The pressure that always comes with graduating is usually overwhelming as no sooner as they finish handing out flowers and congratulatory notes than they start dishing out advice on what you should do and those who have none to give will bombard you with questions about whether you’ve found a job yet or what you’re planning to do next.
It gets even more frustrating when your aunts and uncles get on your case a few weeks down the line with allegations of how lazy you are as according to them, you’re not even trying hard enough to find something to do with the education “they worked so hard for you to attain”. By now you’ve probably received advice from everyone around you; unfortunately, most will be to discourage you on how you’ll be jobless for years, have you seen the unemployment stats for youths in Kenya?
But if you ask me, I’ll say worry not, that doesn’t have to be your fate. It’s time to proceed to the next chapter of your life and here are 4 tips to guide you through it:
1. Avoid Desperation at all cost
There’s a breed of humans out there with a dominantly predatory nature. They don’t care if that’s the last shilling in your pocket, they’ll still work there a** off to scam you of it. Be careful not to get into suspicious jobs- The world is a twisted place and very many people are out to benefit from your desperation. Some even know you personally and wait for the chance to misuse you and/or introduce you to the wrong crowds. This is why we hear stories of false connections that have landed many in foreign countries hopeful for jobs that are non-existent or different from what they signed up for. You can swear they smell your desperation because as soon as you just get that certificate, your phone starts flooding with messages on job offers or fake jackpots won to lure you. On the occasion that you get suggestions to join questionable jobs that threaten your dignity or even worse threaten your life, ignore the urge to give them a try. Nothing will ever be worth rotting in jail and dying young for after investing money and time on education. You can wait! don’t compromise your health and freedom. If for nothing else, spare your life for your loved one’s sake.
2. Take time off everything to Analyze your Options
Who said you have to follow the widely thrown around and societal accepted blueprint of life of Birth – School – Permanent Job – Retirement? Drop that script, pick a blank one and start sketching a new one. Take some time to analyze your interests and don’t get too comfortable. Meanwhile, find something to add value to your life, volunteer somewhere, ask your folks, aunt/uncle or that family friend having a good thing going for them if you can apprentice with them for a while. You might not get a monetary reward but end up discovering dormant potential and/or skills within you that you never knew existed. Explore opportunities available out there and ignore the pressure that comes with a Degree that anything other than a white collar job is a downgrade.
Other options you can try out putting some minutes into that hobby/activity you’ve always loved. It can be in sports, music, art, etc. It’ll be key to note, just sleeping and running up your folks bills in the name of taking some time out is not what I’m advocating for. Laziness is not an option because chances are so high that nothing will be handed to you just like that.
“I am only one but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something; and because I cannot do everything; I will not Refuse to do something I can do.”
–Edward Everett Hale
3. Create, Trust and Play by your own Script
It’s important remembering we all have different fates and paths in life; some of your mates will get employed as soon as they graduate or maybe even before while others will start and succeed in running their own businesses. This is when you’ll tend to compare there lives with your largely stagnant one. Some people will be successful before you and that’s okay. Don’t compare your pace to theirs. In this digital world, the worst thing you can do is to live your life by the standards set by your friends and followers online and start gauging your progress based on what your followers on Instagram are sharing about their ‘awesome life’, most of which you can’t even confirm if at all is true. Truth is. most online humans seem to lead fun filled expensive lives if you go by their daily instaposts, stories and the likes but that’s as far as it goes. You’re probably envying a life that doesn’t exist. You’ve probably heard about this but I’ll repeat: Trust the Process.
The most important thing you can do to keep your mental health in check is create your own script or plan, start with small & achievable targets, baby steps, and work towards hitting those targets everyday, scaling them up as you go. Have something that shows some progress in at least one aspect of your life. And stay resilient and persistent despite unhit targets or rejected applications.
4. Always be within a Circle
I can’t stress this enough but by all means, avoid isolating yourself, it’s never safe to play the lone ranger battling your thoughts all day, every day. Nothing is more detrimental to your mental health than being broke and lonely. We are often our biggest critic and after many failed attempts at something we really need, it’s easy to give in to negative thoughts and hopelessness. Depression is a common thing during this time. The safe thing to do is to have someone to talk to. And with just that, you’ll realize others are going through the same difficult transition as well and can understand your situation. Stay positive by being around positive people. Downplay the negative thoughts, concentrate on the small victories in and within you.
That being said, starting life after graduation as a young adult will always seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be a scary experience, be excited for the endless possibilities that awaits. Treat each day as the first of the rest of your life. Sooner rather than later, things tend to work out all right to those who keep at it and maintain the same optimism that they started with! Find mentors online or around you who pulled through and learn some tips from them. These changes might mean unlearning everything you knew about life, there is so much out there to learn and unlearn. Good luck with your journey.!