April 19, 2018
Graduation is a bittersweet occasion.
It’s sweet because it signals the end of an era of sleepless nights and restless days. It ushers in freedom from the pressure of deadlines, endless paperwork, and energy-draining exams.
But, it’s also bitter, because graduation also entails goodbye. Years of friendship built within university walls are about to be halted by distance and changes in direction. As you pack your bags one last time and walk your way out of the campus, you know that you’re also leaving behind a place that you considered home, along with the people you considered your family.
However, even while the separation anxiety has yet to subside, you are also confronted by the challenges brought about by this transition looming over the horizon. I think the biggest question in your mind could be, “Now what?”
Where do I go from here? What’s next after school?
What does the “real world” look like?
I’ve felt the same trepidation too, back when I was about to graduate from college. College graduates are seemingly thrown into a warzone, unequipped for war and oblivious about the realities in the field.
Do I have what it takes to succeed in my chosen career?
Am I ready to face the stiff competition for jobs?
I, for one, knew that my college education had not prepared me for everything, especially how to face life after graduation. I wasn’t briefed on where and how to look for a job, do well in job interviews, or make salary negotiations. I also felt insecure about whether my skills and abilities were enough to make a good headstart in my chosen career.
This number is expected to increase as hundreds of thousands of fresh graduates enter the workforce and launch themselves into the job hunt. This could make you feel anxious about how to land a job when you’re up against 7 million people desperately looking for a job.
Also, the pressures and expectations that you might be handling at the moment could add up to the internal stress that your heart is carrying, regardless of whether those pressures are self-imposed or coming from people around you.
Perhaps the biggest challenge of transitioning to a new stage in life is to embrace change and uncertainty. No matter how much stressful college life had been, we cannot deny that the campus was our comfort zone when we were still students. The idea of leaving behind your comfort zone and launching into uncharted territories isn’t always a welcome change.
Most articles on the internet only give Band-aid solutions to deal with this post-college anxiety. While practical solutions are important in going through this transition period, I think the heart is the right place to start.
The apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Although Paul was talking about Jesus’ return in this passage, Paul gave a solid principle on how we can go through changes and transitions in our lives.
First, transitions are a natural part of life. When you embrace transitions as a normal (and yes, vital) part of your life, you will find the will to “forget what lies behind” and to press on. A runner who desires to win the race cannot run looking backward. I may not know what your college life was like, but regardless of whether it was challenging or eventful, the failures of the past should not keep you from running, and your past successes should not keep you from attaining new things.
Second, transitions are necessary for growth. Strain forward to what’s ahead. Life isn’t over yet, and God isn’t done with you yet. Embrace the challenges and learn new lessons! Stretch your capacity! God is about to build new muscles in your faith, character, and skills — things that you will need as you face new challenges in life.
Lastly, transitions are God’s way of bringing new things. He is about to unlock your calling and destiny, the very thing that kept you going in college! He is about to bring you to new places where you can go on new adventures with Him! He is about to connect you to new people who will add value to your life, along with people whom He has called you to inspire. Embrace the new things that God has prepared for you. Press on toward the goal!
How can you have peace and confidence in the face of insecurities and uncertainties? Here are four C’s that will help you make that big leap from college to career with peace and confidence!
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
This verse gives so much relief and encouragement! In the midst of uncertainties about the future, you can be sure that the Lord will establish your steps. He will accomplish His purpose in your life. Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. This means that God is actively involved in every event of your life. He will lead you to the job that is best for you; He will connect you to the right people in order to land a job; He will orchestrate things for your good. There’s nothing to worry about! When you’ve made that decision to make Jesus the driver of your life, you know that the wheels are in good hands.
Your future is secure when you know the hands that hold it.
While the world teaches us to boost our self-confidence, the Bible encourages us to put our confidence in Christ.
Self-confidence could only lead us towards either being prideful or being insecure.
Godly confidence, on the other hand, is the kind of confidence that is anchored on what Jesus Christ has accomplished for us on the cross. We can be confident because we know who we are — children of God (1 John 3:1). We are chosen, holy, and royal (1 Peter 2:9). Our identity is based on how God sees us, and not on how the world measures us. Neither your college alma mater nor your grades can define your identity. A job is just a job, not your identity.
Also, the love of Jesus gives us confidence in our worth as a person. No salary grade, job classification, skills requirement, or physical qualifications could ever dictate or diminish your worth as a person. In God’s eyes, you will always be valuable and worth dying for, regardless of your status in life.
Nothing gives a greater boost in confidence than in knowing who we are and how valuable we are in God’s eyes.
“Though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Graduating from college and saying goodbye to friends don’t necessarily mean severing your connection to the people who helped you follow Jesus when you were still a student. On the contrary, it is the perfect season to strengthen those relationships and to build deeper connections with more people in church, the community of Jesus’ followers.
In the church, you can find life mentors who can speak into your life, and give you sound wisdom and biblical advice on making that transition from college to the corporate world. In the church, there are people who will pray with you, encourage you and celebrate with you.
Your life in your campus may have ended, but your life with the church doesn’t have to end with it. Stay connected!
Knowing your life’s purpose gives your heart the perfect combination of peace and excitement. You have peace because you know that wherever God takes you, your purpose is clear: to go and make disciples. This also produces excitement, because your impact can finally go beyond the walls of your school!
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
You were made for a mission. Your campus has been your training ground for many years, and this has been your rally cry: Change the campus. Change the world. You’ve been changing the campus through the gospel; it’s time to change the world.