Recent College Grads: Adjustments, Parents’ Role, Jobs and Adult Life

What are some of the adjustments that recent college grad kids will be making?

Recent college grads have many adjustments to make. Not only are they saying good-bye to many of their friends, a familiar surrounding and a student lifestyle, but they are also facing the uncertainty of what comes next. Even if someone has a job and an apartment lined up (these are huge things to swing for many recent college grads), they are leaving behind a structure of  going to school and an identity of being a student. Friends disperse, they are responsible for paying their own bills, and self-sufficient adulthood, while longed for, can be overwhelming. Many new college grads aren’t accustomed to creating and living on a budget, shopping for and cooking meals and making plans to spend time with friends instead of bumping into them at the cafeteria. It’s a huge shift in many areas simultaneously. 

How can parents and loved ones can help ease the transition?

It’s important that parents and loved ones acknowledge the enormity of this transition and don’t compare their own experiences with those of their children. Things have changed a lot and many young adults struggle under the burden of huge financial debt, a high cost of living and a tight job market. Staying compassionate, offering to assist them and collaborate on tasks and being available to talk through emotions related to this change is most helpful. Don’t solve issues: offer your suggestions and avoid getting hurt if they aren’t taken. Young adults often like to figure things out for themselves, which means trial-and-error learning. Sometimes the best support you can give is managing your own frustrations, sharing your feelings without blame or guilt and validating their successes. 

What are some tips for applying to jobs, moving home, and how to adapt a healthy routine in adult life?

Having a daily routine offers structure and freedom. It’s critical to set aside a specific period of time for applying to jobs each day so this activity has boundaries. Looking for job can be exciting but it’s also tedious and sometimes deflating. It can spread into all aspects of your life as the list of things you should be doing keeps growing. Avoidance accompanies discouragement and overwhelm. Talk with your son or daughter about marking off a few hours each day (preferably in the morning to get it over with) for job hunting online, responding to emails or dropping off resumes. This will assist them in feeling accomplished each day and competent as well because they’ve done something in a time frame that they laid out. Then they can do whatever they want. Help young adults limit screen time: advocate for doing other things that interest them and make them feel good. Exercise, time with friends, shopping and cooking with you–these are all activities that contribute to healthy living. Teach them how to shop, balance their bank account, make a budget and understand their health/car insurances. These skills are not necessarily second-nature and it’s very common for recent college grads to need extra support in learning them.