If you missed “Graduation is 2 weeks away & I’m reaking out. Part one”, you can read it here. This week’s post is for those of you who have that horrible knot in your stomach. Graduation is right around the corner and you have no clue what the future holds. Even as I write this, I can feel that physical pain in the pit of my stomach–just from imagining the stress and anxiety you are facing right now. But, let’s take this one step at a time…
1. Take 5 big, slow deep breaths. Inhale for 10 seconds. Exhale for 10 seconds. No, I’m not kidding. If you are feeling physical angst due to your unknown-future, I need you to try and calm yourself down. Breathing exercises are a great way to do that.
2. I want you pull out a piece of paper (or open a Word doc) and write down your REALISTIC worst-case-scenario. [A non-realistic worst-case-scenario ends with you living in a cardboard box down by the river. A REALISTIC worst-case-scenario perhaps ends with you moving back in with your parents or maybe just taking a job waiting tables for a while.] Seriously, do this. I want you to put it down in writing and really look at it.
My realistic worst-case-scenario would have been: I’d have to stay in Harrisonburg, VA. Find a cheap place to live–probably in a house with a bunch of younger girls–and I would have had to get a job at Outback, or if I was lucky, a high end restaurant called Joshua Wilton House. I would need to make enough to pay my rent, car insurance, phone bill, and buy food. And I’d need a game plan to continue my job search.
Why am I so intent on you planning out your worst-case-scenario? Because I want you to see that it’s not the worst thing in the world. And I want you to be prepared for it, because some of you WILL live it for 3 months, 6 months, even a year. And as long as you don’t lose your focus in continuing your job search, it is totally okay to make ends meet by waiting tables for a season!
3. Write down your game plan in finding the job you want. Create steps, goals, due dates, etc. If you don’t know where to start– visit your Career Center asap or email me and I’ll glady help. An INCREDIBLE ARTICLE was posted last week specifically for aspiring music business professionals, but a lot of it can apply to any field. My favorite step in this article is “Pick a couple of target companies and reach out about having an informational interview.” Do this. And don’t be afraid to use the connections you have–even if it is Mom and Dad! I see too many people shy away from using their parents’ contacts. I used to be this way too. WHY?! God gave you your parents! Maybe He also gave you their connections for a reason!
4. Throughout the next several weeks, ask older people (anyone more than 2 years older!) their story regarding college graduation to first job. Learn from others. You will find advice and encouragement in all kinds of places, if you just look for it. No one will have a story just like yours, but everyone’s story has value and something to offer. And choose to let others’ stories encourage you–NOT add additional stress and anxiety.
5. Seriously chill out. You are entering a season of waiting. It won’t be terribly long, but this is a typical time of life for a waiting season. You’ll have many more waiting seasons throughout life. So think of this as good practice. The job offer will come, it’s just a matter of timing. Be patient. Be diligent. Be prepared. And trust in our God who has brought you this far! Hasn’t He been faithful?
I’ll say it again. Be patient. Be diligent. Be prepared.
1 Peter 5:7, Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.