Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I Graduated, So Now What: The Down Time

One of my thesis committee members and professors mentioned something briefly to me the day of graduation, and I thought it would make a great topic for this series.  I think it is appropriate for seasoned SLPs as well as new graduates.

My professor told me that I might get a small bout of depression right after I graduated.  I said, "WHAT?"  I stood there in disbelief.  I didn't really understand why he would be telling me this on the day of my graduation.  Well, I actually appreciate it now, looking back.

His point was this:  In grad school, we are on the go all the time. We are running to clinic and then to class.  Not to mention, we are trying to have a life while still completing projects and reports on time.  When you graduate, it is all over.  You stop.  You have down time. For two years, you had a purpose and an end goal.  All of a sudden, when you graduate and do not have a job lined up yet, you seemingly don't have anything to work towards.  At least, you might not have anything obvious.

For me, I was working towards getting a job.  BUT this was getting super frustrating after not hearing back from place after place after place. I was wondering if I would ever get hired.  It really started wearing down on me.  There was one day that I did just lay on the couch and mope around.  My friends quickly came to the rescue, though. They gave me ideas on what I could do while I waited.

Here's a list of things I could work towards:

  • A job
  • Cleaning my apartment (and maintaining that level of cleanliness)
  • Working out
  • Wedding planning
  • Becoming a better cook
  • Organizing all of my materials in my closet
  • Sorting through everything I own and figuring out what to donate
  • Discovering places in my city I've never been
  • Completing a summer reading list and just reading for fun
  • Blog more/ create products
  • Sort through my grad school notes to determine which were essential and which were not
  • Volunteer
  • Spend quality time with friends
The list can go on and on.  I never had a summer vacation really.  Each summer in college, I spent at a summer camp.  The summer after I graduated, I immediately started grad school.  So this is truly the first summer vacation I have had since, well, high school.  

In my down time, I will be relaxing and trying not to worry about what is to come.  My thesis advisor kept reminding me that a job will come and just to be patient.  He was right.  Waiting is/was the hardest part, but finding other things that I enjoy to fill my time helped.  It made the down time enjoyable and tried not to throw myself a pity party.  

BOTTOM LINE:  Be patient. Enjoy your down time. Work towards those smaller "purposes" or goals that you have in your life.  Do something you've always wanted to do but never had time to. 

This down time may be the last down time you ever have. Make the most of it. 

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