Right when we finally reach the top, life always finds a way to bring us back down to the bottom. In 8th grade we were on top of the middle school food chain… and then we became freshmen in high school. We went from being seniors in high school to freshmen in college and finally we became seniors in college.
We spend the last weeks packing up our dorms or apartments thinking we’re done. Sure, those grueling, anticipating homework-filled weeks have come to a close, but once again we’re on the brink of being the newbie; and regardless of your introverted or extroverted personality being the newbie is scary – that drastic of a change is scary. At the beginning of this next chapter lies a slew of emotions: fear, uncertainty, excitement, sadness. Like everyone else who has ever walked across a stage to receive the golden ticket into the real world, we face challenges of how to present ourselves professionally, how to be taken seriously in a world where Gen Y is automatically perceived as entitled and lazy, how to make friends in the workplace.
So what can we do? Lying in bed accompanied by the ever-soothing Ben & Jerry’s Phish food watching 30 Rock reruns is not an option. As our oh-so-encouraging mothers would say, we must seize the day.
How do we do that?
1) Don’t panic. As overwhelming as this process is, it’s part of growing up. Take comfort in the fact that nearly everyone in the world has once felt like this. Get excited and be pumped; you’re about to the plunge into adulthood.
2) Never be afraid to ask. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in college is to not be afraid to ask for help – help on assignment, to get a job, crafting a cover letter or resume. Having the courage to admit to yourself that you can’t do this alone is admirable. Ask a coworker to go out to lunch. If you’re overwhelmed, ask a coworker about his/her story.
3) Surround yourself with solid friends. Because let’s be real, we can’t do this on our own. We need uplifting, encouraging loving people by our sides.
4) Get a hobby. It’s easy to drown in stress and anxiety. We need to time relax, so we’re better able to think clearly and perform well in the workplace.
5) Breathe. Every person you’re trying to impress has been in the same place you currently are. Breathing helps us to slow down and lets us keep ourselves in line and thinking straight.
Many of these habits were taken from Lindsey Pollak’s Getting From College to Career. – an excellent resource for recent college graduates.