Avoid stress after graduation

by Victoria Valenzuela

Seniors, graduation day is finally upon us. Difficult classes, exams, troublesome professors and hours of studying are a thing of the past. The anticipation of graduation has been bubbling up inside since last semester, and it’s about to burst. Students may be experiencing a mix of emotions that range anywhere from relief, joy and excitement to sadness and sheer panic. But most graduating seniors are asking, “What do I do now?”

The expectancy of any major life change can stir up different feelings and fears, and stress levels may reach an all-time high. This kind of reaction is pretty typical, but did you know that when it becomes out of control it spells out a medical diagnosis? It’s called Post Commencement Stress Disorder, and it’s a condition that arises from finishing school and obtaining a degree, a fear of the unknown after graduation and taking on the task of choosing and pursuing a career.

According to Dr. Bernard Luskin of Psychology Today, some of the symptoms of PCSD include:

• Feeling you are not in control of your life

• Feeling a lack of support after commencement

• Feelings of failure if the new graduate is unable to find work in his or her area of specialty in a reasonable length of time

As with any other kind of stress disorder, these kinds of seemingly normal reactions to graduation become a problem once they become debilitating for the person experiencing them. In addition to heaping on the pressure of having to become an instant success straight out of college and figuring out how to adjust to life outside of the classroom, graduation can be a pretty overwhelming experience. Luckily, there are many practical ways that recent graduates can reasonably manage the new obstacles that will be thrown their way in the coming weeks and months.



For those of you who want to start job seeking immediately after graduation but don’t know where or how to start, it’s important to have a few tricks up your sleeve. First, it’s imperative to develop a resume. Websites such as LiveCareer or MyPerfectResume give students a boost, providing step-by-step tutorials using pre-made templates. Once the resume is prepared, it’s time to begin the search. One of the greatest resources for beginning this process is LinkedIn, an online networking platform. Think of it as Facebook for the career professional. Other websites for the job hunt include Monster, Indeed, GlassDoor, and SimplyHired.



When faced with any sort of daunting task, it’s crucial to have a plan in place that will provide focus and structure. Utilize the abundance of resources available when deciding how to tackle some of the biggest postgraduate issues. Not sure how to survive on your own after you’re no longer a college student? It’s time to take on actual adult responsibilities, in case you haven’t done so yet. This starts with things such as budgeting your income and looking for a new place to live. Need a little direction? Bills.com provides free guides and worksheets to create a personal budget to help manage expenses. Searching for a new crash pad? The Realtor.com, PadMapper, and Trulia apps help filter through available houses and apartments to help students find their next place to call home.



For many graduates, obtaining their dream job is the next step after receiving their degree. Just like planning out a strategic order of classes to take during the course of four years, it takes just as much planning and goal setting once graduation has passed, if not more. Mapping out small but achievable benchmarks to reach that illustrious career will help maintain a sense of encouragement and motivation along the way. After being specific about what you want and vowing to sticking to the tasks ahead, put it in a place where it can be seen every day as a reminder of past accomplishments and the ones that are soon to come.

Though graduation might seem intimidating and downright scary, it’s also important to remember how much of an accomplishment it is. Graduating college is an incredible achievement, so take time to celebrate it. Think of it as a joyous occasion instead of one filled with dread and worry. Be excited for the bright future that lies ahead and accept that diploma with pride — you earned it.