Four Ways to Beat the Graduation Blues

Today, I had coffee with a senior from the University of Washington in Seattle who will be graduating in six weeks. Teary-eyed, she told me about her plans for next year.

Her plans sounded solid: look for a job, live with friends, keep moving toward her five-year goals. But the tears in her eyes spoke louder than her words. She was overwhelmed by what’s ahead. Frankly, she has every reason to be.

Not to be a Debbie Downer here but…

Debbie Downer

They never did catch that Anthrax guy… and it’s really hard in the real world… wah wah.

I have never met a person who found the transition to post-college life easy. It can feel lonely and discombobulating, and it can stir many doubts that seem to cut to the core.

This is because when you graduate, you no longer have the social and often faith support that you once had. As a college student you are used to being around your friends ALL. THE. TIME.

Dancing Penguins

Want to do everything together?! Ok! Sounds good to me!

That usually changes after graduation. Even if you are living with friends post-graduation, you will generally have less time together. Also, the structure you had as a college student will change dramatically. Work or searching for jobs is exhausting in a totally different way than being a student. You may feel especially tired or irritable.

I managed to make it the whole day without freaking out!

Now that you know a little bit about what lies ahead, here are four things we have found to make the transition a little easier:

1. Strength in numbers

Look for at least one or two people in the place where you will live whom you can start integrating into your life now! If you don’t know where you are moving, consider asking a friend to have regular phone calls with you starting now. Choose someone who will be in your life for the long haul. Specifically ask them to talk about your transition and what you need. It can be a lonely time if you are not prepared, but inviting intentional friends to transition with you is very helpful. Scripture tells us, “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

2. Consider all your transferrable skills and be open to learning!

Remember that your time in college as a student and as a student missionary is a huge asset to future parish and employers. Using the depth chart, discipleship roadmap, and leading small groups all translate into your parish, workplace, and among family and friends. Of course you still have a great deal to learn, but you also have a great deal to offer.

I was hesitant to take the lead in the workplace when I first graduated, but when called upon, I was often surprised at the skills I already possessed to serve my clients and colleagues. The same is true for you! Make a list of the things you learned as a college student, and review it regularly. This will help you draw upon those skills when you need them.

3. Establish when and where you will pray and receive the sacraments

It is not totally uncommon to hear that within the first few months of graduating, deeply involved Catholics stopped praying, and some even skipped out on Mass. Again, I don’t tell you that to freak you out, but I want you to know it happens. The best thing to do is to decide on a time and place where you will pray and go to Mass. Your relationship with Christ through prayer (Lectio Divina?!) is crucial, and by deciding when and where you will pray (even for just 10 minutes per day) will help you remain deeply rooted in Him.

4. Reflect

Journal regularly about some of the ways life is going to be different. I once met a missionary who worked for Campus Crusade for Christ for 27 years and lived in multiple countries. When I was leaving my full-time position with FOCUS, she recommended that I journal these questions, and then talk to someone about them. I was less blindsided when I encountered sadness or challenges, and they also helped me prepare for the next steps.

  1. What is ending?
  2. What is my mind/heart exploring within this transition and what am I hoping for?
  3. What losses do I feel?
  4. What are the things I had the opportunity to do for the first time while in college?
  5. What closures do I want to secure?
  6. What do I need?
  7. Describe what I experience “here and now” and what I will experience after the transition “then and there.”

Of course, it’s going to be a challenge; every transition is. But seriously, you aren’t alone. You still have your FOCUS family here to support you, and don’t forget, you were made for greatness. May God bless you in this new season!

The FOCUS Team
The FOCUS Team
The Fellowship of Catholic University Students is a Catholic collegiate outreach whose mission is to share the hope and joy of the gospel with college and university students, inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship and friendships in which they lead others to do the same.

Related Posts

Every week, FOCUS sends out the best resources available to:

  • Help you grow in your faith
  • Improve your evangelization strategy
  • Ignite your community on fire for Christ

Sign up for free right now!

Sign Up Now