.

4. Find your relaxation tool.

Image by Alice Hampson via Unsplash

Last but not least, make sure that you are keeping up on your mental health. As mentioned earlier, you need to be at your best to give your best, and the best way to do that is to find your key to relaxation.

This is different for everyone: some draw themselves a bubble bath, some curl up in bed to a good book, others binge-watch a show on Netflix or maybe even hit the gym. Whether you’re a writer, a reader, a watcher or a doer, there’s a relaxation tool out there for you somewhere, and you’re going to want to find that ASAP.

Even if you’ve already begun working, are job searching or have no interest in working anytime soon at all – you’ll need to find a way to relax to keep yourself from stressing out. Responsibilities have this awesome way of piling up until you’re overwhelmed, so beating stress in its tracks is your best play.

These are just a few suggestions from the large list of ways to transition from college graduate to actual human being. Sure, it’s different, but different doesn’t need to be a bad thing.

It is what you make it, so make graduate life something you’re actually excited for.

Learn more about Kaplan’s test prep options and start building the confidence you need for Test Day.

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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