Life After College is Hard! Here’s How to Navigate the Transition

Written By

Tate Robinson

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I'm a 25-year old girl based in Denver, Colorado. Kim Collective is a space where I share about beauty, faith, food & home, style, travel, well-being, and everything in between. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi, I'm Kim


If you’re reading this right now and stressed out about post-grad, I want you to know that it will all work out. You will make it through this time!

Although that’s not what you want to hear at this moment, trust me that you will. I’ve been out of college for two years now and I have dealt with the transition myself. Many of my friends have experienced the same feelings. My older siblings and family once told me it would all work out, even when I was sitting in my childhood bedroom crying because I couldn’t get out of the headspace I was in.

We live in a world where comparison is inevitable and it can hurt in situations like this. When some friends move abroad, get their dream jobs, or have other means of supporting themselves, it may feel like you’re stuck while others are living their lives. In this article, I will uncover some of the best mechanisms and tools that I used to navigate this difficult transition. 

Quote by Nora Ephron

“Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.”

Source: Pinterest


From College to the Real World

Before I graduated, I was living in a college town surrounded by my best friends. The next day, I was living in my childhood home and I felt stuck. I was able to land a job fairly recently out of college and although that was the “right” thing to do, I watched some friends have part-time jobs while enjoying their “last” free summer before they embarked on their 9-5. It was rather difficult for me to jump straight into working 40+ hour work weeks for a company fully remote. Although I didn’t have to navigate the job market, the transition from ending college was surely a difficult one.


Source: Pinterest


3 Tips to Ease Your Transition

1. Take up a new hobby

After leaving college, you become less immersed in the hustle and bustle and typically have more free time. It’s hard to spend this time not comparing yourself to others, so taking up a new hobby is the perfect way to de-stress. Whether you take up a new sport, an old one, a fun workout, an artsy activity, or an activity you’ve always wanted to try, it’s never too late to start anew.

Hobbies offer a break from the stressors of adulthood, allowing you to unwind, relax, and recharge your batteries. They also foster creativity, providing an outlet for self-expression and exploring new interests, and they’re a great way to form new social connections. Any time you bring like-minded individuals together through clubs, classes, or online communities, you can alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.

When I left college and jumped right into my 9-5, I started reading and embroidering to alleviate the extra stress of my work life. Two years after graduating, I’m still finding new hobbies I enjoy every month. Reading, coloring, and journaling have recently been three of my most loved ones. They all allow me to take my mind off life and work and stay present. My advice for trying new hobbies is to explore many different ones and see what sticks and what you can be consistent with.

2. Try to enjoy this time with your family

If you’re living at home with family, this could be the last time you’ll be in this position. Enjoy the time you have with your parents or siblings. You won’t get this time with them again. Plus, this financial stability can provide a cushion as you transition into the workforce or pursue further education, helping you to pay off student loans, build savings, or invest in your future.

Living at home can give you time to plan your next steps without feeling rushed or pressured. Make a digital vision board or get organized to alleviate more stress during this time. My favorite tool to use is Notion as it offers custom templates and easy-to-use organizational tools, which allow you to design a board that reflects your unique vision and goals. Notion helps you put your stay motivated as you work towards achieving your dreams.


Source: Pinterest


3. Plan trips and take advantage of your weekends

Trips with friends are the best way to look forward to your weekends! They’re also a great opportunity to see the world and take advantage of your paid time off.  Travel provides ample opportunity for personal growth, helping you to broaden your horizons, develop valuable life skills, and recharge from your 9-5 stressors.

If saving money is your #1 priority, spend your weekends with loved ones or find free activities in your community. For example, you can join your local library to find a quiet space to read or join a local gym to work out. Be sure to schedule your weekends in advance, so you can enjoy this time pursuing personal interests instead of work or academic obligations.

Whatever you decide to do, make your family and friends a priority, engage in hobbies or leisure activities, and explore new interests. Maximize your weekends to foster a balanced lifestyle. Take full advantage of your PTO because time outside of work is important. You can be thoroughly engrossed in your job while prioritizing yourself, which is essential in the first few months. Everyone needs and deserves a break, and that includes you, too!



Final Thoughts

Life after college is hard. Don’t let others tell you you should be doing better or going further. It is OK to not be OK and work through the struggle. The transition looks different for everyone, and everyone copes with the adjustment differently. Lean on friends and family when you can. Many have gone through this or are in the same boat as you. Talk to your friends about it and open up to them, as they are in the same boat. This transition period offers endless opportunities for growth, learning, and self-discovery. Remember to celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small, and trust in your ability to overcome obstacles and thrive in adversity.

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