Your college graduation has come and gone, and so have your friends. Many of them continuing on to medical school, business school, graduate school, investment banking, or some other “set career path.” You, on the other-hand, have sobered up from commencement highs and are feeling as if your future is a dark abyss. Many new college graduates experience a drop in confidence post-graduation, whether they openly admit it or not. The plummeting of your self-confidence is natural, as you are now more-or-less on your own. You have a great degree, but what’s next? In addition to a currently rough job market and growing student loans, it can be extremely difficult to stay optimistic and confident in yourself and your future. However, you have more control in the matter than you might currently feel.
First, look at your situation from a larger perspective. What are your career goals? Life goals? It is important to have a clear vision even if that vision may change along the way. Set long-term and short-term goals, and work towards them every day. It’s a tough economy but do not sell yourself short, keep your aspirations high. Regardless of what your individual situation may be, it is important to take time for personal reflection. Four years of college have left you smarter and wiser. You do not need to have a set plan. But, you should be working towards your goals or working towards discovering what these goals are everyday. Evaluate monthly your progress and reevaluate your goals accordingly.
If you are completely unsure of what you want to do, remember that the ‘search’ is as much as part of the process as the goals themselves. Although there is a social, and perhaps personal, expectation to know where you are headed after graduating from college, nontraditional career paths are quickly becoming the norm and may lead to greater career satisfaction down the road. Do not be afraid to accept an internship position, as it is a great way to develop professionalism and arm you with critical skills and connections that can springboard you into a permanent position in your field of interest. In the same vein, take time to network as it can open the door to many wonderful opportunities. Check out our article on how to start building your network here.
Lastly, seek support from others. Whether they are in a similar position or have gone through it before, their knowledge and support will provide insight and perspective that will help you become aware of the confidence that is in you.
Want to learn more about how to tap into your source of confidence? Then click through to these other great NEXT for Women articles:
Ping is a recent college graduate of Duke University with a degree in political science. She is excited about the next stage of her life. She loves traveling, reading, and doing yoga. More importantly, she is thrilled to be part of the NEXT for Women community!