A few weeks ago the unspeakable happened. We finally did it: WE GRADUATED!!! Four years of sweat and tears paid off and we held that anticipated bachelor diploma in our hands. With all the American extravagance our little german private university had to offer we celebrated this milestone with a traditional graduation ceremony. Everybody was surrounded by their friends and family, the selfie taking took almost as long as the speeches and champagne was the most important food group of the day. You could say it was really close to being absolutely perfect.
But that is not what I want to talk to you about today. I want to talk about the moment after.
We have all experienced some of the same feelings after completing a big project, an important presentation or a particular phase in our life. You have worked your butt off and dedicated all your energy, focus and time to it and then suddenly it’s over.
In my case, that project was my “College career”. I spent 3 1/2 years, 12.775 days and 1.839.600 minutes being a marketing student. And I wanted to be great at it. So I studied like a mad person, did every presentation and extracurricular activity I got offered and lost myself in assignment after assignment until I forgot to eat and sleep. On May 28tth 2016 though, inevitably the project “College career” was done and I had no idea what to do with myself.
I remember counting down the months and days to this very moment, never expecting that actually achieving my goal and getting a diploma I could be proud of would not be nearly as satisfying as I’d hoped. I climbed this mountain called higher education, got to the top and there was… nothing. Nothing to do but climb back down. What an unmotivating thought.
So in this blog post, I want to share with you what I have learned about staying motivated after college graduation and getting out of the post-grad blues.
1. Recharge your batteries
College is usually a full-time job. Especially if you are working while in college it can become very draining. And it is not one of those projects that take a few weeks, you spend years going to college. Lets be honest, studying, working and having a social life with only a 24 hour day is hard. So at the end of that journey, the best thing to do is take a couple of weeks and recharge those batteries.
I remember the last few weeks of college, with taking finals, late night study sessions and writing my bachelor’s thesis. Sleep was definitely not on top of my priority list. In those high-stress situations our body produces a lot of adrenaline that keeps us going and can even get addictive. Once that stress-filled, exciting or pressuring situation comes to a sudden stop though, we feel withdrawal. Our body shuts down and the exhaustion takes over (I was literally laid out for two weeks straight). Therefore, it is fundamental that you take some time for yourself and let your body ease off.
If you want to know more about how to properly relax check out our article on the productivity of doing nothing.
2. Don’t make rash decisions
The day of graduation every conversation started with the same 5 words: “What are your plans now?” And I had to realize that those of a lot of people just sounded way more exciting, thought out and career-furthering than mine. Obviously topping traveling Asia, an internship at Red Bull and a master in Sweden was going to be hard. But I didn’t have to top anything, did I? I took me awhile but I realized that everybody has to write their own story. And I know sometimes it is hard not to get jealous when your friends and enemies make amazing plans for the summer or their years after college, but it does by no means mean that your plans can not be as amazing. But they have to be the best for you and not modeled after somebody else’s life. So take a deep breath and avoid any rash decision about the future (you just graduated, give it a minute).
3. Find a new goal
After relaxing and thinking about your next steps, it is time to settle on the next goal. Finding something new and exciting to focus your time and energy on will get your motivation going like crazy. In my case, it was finding the right job for me that really got me excited for the future again. But really, it could be anything. Starting to write a blog, taking a class, furthering your education or traveling the world. As long as it is something that makes you not want to wait: Go for it!
I hope this little article could help you on your way of getting over your post-grad blues. Now let’s hear it about your tips on staying motivated after college or a big project. Also, comment below if you could find me in the header pic 😉 .