It has now been almost exactly a month since I finished my Bachelor’s degree in writing. After four years of nearly constant stress, I was so excited to be done and to feel myself breathe freely. However, I have to admit: I’m a bit devastated by the stress that is still very present.

Sure, the academic pressure is gone. But now, I am almost constantly worrying about what to do next. Should I be looking into master’s degree programs? Is it even practical to get a master’s degree? How long will I have to work as an intern? Will I ever actually get paid to write? I feel as if I am even more stressed now than I was as a full-time college student. When you’re a college student you feel as if all of the stress will magically melt away once you’re done. You think that once you stand with that degree in hand, everything will just fall into place. All of your work will have paid off. You’ll be doing what you worked so hard for and moving on to the next wonderful stage of your life.

You know what no one tells you though? College is the easy part. Life is way harder than college. Sorry, kids. Now is time for the constant stress of finding a job in your field of study. And, of course, they all want experience that you’re probably lacking in some way. You did two internships over the summer? Good for you! But guess what? This job wants YEARS of experience. Your internship just looks adorable now. So, how do we deal with this newfound life-changing stress? Here are 3 suggestions that I have found to be helpful:

1) Relaxation Techniques

This can be as simple as morning yoga to center yourself before the stress sinks in or anything that helps you relax for a bit. Personally, I find watching an episode of a TV show I enjoy to be helpful or the cliché morning yoga to be beneficial. But it’s important to find something personal that allows you to relieve stress.

2) Does it make you happy?

When applying for jobs, make sure to read the “job description” sections very carefully. Then ask yourself, “Can I picture myself being happy doing this for any length of time?” If the answer is no, you should seriously consider different options.

3) Grin and bear it

The brutal truth is that it isn’t always going to be easy. Sure, some people know throughout their whole lives exactly what they want to do, and they go for it without ever looking back. But for the majority of us, this isn’t the reality, and we still feel a bit lost even after graduation. The truth is, it’s going to take a lot of stressful experiences to figure it out. All you can really do is grit your teeth, take a deep breath, and hope for the best.

Profile pic 2Nicole Bernard graduated from Central Washington University in December of 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Professional and Creative Writing and is now pursuing a career in writing. Nicole is an open-minded coffee addict who hopes to one day be published under her own name. She just wants to write.