It feels like just last week that I was buying dorm decorations with my freshman year roommate. Now, I am fully “adulting” in the blink of an eye. During college I tried to get involved in anything I could, and I enjoyed it, but I had no balance. After I quickly transitioned into this new schedule, I have been able to take a step back and create more balance in my life.
Here are my tips for young graduates adjusting to this new schedule:
Evaluate mental health
College flew by fast. With that being said, it can be easy to move onto the next stage of life just as quickly. Between COVID-19, the job market, and navigating finances, this can be a stressful time. Heck, some of us are even moving back home with our parents for a little … I know I am.
This can all take a serious toll in both your professional and personal life. It is easy to feel lost, confused, and stuck. The unknown and change is terrifying, but you are not alone in this. Have an open and honest conversation with yourself and make sure you are putting your mental health first.
Take time for you
It is crazy to think that I see a 9 a.m.-5 p.m. job as a more manageable schedule. In college I was spending from 8 a.m. to the early hours of the next morning doing school and work. This gave me little-to-no time for anything else. I lost a lot of myself doing this.
Ending the work day before dinner allows for time to rest, catch up with friends, and even fit in an extra episode of your favorite reality TV show. Reserve part of every night to do something you enjoy, this will help you to prioritize both yourself and your work. Getting in this system will help you come back to your sense of self, which is easily lost in this stage of life.
Getting involved post graduation
There are so many great organizations and committees to join to meet other public relations professionals post-graduation. These build relationships and connections, which can really help down the road.
Being involved is great. Young professionals, like myself, love to take these on. We do have to be careful that we do not overwhelm ourselves though, because that can take away from the success of each individual commitment.
Since I have graduated, I really make sure before I commit to something, that I actually have the time for it. When I stretch myself too thin I know I cannot deliver myself fully to everything I set out to do. Graduating was almost like a reset button. Before committing to a new club or board, make sure that you will be able to offer good work. If you cannot take something on, it is okay to say no. Saying no is hard, but it is a valuable skill to have and will help to create balance.
I want to acknowledge that whatever you are feeling post-graduation is valid. It happens quickly and is stressful, which brings out a lot in a person. By evaluating your mental health, taking time for yourself, and maintaining a balance when getting involved, we can start to find ourselves in this crazy adult life.
Morgan Layne is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University and a member of Detroit PRSA.