Facing the real world

Resources available for students getting ready to step out of college

ADULTING — College students have learned about everything from laundry to persistence. Photo Credit: Alexandra Ramey

ADULTING — College students have learned about everything from laundry to persistence.
Photo Credit: Alexandra Ramey

As the semester comes to an end and graduation draws nearer, seniors begin to feel both the excitement and fear of
the unknown.

Whether they have jobs or internships lined up, graduates are about to make the transition from college life into the
real world.

Brittany Shearin was in this situation last year at this time and experienced many of the same emotions.

“Stepping into the real world was a scary transition for me, especially because I had no solid plans after graduation,” Shearin said.

“The unknown can be intimidating, but it is also exciting to think about all the potential for the future.”

Liberty offers many services to help seniors prepare for this time of transition such as the Career Center and Student Counseling Services.

Tracey Good, lead counselor for the Career Center, works to help students develop resumes, search for jobs and prepare for their next step.

We encourage students to come at whatever level they are and know that it’s never too late to start planning,” Good said.

“We help them begin to have steps that they can take to get them in the direction they should go.”

Some students, like Shearin, may not have a job lined up and will begin to worry and stress over finding a job.

Shearin says that going from having things planned to not knowing was the hardest part of her transition.

“I had the last four years of my life planned out before graduating,” Shearin said.

“I found myself missing the familiarity that I had grown accustomed to.”

Good encourages seniors with no job lined up to realize that it is not uncommon for graduates to be in this situation.

“Seniors need to remember to not panic and not put so much pressure on themselves,” Good said.

“They need to be open to taking the first step and remember that their first job may not be their dream career.”

Steven Nielson is a licensed clinical psychologist who works for Student Counseling Services at Liberty.

He said graduation time can become stressful for students because they have been in such a structured environment for the past four years.

“With graduation comes the next stage of identity development,” Nielson said.

“With this next stage of development, we are tasked with the responsibility of building a professional and personal legacy.”

Dealing with the stress and anxiety is important to ensure that seniors will continue to succeed in the future.

“Stress and anxiety are often our physiological response to unanswered questions, and at this point in the semester, graduating seniors have many unanswered questions,” Nielson said.

“The most important thing is to recognize that these challenges are universal to graduating seniors and cannot be resolved immediately.”

According to Nielson, the best way to fight stress is to focus exclusively on the tasks at hand.

Another point Nielson makes is that many people look for quick answers to relieve their stress when in reality these
decisions are often wrong.

Liberty Student Counseling Services offers a place for students to come and talk about these challenges.

Nielson said that after talking things through, students are better able to make decisions about their future with more confidence.

“I have found that all good journeys begin with prayer, followed by planning and then pursuit,” Nielson said.

“What I encourage seniors to recognize is that, by earning a degree, they have proven themselves to be considerably resilient.

That same resilience that they developed over the past four years will aid them in achieving their life’s purpose.”

Shearin said that while this transition time is difficult and scary, the best thing about life after college is not having homework.

“My advice to all the graduates is to enjoy these last few days and soak in as much as you can,” Shearin said.

“Also, don’t worry about having it all together after you graduate and don’t compare yourself to others who might because God has a plan for your life.”

WHITTAKER is a feature reporter.

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