While many college students yearn for the moment they can finally walk across the stage and earn their diploma, there is also a certain amount of anxiety for the future. Whether you have already found your dream job or simply filling the time until a better opportunity arrives, the transition from college student to graduate can be a stressful experience. As if student stress wasn’t enough already! Following these stress management tips can help you prepare for the future.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
How often has “peer pressure” influenced your daily decisions. It’s real easy to get caught in always trying to do what your friends, family, co-workers, and classmates are doing. After all, nobody wants to be left behind as it can indicate that you are a failure or simply not as good as everyone else.
Instead, focus on your talents and strengths. We all have different gifts and interests. Not everybody is meant to be a marine biologist or a rocket scientist. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have doctors, artists, builders, actresses, musicians, etc. No matter how much you might try to emulate the life of your friends, we all have a different life story to live. Embrace it and make the most of it.
While a little healthy competition isn’t bad, try surrounding yourself with friends, family, and peers that will support and encourage you. In return, encourage your friends for the accomplishments. Focusing on your strengths instead of solely trying to turn your weaknesses into strengths can help escape the comparison game as well.
Live a Happy and Healthy Lifestyle
Having a positive attitude can alter your whole outlook on life. Optimism might mean the difference between trying new things that can improve your life and maintaining your same routine because you are pessimistic and fear any change will worsen your current situation. Always think first of the good in life and the opportunities presented to you during the day. Taking the time to write five things you are thankful for each day can also help.
Eating healthy foods that give you energy and won’t contribute to weight gain can also make it easier to be optimistic. Being active with a regular exercise routine or joining a recreational sports league can make it easier to be optimistic as you have a way to work off your nervous energy to relieve stress. And, going out in public to have fun can also be a great social outlet as interact with friends that can help you as well.
Live Within Your Means
While you might not know exactly where you will live or what your job and salary will be yet, you can still make plans for the future. Write down several short-term goals that you want to accomplish in the next few months and within the first five years. Make a budget to see if your current finances can afford these goals. If not, what do you need to do to accomplish them? You might have to cut spending, delay your timeline, or work extra hours.
Having a budget will give you an accurate picture of your current finances and what you can afford to do without making any changes. It can also help you realize that you can afford a lesser paying job for the temporary future and bide your time until that dream opportunity arrives.
Being able to live within your means financially is a huge stress reliever. It might not be easy if you have a limited income, but knowing that you can afford your student loan payments and build your credit score will improve your long-term financial health. Take the time to learn the ins and outs of your student loan debt as well as the best practices for paying it off. If you can handle this debt, then you can most likely handle any other sort of debt such as a mortgage. Understanding these financial products is a big step towards stress-free money management.
Be Willing To Change Your Plans
Lastly, be flexible about the future. While we can have a good idea of what can happen in the next week, year, or decade, life is full of surprises. If you changed majors in college or received an unexpected job offer in a profession you never planned to enter, you already know first-hand how the life is occasionally unpredictable.
Keep a network of friends and colleagues as they can help open doors of opportunity in the future that you would never expect as a new graduate. By following the preceding stress management tips like being optimistic and having a sound financial plan that allows you to avoid debt will help you prepare for life’s transitions. Not to say life changes will always be easy, but, planning for the expected and unexpected can make you ready to say “Yes” when you are ready for a change.
The future can be both fun and daunting at the same time. By having a positive attitude and self-confidence that you can accomplish whatever life will throw your way, you will be successful. Worrying about what others think of you and the fear of failure will only continue to hurt you instead of help you. After all, you just graduated from college and that is worthy of a major celebration.
… Guest Post by James Andrews, a recent graduate from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!)