There is always an aura of excitement and anxiety transitioning from fifth grade to middle school, from eighth grade to high school, and from twelfth grade to college. But what happens when the transitions from one level of education to another come to an end?
On May 17th and 18th of 2014, graduates had the privilege of walking across the stage and receiving their degree from the University of California, Merced. For many students, the habit of completing homework, going to class, turning in assignments, and studying for exams came to an end. So what happens next?
On becoming a UC Merced 2014 graduate, Yubana Pulido remarks, “The days before graduation I felt as if it wasn’t real, as if it was only an illusion that I was finally done…kept thinking that even though I was going to be graduating I would be going back to class in the Fall.”
Being so accustomed to school, transitioning from one grade level to another all the way through college makes it difficult to grasp the concept of it finally being over.
Graduate Kathleen Chung felt the anticipation and actually encountered a minor anxiety attack a few days before graduation. Kathleen explains, “I was sitting on the couch, watching some Netflix and it hit me. I have nothing to study for, no homework to complete, no reading to do… WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO?”
Despite the terror that students are confronted with as graduation day approaches, they soon come to learn that there is no room to panic; post-graduation life is rapidly approaching and there is no time to waste on anxiety and panic.
For students who have always had a job while attending school, the transition from college to the work field may be nonexistent. However, for those who have entirely devoted their time to school and are suddenly becoming full time employees, the transition may be more apparent and alarming.
In regards to the complexity of the transition, Yubana Pulido claims, “Books don’t teach how to get yourself together after graduating, you’re just put out there hoping you know how to fly.”
In similar aspect, graduate Kathleen Chung emphasizes, “School teaches you the facts, but now you need to apply the soft skills, the things that weren’t in the books, to your life.”
Internships, part-time jobs and volunteer programs are essential. Grades are crucial, but so is experience. The more experience, the smoother the transition will be, and the more confidently the “Now What?” question after graduation will be answered. Hash-tag: Post-grad life.