Disclosure: I graduated in 2019. I know things are different now given the COVID-19 pandemic. The opinions here are from my own experiences. I also acknowledge that this is born from a place of privilege and not everyone has the freedom to take a break after graduation but I would like to share my thoughts in hopes that it resonates to some who may need it.
I graduated a year ago and things have changed a lot. The day of graduation was honestly a blur, but I still remember what I felt that day. The mix of excitement and anxiety about the future was very prominent.
I remember in one org event I attended in college, a question posed to us graduating students was, “What would you tell your freshman self?” I remember crying when I shared how I got through college and all the challenges I experienced. Now that it’s been roughly a year since I graduated, I want to ask myself a similar question, “What would I tell my fresh graduate self?”
(ALSO READ: An Open Letter To The New High School Graduate)
First, I would tell my fresh graduate self that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. I just finished a milestone that was difficult and it’s okay to not jump into the next big thing right away. It’s okay to take some time to let the feeling of accomplishment sink in and to take in the achievement I worked hard on.
When I graduated from college, I was very lost. I think many people share that same mini-existential crisis I had when I graduated. There were so many times wherein I didn’t know what to do. I knew the next step was to go look for a job, but it was scary to do so right away. I had so many lingering questions like, “What if I mess up?” or “Is this the right path?” I usually like taking risks, but this one felt different.
I was lucky enough to go on a vacation for a couple of months right after graduation, and I knew that was a somehow “normal” thing to do. I know many people take breaks after graduating (many of my college friends took breaks too). Though when that stint ended, I was left with so many unanswered questions and I was so confused about what to do.
If I had the chance to talk to fresh graduate me, I would tell her that things will eventually pan out. The anxiety that filled me during the second half of 2019 was difficult to deal with. I constantly thought of how to do the “next step,” and needless to say, it scared me.
(ALSO READ: HUMANS OF ADMU: ‘What If I was a Freshie Again?’)
I remember my answer to the “What would you tell your freshman self?” question was something along the lines of, “You’ll fail at times, but you’ll be so proud of yourself.” The same answer goes for the question of what I would tell my fresh graduate self. There were so many times that I felt like a failure.
I would tell fresh graduate me to stop comparing myself to others. I always compared other people’s successes to mine and constantly questioned why I haven’t achieved what they have achieved. When you realize that everyone goes at their own pace, it’s easier to be proud of the things you’ve done. Focus on yourself because your only competition should be you.
What would you tell your fresh graduate self?
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