Tips for new graduates

As the academic year winds down, a number of new graduates will find themselves planning for the next phase of their lives. Whether seeking further education or searching for a first employment opportunity, it is certain that this marks a transition to a new stage of life.

Change, by its very nature, is stressful and scary, especially during these uncertain financial times. However, you should know that having feelings of worry and stress surrounding graduation is a normal and natural reaction.

For new graduates, planning ahead for this next step in your life can help to alleviate some of the stresses you may be feeling and can help you to maintain focus in the months following graduation. The following tips are intended to help new graduates begin to navigate through the post-graduate world:

Develop a plan for yourself. In order to move forward, you need to have an understanding of the direction in which you want your life to progress. Think about where you see yourself in the next six months to one year. Use this vision as a way to plot out the steps that you need to take in order to realize your goals. Keep in mind that this is just a first step and things in your life can change.

Understand how you prioritize. In order to find success, you will need to maintain balance and understand the priorities in your life. This means that you may need to critically examine the ways in which you spend your time and/or finances. Sometimes altering these priorities can help to keep you on a path to success.

Continue to take action. Because change can be scary, it is important that you do not let this fear keep you from moving forward with your goals. In order to realize your goals, you must be proactive.

If you want to pursue further education or seek employment, these experiences will not come to you; you must go to them.

You could start by setting aside several hours each week during which time you focus solely on the tasks that must be completed in order to move you closer to your goals (e.g., developing a resume, completing applications, researching job openings online, etc.).

Learn to brush off rejection. It is likely that whichever path you choose, rejection on some level will be a part of the journey. Think of rejection as an opportunity for growth and do not let it deter you. You will need to maintain a positive frame of mind in order to keep moving forward.

Use the supports in your life. Throughout your educational experiences, you have probably developed a support network. Remember that just because you have graduated, this support network has not disappeared.

Your support network has an interest in helping you succeed, so maintain contact with them and learn how to ask for help when it is needed.

Get involved. Sometimes taking steps to meet others with similar interests can help you to build connections and may be a way for you to further build your knowledge.

To all the new graduates, Lycoming Healthy Living wishes you the best as you move onto a new and exciting phase of your life. For more information, visit

Schurr is a post-doctoral psychology resident.