Tips From an Irvine College Tutor: Coping with Stress and Preparing for College Graduation
Senior year in college can be exciting and stressful simultaneously. Students who have worked so hard for nearly four years will soon be able to see the fruits of their labors. However, with college graduation comes the unknown and, at this point in the year, most students will wake up one day and realize they don’t know what they will be doing with their life six months from now. This can be very alarming, and each student’s experience will be different, however; there are a few things that students can think about and plan for to reduce their overall stress.
1. Apply for a job early
Most students will see a job ad that states they need to have a bachelor’s degree to apply. In reality, they have to have a bachelor’s degree to be hired. Students who are very close to graduation can certainly apply for jobs or make initial inquiries before graduation. Although our economy is in an upswing, it’s still difficult to secure post-graduation employment. Rather than spending the entire summer searching for jobs while unemployed, it makes more sense to start looking for work before graduation. Of course, this activity shouldn’t overwhelm students or take away from their academic activities. Seniors can sit down one day a week and research which companies they would like to contact (READ: “5 Things to Consider if You Are Considering Grad School”).
2. Create a backup plan (or two)
It’s always a good idea for students to have a backup plan for their post graduation life. Unfortunately, a fair amount of students are not hired in their field initially, which can be extremely stressful. Some alternatives to immediate gainful employment include taking an internship while maintaining a day job and working full time outside of the field. Students who have a backup plan in place prior to graduation are less likely to experience undue stress.
3. Research the current job market
Students are also encouraged to research the current job market. Things can easily change in four years and the choices a student made as a freshman may have different results now that they’re a senior. Once students have the knowledge of what they will be facing upon graduation, they can start finding concrete solutions, which can prevent their overall stress level.
4. Consider relocation as an option
The majority of seniors plan to either stay in their college town or move back to their home town to look for work. However, recent graduates who consider relocation may have more of an opportunity to work full time in their field. Relocation can be stressful and expensive but can also open up a whole new world of experience in gainful employment. It’s a good idea for seniors to think about what cities or states they would be willing to move to and find out where various company headquarters are located ahead of time (READ: “Prepping for Graduate School: a Guide”).
5. Make living arrangements
Seniors are likely living in student apartments or alternate student housing. Although student housing can be very expensive for what it is, it’s much cheaper than a normal apartment. Seniors are encouraged to think about where they want to live upon graduation. If they’re in subsidized housing, they will likely have to move out upon graduation. Students can search for apartments in the area, look for roommates, or consider moving back home prior to graduation day. Recent graduates are encouraged not to sign a long lease unless they’re sure they will be gainfully employed within the immediate geographical area.
Senior year can be very stressful but it’s also an exciting time in life. The next years can lead to any number of interesting experiences, some of which will be wonderful while others may pose a struggle. Regardless, planning ahead and preparing for multiple circumstances can help reduce a student’s overall stress level.
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