The Post-Grad Rut // Tips and Tricks to Staying Sane

Hi my loves! Long time no talk. Let’s talk about post grad life, yeah? Entering the real world with no plan and limited work experience is tough. I assumed my diploma would automatically make me qualified for work. Turns out, it doesn’t. I also thought finding work aligned with my interests would be reasonably easy. Well, it wasn’t.

I learned pretty quickly that constant rejection sucks. Like – sucks. It eats away at you from the inside out and disfigures all perceptions of your self worth.

Why are my friends getting hired and not me? Am I not hirable? What am I doing wrong? What do I want to do with my life?

These questions danced around my head for weeks on end. And combined with the incessant rejection emails (or more often than not, receiving no responses whatsoever – honestly, that sucked more) and no daily structure, I fell into a weird depression. Most of my days were spent in bed, eating cereal and either watching Netflix or looking for jobs and writing cover letters.

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So for all my people who are feeling similarly right now, know that you are not alone. You are smart. You are hirable. You are capable. And this strange period of time in no-man’s land will pass.

But until it does, here are a few tips that, looking back, I wish I had known:

1. Find some structure, somehow. 

I mean this in two ways:

  • Develop a daily routine. It’s so easy to stay in bed all day and look at a computer (trust me- I’ve done it). But it can start to feel sickening very quickly. My suggestion: Wake up early. Set your alarm for 8:30 and don’t snooze. Have a healthy breakfast. Go for a walk. Schedule some time in the morning to work on job-hunting nonsense, and a few hours in the afternoon to work on things that make you happy! Make this day productive – whether that means taking an all-involved self-care day, or submitting an application (both are equally important – don’t skimp on self-care, my loves!).
  • Schedule out your week so that you know when you want to look for jobs and apply for positions. Make reasonable deadlines. Stay organized. Make a… dare I say it?… spreadsheet. Keeping on top of due dates and making small goals will make things feel a bit more manageable and much less overwhelming.

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2. Be gentle with yourself.

I got to a point where thinking about job applications made me so anxious that I would procrastinate and avoid the thought of work entirely. I then internalized my lack of progress as an inherent laziness and beat myself up about it. If anyone is in that same boat, know that it’s okay. It’s okay to give yourself some distance from applications if that’s what you need. It’s a difficult time. So be gentle with yourself. If the thought of looking for jobs is stressing you out, maybe take today off and enjoy some self-care.

 

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3. Find a project that brings you joy.

The great thing about being stuck between college and the working world is that you have tons of free time on your hands. So choose a skill you’ve been wanting to learn and get cracking! Start painting! Start a blog! Learn how to speak Italian! Do something that makes you happy and brings you some sense of fulfillment. Your life isn’t just about finding that job. So take this time to develop yourself.

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4. Look for community.

If you’re like me, I was stuck back at home after college with no friends nearby. So I recommend looking for community elsewhere. Join a choir. Find a book club. Show up for political events and join a local activist group. Volunteer at an organization. Being surrounded by people, particularly those who share common interests with you and push you to grow, is so important.

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5. Repeat after me: I am doing this right.

I am doing this right. I am doing this right. Get those words into your head and let them resonate through your body. Because you are doing this right. It may feel like you have no clue what you’re doing and the end is nowhere in sight, but a job offer will come. Trust yourself.

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Hopefully some of these tips might help a few of you! And to all you wonderful humans out there in no-man’s land: You are strong and intelligent. You will find a job. And trust me, you are doing it right.

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