by Stacy Dunn
It’s OK to not have your life all figured out when you are 22, says Sarah MacEachern, Education Coordinator with Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), PEI Division.
Her comment was part of a webinar called Life After Graduation hosted by the UPEI Student Union. Sarah and co-facilitator Hassan Abbassi from CMHA PEI offered some advice on how to navigate the transition between university and the work world.
“Entering this next stage of life can be hard, and these big changes impact all areas of your life,” she says. “Change comes with a lot of uncertainty and people have different ways of coping with it. Stress can also arise from being nervous or overwhelmed even when you know what’s next.”
- Find structure and maintain a routine. Set a daily or weekly schedule for job search, for example
- Remember to eat and sleep regularly
- Make time for exercise and socializing
“Be flexible and open to change. Success and growth are not linear, and everyone is on their own journey. Try new things – life-long learning is one way to take care of your mental health.”
Hassan says if finances are a concern, create a budget and set up a savings account. “Apply for loan forgiveness programs and be aware of grace periods and interest charges. Graduates are encouraged to apply for the Government of PEI’s Debt Reduction Grant as soon as possible.”
Applying for jobs
Sarah cited a report that says 70 percent of graduates do not get a job associated with their major. “Apply for the job you think you are under-qualified for. Employers may be looking for younger talent who will bring fresh ideas to their organization.
“One statistic says women will apply for a job if they have 80 to 90 percent of the qualifications listed, and men will apply if they have only 50 percent of the qualifications. The message here is to apply for a job you would enjoy. It is OK to explore new things and to take time to find a job you will enjoy. We work eight hours or more a day and if we don’t enjoy what we are doing, it’s detrimental to our health.”
Get involved and stay connected
She says it can be lonely after graduation, so you should find ways to get involved in the community. “Join a sports team or volunteer at a non-profit organization. Meet as many new people as you can. Remember the people you connected with at university – like professors, alumni, and staff. They may be willing to help you by writing letters of reference for a job or for graduate school.
“Be hopeful and kind to yourself. Appreciate everything you have accomplished and celebrate your graduation.”
For more information on Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), PEI Division programs and supports call 902-566-3034. Visit www.pei.cmha.ca
For more Mental Health & Addiction supports and services, visit www.employmentjourney.com/mental-health-and-addictions-supports-services
For PEI resources and services for job seekers, visit www.employmentjourney.com/resources-services-for-job-seekers
For Financial help for education and other financial literacy resources, visit www.employmentjourney.com/financial-help