This is for all of you graduates out there. Whether it’s high school, college, or graduate school this one is for you.

First of all, congratulations. Maybe there was a moment on your journey when you felt like you couldn’t go anymore but you pushed through it. Maybe your journey was an easy one and the next chapter is your challenge. Whatever your journey looked like I imagine there were good times and hard times, people who supported you and people who walked away, times when you believed in yourself and times when you questioned yourself.

As you approach graduation, you might feel overcome with a myriad of emotions and that’s ok. Hopefully you’ve learned that you can be proud and nostalgic, relieved and disappointed, excited and unsure. Perhaps you are stepping into the next chapter confidently but what if you’re not?

Not everyone’s journey is a straight line and yet that’s what all the Hallmark cards and social media posts lead you to believe. You move throughout your journey in your own way, trying so hard not to fall victim to the comparison trap. So how can you stay true to yourself?

Surround yourself with people who support you. Spend time with those who build you up, not bring you down.

Develop a self-care routine. Hopefully you’ve learned at least 2 strategies for self-care so as you head out on your new journey incorporate those into your schedule.

Self-reflection. Where do you feel most grounded? Is there a place or setting like being outdoors hiking where you feel centered? If so, go there and spend some time thinking about what comes next.

Take small steps. If there’s an industry or a job you want, talk with people who work there or do that job. Find out as much information as possible.

Be open. I wonder if you ask people in their 40s if their job is what they have wanted since age 6 or 16 or 26. For some people the answer might be yes and yet I think you’d be surprised to hear the stories of people who thought they were headed on one path but changed course. Perhaps it was a place, a person, or an experience that changed their course. Be open to possibilities.

Be patient and kind to yourself. Transitions are hard. Often we create expectations around what the next chapter should you look like and when those expectations aren’t met, embarrassment, disappointment, worry can all creep up.

Looking for additional support? I’d be happy to help. I work with individuals going through the college and career transition.