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Author Topic: Post-college anxiety  (Read 54 times)

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Offline creamcheese

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Post-college anxiety
« on: June 15, 2014, 03:16:10 AM »
I  know graduation should be a time I'm supposed to be proud of my achievements but I'm incredibly lost and confused. I graduated with what everybody told me is a great degree. But it's a degree I'm not passionate about. It's something I did because others kept telling me it's a great field where I can make money and have good options. So I went with it, but I really struggled. I could not secure an internship during school And as a result have no experience or confidence in my field. It is becoming an incredibly saturated field, even though it's in the healthcare field and people constantly have told me it's a great field. I have no focus or goals as to what I want to do because I chose my field on the basis it seems like a good and secure job with a good lifestyle but now it's becoming hard as hell to find a job and I have such little experience to make myself stand out. I've graduated and am confused as heck, but feel ridiculously upset that I'm being ungrateful because I have what it's considered a good major. This constant feeling of confusion and being upset is driving me and my family nuts. I'm getting anxious that I'll get punished on the basis of my ungratefulness. I am wondering if somebody can relate. I am hoping it's just a phase at it's a weird part of life to have no school or a job schedule to look forward to
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Online kconnors

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Re: Post-college anxiety
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2014, 09:29:58 AM »
Hi,

What you are experiencing is not unusual for me . . . .I used to be a faculty member and I worked with many students who were in a program because of pressure from family or friiends for a variety of reason. I don't know anything about you past the details in your posting so please do not consider this advice . . . more as things to consider . . .

1.  Are you angry with yourself because you allowed others to make decisions for you? This is a possibility because it means we sense a lack of control and then we think that we have made a "mistake" which we cannot undo. Well, the truth is that you cannot undo the last years of your life, but you can now take control of your life and decision making. You are responsible only to yourself unless you have a partner and/or children and that does change the picture somewhat.

2.  So, now you have a degree in the healthcare field . . .depending on what the field is and where your passions lie, can you take that degree and use it to move into an area where you would like to be? One of my students went through medical school but hated dealing with people. But, he loved working with statistics so, and yes this required additional coursework but at the same time he was building up experience, he moved into the area of health research where, the last time I heard from him, he was quite happy. So, you need to figure out where your passion lies and how you can translate your skills from school into that passion and carve out a satisfying career for yourself. Check in with the placement office at your university as they may be able to help.

3.  I don't know how old you are but I will guess that you are early 20s? You are at a great point in life to decide what you may want to do --- nowadays, people change careers multiple times --- I know that I did and I am still doing it . . . part is following my interests but part is being able to adapt to the employment situation . . . .I have done some very low level entry level positions but I used the time to develop skills that I did not have and to figure out how I could move to my next assignment. I would not suggest that you simple move around without focusing an effort on deciding where you would like to be now but skills do take time to acquire and, in the meantime, if you need to take an entry level position to survive financially, then that's what you have to do but keep on working to make that position the very best position in the world and keep on working to develop skills to move you to the next position.

4.  I am not sure what you mean that you are anxious that you will get punished on the basis of your ungratefulness. Why? You completed your degree; you acquired skills, etc. but now, you are an adult and you have the right to independence . . .will you make errors? Probably but we all do . . .will you learn from them? Hopefully, because they will help build your approach to the next situation. I am sensing that your family paid for your education and now they expect you to go into the field that they chose for you . . . somewhere along the way, you will need to decide whether you do what others tell you or whether you explore what your needs are . . . this does not need to be confrontational although often it can be that but your choice is to continue on your path with increasing anxiety or develop a plan that is consistent with your situation and explain it to whoever you feel needs an explanation. There will probably be tears and expressions of disappointment but once you are doing what you want or at least on the path to it, they will see how much happier and productive you are and if they do not, well, then you have to decide whether it is better for you to follow what they want and be unhappy and anxiety driven or do what makes you happy. Sometimes parents want the very best for their children but in trying to make sure that happens they overlook that a child does become an adult. If they have done their job right, though, the child who is now an adult will be able to make decisions and even if these decisions are contrary to what parents want, parents usually see the wisdom in letting their child become an adult . . .of course, this is assuming that you do not want to be an embezzler, etc.

Yes, you are in a void . . .you have no school or job schedule but you can remedy that . . . . perhaps the job that you get initially will not be "great," but at least 6 months from now you will have started an employment history . . . otherwise, 6 months from now you will still be in the void . . . .if living at home is problematic, then perhaps you could find an alternative living arrangement or even consider taking a position in another city close by so you could still have contact in person with the family but you will also have your own adult space . . .

Now, none of the above may be appropriate for your situation . . . no one here has answers for anyone as we are all very individual with individual contexts and histories . . . so think about some of these issues and know that we are always here to support you as you unravel your version of anxiety . . . . if we can help, we will but as always the decision for the next steps lies with you . . .check in when you can . . .take care, kc
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