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Life after College: Four Tips for Dealing with Post-Grad Anxiety

by Andrea Hernandez

Making Waves Education Foundation » Resources » Life after College: Four Tips for Dealing with Post-Grad Anxiety

As the summer approaches and the newest class of Wave-Makers prepare for life after college, students may begin to experience a wide range of emotions. The years after college can be some of the most exciting but also some of the most uncertain, unstable times of life.   

College graduation is a time filled with many celebrations as well as many changes and new processes. We can all use a guide as we navigate our way into the unknown.  

We recommend learning about helpful strategies to have a smooth transition to life after college, including these four tips to help ease your anxiety about the next phase (hint: it’s all going to be okay).  

1. Take a deep breath and celebrate everything you’ve just accomplished 

As soon as you graduate from college, it’s super easy and natural to obsess over your five-year plan or perhaps the fact that you don’t know what’s coming next at all.  

Before you start worrying about where you want to be in the next few years, focus on the fact that you’ve just graduated from college.  

This is a significant accomplishment so savor the moment and celebrate all the small and big wins with your family, friends, mentors, and community.  

2. Stop comparing yourself to others 

Everyone has their own college and career journeys and timelines.  

Finding what you want to do after graduation takes time, patience, and trust. It is important to acknowledge the many paths and speeds at which you will find success.  

Your time will come too. Just be patient and you will reach success at your own pace and accomplish your goals.  

3. You don’t need to have everything figured out  

How many times have you been asked, “Do you know what you’re going to do next? What’s your five-year plan?” or “Do you have a job yet?” It’s okay to not know what you want to do this summer or for the rest of your life. 

There is a good chance you will hear these questions numerous times by the time you walk the stage. There is absolutely no problem with not having it all figured out.  

Instead of getting caught up in your future self, start focusing on your present self and what you want to accomplish now.

Make a commitment to check in with yourself throughout the day and pay attention to your mind, body, and soul. Once you have a system set in place you will focus only on what the present has to offer. 

4. Trust the process 

There will be many highs and lows as you enter and navigate the post-grad world.  

You may or may not get the job you really wanted or may or may not get into the graduate program of your dreams. You may not be able to see why certain triumphs or setbacks happen in the moment, but you might look back later and realize certain decisions were for the best.  

Learn to embrace that everything happens for a reason. When you begin to let go of how everything “should” be, you’ll see more opportunities ahead of you.  

Transitioning into the post-grad world doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. If you believe in yourself and trust what the future has in store for you, everything will work out just fine. 

What’s important to remember is that you’re not alone in this journey. Remember to be kind to yourself, be patient with the post-grad and career development process, and to lean on Making Waves Foundation’s CAP Alumni Team and our Wave-Maker community for support!  

Wave-Maker alumni support and resources 

We encourage you to reach out to Courtney Arguello, lead career and alumni coach, or to me (Andrea Hernandez) as the alumni coordinator, for alumni coaching.

Alumni coaching can be beneficial for Wave-Makers navigating college and career transitions, for those ready to set goals and plan for the future, or for those who want to find ways to utilize the CAP Wave-Maker network to their advantage. Our alumni work in a variety of fields such as law, healthcare, technology, education, and more.  

If you are interested in connecting with other alumni in the CAP community, please make sure to add our Wave-Maker Network page on LinkedIn!   

More resources from Wave-Makers

Hear from Wave-Makers Camryn Downey, Mariana Duarte, Kim Luong, and Jesus Torres on how to design your life through personal development, as you prepare for your career and graduate school. 


With a unique focus on college attendance and graduation, Making Waves Foundation supports historically underrepresented and underserved students in pursuing their dreams. Making Waves Academy is a public charter school in Richmond, California, educating more than 1,100 students and Making Waves Foundation’s college success program, known as CAP, provides coaching, scholarships, financial literacy, and career support for more than 500 college students as well as a network for more than 500 Wave-Maker alumni.