Recent graduates adjust after college

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Students spend years adjusting to college life, from late-night homework cram sessions to eating budget meals in tiny apartments.

By the time students really get good at college living, it is time for them to graduate. While adjusting to college is difficult and ultimately time consuming, some graduates say the most difficult adjustments come after college.

Post-college life certainly has its challenges. Finding a job, maintaining friendships and even getting married or starting a family are just a few of the challenges facing recent graduates.

Chase MacCourtney, a 2012 recreation management graduate, said he faced challenges adjusting after graduating despite being well prepared for post-college life.

”I definitely felt prepared for a job after graduating,” MacCourtney said. “I actually had an interview before I graduated and, thanks to my classes that taught me about interview skills, I was offered the job after answering only one question.”

But MacCourtney, like many graduates, faced an unexpected challenge in adjusting his social life after graduation.

Graduating students may face different challenges as the adjust from a college student to a college graduate.
Graduating students may face different challenges as they adjust from being a college student to a college graduate. (Photo illustration by Chris Bunker)

“The single biggest challenge I faced after graduating was creating a social network,” MacCourtney said. “At BYU it is really easy to make friends and have a close-knit group of people to lean on for support. When I left Provo … it really struck me that I would have to actively pursue the social scene and put more effort into creating the same type of quality relationships.”

For others, social concerns aren’t a problem, but rather, getting hired is where the real struggle lies. Cait Canann, a 2010 anthropology graduate, said finding a job in the slow economy was her biggest challenge after graduating.

“The slow job market was the hardest part of being graduated,” Canann said. “I graduated in April and didn’t find my first job until August.”

Despite the possible difficulties, some students said they found the adjustment post-college refreshing. Tracey Brimhall, a 2012 civil engineering graduate, found she had more spare time.

“There was no real adjustment for me — at least no negative ones,” Brimhall said. “I had hours of free time every day, which never happened during school. I could spend time on hobbies and socializing that engineering homework had always prevented.”

BYU provides services to assist students preparing for post-college life, whatever their situation. Students can find help with the transition by speaking with career counselors and other professionals at University Career Services in room 2400 of the Wilkinson Student Center, or at 801-422-6535.

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