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  • Meredith Courtright

Transitioning from College to a Full-Time Career

Life is full of transitions. We are all constantly evolving and growing as individuals. Change is a necessary part of life. However, for some of us, change can be a challenging thing. I put myself through many changes, pushing and opening myself up to new opportunities. But change also means letting go, and that process for me can deplete you emotionally.

Recently, I graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi. My time at Southern Miss was indeed the best three and a half years of my life. Southern Miss gave me so much more than just a degree. It has instilled in me strength, taught me how to be brave, and work hard. It also gave me self-confidence, provided me with lifelong friends, and grew and refined my personal gifts and talents.

During my final semester of college, I ended up being one of the lucky ones who landed a job before I even graduated! I quickly realized this chapter in my life was coming to a close. When you leave a place, you don’t just leave the people you love, but you also leave behind the person you’ve become. The unknown of how your life will look as you transition from college life to a full-time career can be daunting.

As someone who transitioned from college to work, I have a few tips on dealing with this change. I also have some thoughts on enjoying where you are at before moving into the next phase of your life.

  • Acknowledge that you’re in a period of transition. You’re going to be emotional. It’s okay! Talk to a trusted family member or friend about how you’re feeling. It may help you work through some of your anxieties.

  • Spend quality time with your favorite people. Plan a special weekend trip, go to all your favorite restaurants, and cherish the little talks and laughs y’all have while just sitting on the couch. BE PRESENT.

  • Take time to relax. College is busy, and life is only going to get busier! Pick up a book, go for a long walk, cook from a new recipe, or journal in a coffee shop!

  • Exercise! Get into a routine of exercising often. You will feel better while you’re improving your overall long-term health. You may even make new friends as well!

  • Try not to think about everything you’re leaving behind, and focus on everything exciting that is ahead of you.. Search for fun restaurants you want to try, museums to visit, trails to hike, etc. New beginnings bring new opportunities.

Fear of change can be conquered with a positive mindset. I moved from Michigan to Mississippi all by myself, not knowing a single soul, and then I did the same transition when I lived in Spain for six months. And I just did it again when I moved to Atlanta for my first big girl job. I felt like I was losing something during every transition, and sometimes I did; however, I gained so much more! I just had to take that step and let go of the fear that it wouldn’t work out. My mindset was always, “No matter how sad or scared I am, this new season of life is going to be a time of growth and it is going to bring more happiness. In a worst-case scenario, if it doesn’t, then you can try again with something else.”

I hope you can take a small piece of my advice to transition into your significant and better chapter of life.

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