Coping with the Transition from Student to Graduate

Graduation involves a big lifestyle change and can bring a rollercoaster of emotions from joy and excitement to stress and overwhelm. Guest author, Lucy, shares helpful tips on dealing with the transition from student to graduate, to help you cope with change and enjoy the experience.
Graduate boy
Working life is quite different to student life, and it can come as quite a shock for many people. After graduating, you may need to move to a different city or back home, and you’re likely to find that all areas of your life will change.
In times of big changes such as these, it’s easy to bury difficult feelings and try to avoid addressing them. However, it’s important to learn how to approach change in a healthy manner. To avoid any potential pitfalls or stress, here are some top tips on how to cope with the transition from student to graduate.

Be open to change

Being flexible and adaptable are great skills to learn, and as a student you’ve already shown these qualities. Try to view your transition as a chance for personal growth and development, and keep a positive outlook. Your entire routine and schedule will probably have to shift now, and it’s natural for it to take some time to fall into a rhythm that feels right for you. The main thing is learning how to be open to this change.
The same can be said for your social life. It can be challenging, because opportunities for catching up with friends may be more limited as you transition into a more mature lifestyle – especially if you lived with people at university. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay in touch with people from all corners of the globe, so be sure to take the time to maintain your connections.

Check in with yourself

When we feel in control and on top of things, we generally find it easier to build healthy habits and prioritise self care. But sometimes, stress can lead us towards unhealthy coping mechanisms. If you notice you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out more often than not, be sure to check in with yourself and reassess which coping strategies you’re using.
Over or under eating, changes to your sleeping patterns, recklessly spending money and avoiding people are all signs that you may be using unhealthy coping mechanisms. Ignoring these signs won’t make things any better and could eventually lead to serious health problems such as anxiety disorder and depression. Instead, take note of how you’re feeling and outline the steps you need to take to positively change your behaviours and outlook. Once you feel confident your goals are achievable, focus on increasing your healthy daily habits to support positive wellbeing.

Don’t compare yourself to others

Everyone is on their own journeys, but as a new recruit, you may feel intimidated being surrounded by people with more work experience than yourself. Remember that everyone started at where you are now, and in time, you will naturally learn and grow too. Also, it’s important to not become too invested in the pressures of keeping up with people on social media. Your journey is yours, and it’s no less important or successful than anyone else’s.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and worried about where you are starting or the direction you want to take, having a break from social media may help to prevent you from feeling worse. Instead, focus inwardly on your own wants and needs, and set yourself up for success by creating actionable plans on how to reach your goals.

Have confidence in yourself

Even if you were the top of your class in university, it soon becomes clear that you don’t know everything when you start working. Don’t let this beat down your confidence, but instead use it as a great opportunity to learn, ask questions and learn the ropes. Employers are looking for people who are passionate, curious and keen to learn – so remember that you are bringing something valuable to the team.


Contributor Lucy Monroe

About the author

Lucy loves to share her experience and wisdom surrounding personal and professional development with students and graduates. She hopes to inspire others to maintain a good routine of self care and healthy living, so that they can move into the next chapter of their lives with confidence.


Find out more:

Coping with Change After Graduation
Recent graduates, who know how it feels, talk about the transition from education to working life & share tips on coping with change & embracing life after uni

Avoid Graduation Blues – Let Your Hair Down after Uni!
If you’re feeling drained after exams & overwhelmed about the next stage, here’s how to pick yourself up and avoid the ‘graduation blues’ aka ‘quarter life crisis.’

Finishing University – What to Do After Graduation
The transition from student to graduate brings exciting changes. Find out how to approach this next stage of life