How I Dealt With Post-Grad Stress

There was a lot of cheese and a lot of $3 wine. I was officially done with my classes January 2012. My final semester of college was hell. I had two internships that required full days. So I was working as an intern at two of the worst internships I’ve ever had full time (I learned a lot but sort of how you learn a lot from having something really bad happen to you.), basically going to class in the evening, along with working on my senior thesis. I was so stressed but worst of all with graduation looming and no job prospects I felt like a failure. I felt like a loser before anything had happened, before I could even possibly know what would happen. It sucked. I am sort of, obnoxiously so, an overachiever and because I had so much work, I just ended up isolating myself from everyone to get it done and then sleep.

From everyone I knew, I could tell the job market was grim. So I made a plan. When I have a plan, when I know when my next move is, when I can predict—although no one can predict the future—but when I feel like I can expect what is coming I can function a lot better. So here was my plan to be an online editor after graduation without feeling like a fuck up and without turning my hair grey.

Wait A Year And Then Cry

It takes a while to find a job that relates to what you’ve studied and want to pursue. Accept it. Take a deep breath. Now move on. For some people it takes decades to get the job that they want because a) they were never sure of what that was. b) they got side tracked by the job they had to just make money. c) they had to climb the latter to get that job. For me, as long as I was writing or working with social media I would have been happy. I promised myself that I would give myself a year to get a job in the field I wanted. That didn’t mean that if I failed I would give up, it meant that I had an entire year. It meant that if I didn’t get a job next week or next month, if I got a rejection letter, if I didn’t hear a call back–it meant that I was giving myself permission to not freak out because I had a year. I had time to fail. Things take time, accept it. Take a deep breath.

I Didn’t Want Any Resume Gaps

When I am not on the right rack, IDK maybe it’s because I am a Libra or something, I feel out of balance. Instead of  going into some unrelated field or becoming a barista (there’s nothing wrong with doing that, do what you have to do!), I made a compromise with myself. With four internships under my belt and a few good published clips to show, I knew it was time to get paid. The compromise was that while I was looking for full-time work, I would get a paid internship. I would settle for nothing less than a paid internship. This way I would still be working in my field but have some kind of income coming in. I had the luxury of living with my parents so the necessity to make a lot of money to pay rent and bills wasn’t there. I made $10/hr, the most I had ever made at any job, at the wonderful internship that would later get me my job here.

I Stopped Comparing Myself To Other People

Comparison is poison. It poisons your mind because it distorts your perception of yourself. Comparison is a lie because it creates a false dichotomy with the implication that the one with this is better and the one without is worse. Do not get mad at Lena Dunham because she writes/directs/produces a TV show at 25. Do not get mad at Taylor Swift because she is worth tens of millions of dollars at 21. Do not get mad at that girl in your class who works for New York Magazine even though in your opinion she is not even that talented. Do not get upset because everyone looks like they have their shit together and you don’t. Do not get mad because life’s circumstances have left you without so many resources, talents and possessions that others were gifted with from birth. Just don’t go there. You will be perpetually unsatisfied. I would be perpetually unsatisfied if every time a friend had success if instead of responding with joy and excitement, I responded with bitterness and resentment. Just keep on moving in the right direction and carve your own path at your pace. It will happen. You have a year. Then you can cry everyday if you want.

I Applied To At Least 10 Jobs A Week

I carved the time for it. I drafted many cover letters. Filled out many stupid online job profiles. 10 a week and then I could breathe. I was doing it. I was doing something.

I Made Time For Fun

You have to have fun. It’s your job to be young. Our generation is considered the most stressed generation. I believe it’s because there is so much pressure to perform combined with a future that looks economically bleak. I think people our age have a general distrust in the government to make decisions that will benefit us because, well, they haven’t been. I’ve heard from many older people, if not all of the ones I know, that they did not expel so much energy on trying to be perfect or the best. (Obviously, they weren’t dealing with the same circumstances.) However, you have to allow yourself to not be a tightly wound psychopath because you don’t know how your life is going to turn out. You saw what happened to Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Have fun, go out, chill out a few times a week. Get into some trouble. Do it or you will turn into an evil swan and die!

I Bitched And Moaned A Lot

Not to everyone, just a few good friends who can deal with me crying at brunch because we’ve all cried amongst our eggs at one point or another. You know, real friends. Bitch to them, get it out. Let it all out. Watch some stupid movie where sad things happen like A Walk To Remember and let it out. Let it all out. Then keep your head up, brush your shoulders off and get to working and twerking.

Take A Break

Don’t spend every minute of your post-grad life pursuing jobs. Being stressed is not good for your body and mind. Every now and again take a mini vacation from sociopathic-ly taking notes on job hunches and cover letter tips. Sleep in. Sleep a lot. Go on vacation if you have the money and flexibility to. Do it.

If I Didn’t Have A Job After A Year I Would

My plan was either to take any job I could find and still continue to apply to the jobs that I wanted or go to grad school. I’ve always wanted a post-graduate degree, so it made sense to me. However, going to more school is not a solution to most people’s problems. It is incredibly difficult to find work and if you are not convinced I would recommend you read Gawker’s series, ‘Unemployment Stories‘ they are incredibly sad, personal accounts of people with no luck in this economy. If anything it will make you more empathetic to others and yourself. Luckily, I got a job in 10 months. I worked really hard at my paid internship and the editors there helped me find work. I was really lucky.

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