Senior stress of finding work, value behind the first job


Senior stress of finding work, value behind the first job

Mary Rugolo

Homecoming was this past weekend, and the campus was filled with alumni reliving their past life as undergraduates. As they walked aimlessly through the Ellipse talking about how far the past few months have taken them and how they miss the stress-free lives of college students, it was easy to question how stress free that life is. 

College students are privy to many different types of stress that differ, depending on the year and the time during the semester. Freshmen get the stress of a new environment and independence. Sophomores and juniors are used to the newness of college at that point but still have the stress of internships and the workload piling up as they enter their core classes. And seniors have the stress of starting to transition from the comfortable bubble of college into the adult world. 

After the rush of finality wears off, we are reminded of a new uncertainty creeping towards us: graduation. With graduation, most of us don’t know here we are going to be in the next year—what city, what people we will spend our time with and most stressful of all what job we will have. Instead of the usual stress of projects and midterms from last year, we are faced with the stress of finding a job. 

Finding a job as a senior is one of the most stressful periods of our college careers. Because we are entering into a new beginning. We are working towards taking the skills we have been taught during the past four years and put it into something that we can make a living on. And although we know that, realistically, coming out of college we will not find our dream job, we cannot help but look for it. We get caught up in finding a job in the city, near the beach or in New York. We apply to jobs only in which international travel is a job description, or we try to find the job where we will be doing something we love and making enough to get an apartment off the bat. 

But in focusing on finding the perfect post-graduation job, our expectations may grow too high. Of course, some of us will land the dream job. But the rest of us can drive ourselves crazy searching for the perfect job, when in reality, we will need to work hard after graduation to reach that perfect job.

For those driving themselves crazy trying to find the perfect job, it can be less stressful when we remind ourselves that our first job after college does not dictate the rest of our lives. It is just a job. 

Once we remind ourselves of that, the stress of job searching decreases a bit. We can use our first job out of college as a stepping stone. It is our first real job experience. And for many of us, as large of a learning experience as college was. The first job after college can teach us that we don’t like the job descriptions we once thought we did or that we are on the wrong path, but because it is our first job, we can somewhat easily switch paths and work towards a different end goals. 

For others, the first job can teach us that we have different values than we thought at graduation. That the job in the perfect city with all the travel wasn’t as glamorous as we once thought it would be. Instead, we would be happier at a job near our family where we can escape the stress of work with laughter and home cooked meals. 

Some could love their first jobs. It could verify all our hard work over the past four years. With this job, we could be certain that this is the career path we want to pursue for the remainder of our lives. 

There is no way to know for certain how our first jobs after college will go, or even where or what we will be thinking upon graduation. All we can do is remind ourselves during the job application process that our first job is just a job. Like all other things in life, this time period and stress will pass, and we will survive, regardless of the job we get or the city we end up in.