A proud achievement of parents and students alike; years of pre-planning and saving, four years (if you were lucky) of tuition fees, “capital calls” from your son or daughter, and many checks written.
If you are graduating, all those years of studying, cramming for exams, all nighters (because other things were more important), football games and wild parties (your parents know the truth) are coming to an end. The “Work World” awaits!
Graduates: What they never tell you…
As a new graduate, you are literally caught in between two worlds. Now out of school, you can’t hang with your classmates and being thrust into the “real world” (where before your competitors were all your age) you are now gauged against many people of all ages. This whole scenario can be terrifying. Where before, you had a pretty regimented laid out schedule, you now have free reign and decision-making ability. This can be again, either exciting and liberating, or stressful. The pressures of making or having money (where you once thought: “How anyone could be broke making anything over $25,000/year?”) may now roll over to student loan payment obligations and the realization of everyday expenses and taxes. Again, this can be so overwhelming for most graduates!
Many students in today’s economy are leaving school with no job in place. After agonizing over the right major, and possibly switching 1, 2, or 3 times, you now find yourself with no experience, unprepared, and possibly the question in your mind: What was that all for? With unemployment over 7% and in many countries–for people under 25 years old–at 50%, the situation might seem completely desperate.
Mom and Dad…
The proud day, pictures, presents, taking stock of an accomplishment. It all culminates to that one day. That’s the problem with those life moments; they can be an anti–climatic. As a parent, you have probably assimilated some or the entire financial obligation of this education. Did my child get the benefit of what we paid for? After all, you put the “wood in,” but now you “want to see the fire!” Am I right? Many parents today didn’t have the benefit of having their parents pay for an education and so it might seem as if the child isn’t appreciative. Four years (or five) and possibly graduate school—so why are they still home with no prospects? Are you being taken advantage of by your own kid? You might be saying to yourself: “I thought I was getting a raise after the last tuition payment and now I am still paying. What happened here?”
Ok…everyone take a breath!
Having gone through all this personally, I would say to the student: “You are not alone!” The stress and anxiety is normal. Give yourself a break. Very few people come out of school knowing exactly what they want to do, unless they want to go right into medical or law school. My advice: is to just take a breath and find something that you will be happy doing. The money always comes later. If you are happy and good at what you do, things will happen.
Too many graduates tend to take something for the sake of something–which can lead them down a string of bad decisions. Find a mentor. There are so many people out there who want to be a mentor to someone young—so they can pass on their hard-earned wisdom and experience! Remember, getting a job is a full-time job! So keep at it and be diligent. Don’t be intimidated.
My advice to parents of graduating students: Be supportive, patient, and understanding. There are emotions going (with your new graduate) that you may not remember. This is also a tough time, but it doesn’t last forever.
My advice to graduating college and graduate school students: Enjoy this special time in your life! Congratulations and remember to stay positive!