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How I’m Thriving "In-Between"

An (almost) college graduate’s guide to making it when you have no idea what’s next

 

Over the next four months, I plan to move from my home state of North Carolina to New York City, start my first full-time job, and get married. For the past year, I’ve struggled to balance schoolwork, wedding planning, job applications, leadership positions—you name it. It’s been a struggle.

Luckily, I found three ways to maximize my time “in between” (and they all start with “re” which is pretty handy): revamping my digital presence, rediscovering my interests, and re-evaluating my goals. Here’s how they’ve helped me manage the onslaught of change I’m bracing for.

1. Revamping social media accounts

Our digital presence matters now more than ever before. With an increased reliance on social media for breaking news, finding jobs, and keeping in touch with friends and family, having a substantial digital presence is a must. One of the beautiful aspects of social media lies in its ability to connect people from all walks of life. It makes our world smaller, and in the grand scheme of job hunting or brand building, the opportunities are endless. With that in mind, it’s essential to conduct regular “check-ups” for your social media accounts, and to do it with your goals front and center.

For example, I’ve been actively searching for a full-time job for months. To prepare for the interview process, I created an online portfolio, enhanced my LinkedIn profile, and cleaned up my social media accounts. For me, one of the hardest parts was figuring out what the change and how to optimize each channel. If you’re stuck on how to begin revamping your accounts like I was, this article provides 31 tips for creating the perfect LinkedIn profile.

Along with re-wording job descriptions on my LinkedIn profile, I’ve also taken the time to “edit” my other social media profiles. Filtering through old Facebook posts, tweets and Instagram likes takes a long time—but it is 100% worth it knowing that your digital footprint is attractive. To experiment, I began to search for my name on Google. Imagine my surprise when I saw a picture from my seventh grade formal on Google Images (scary, right?!). Like my formal picture, a quick Google search could produce pictures, posts, and information from years ago. Are you prepared for the results? If not, a quick check wouldn’t hurt, and if you need more motivation, this article further explains how employers are using social media platforms to recruit and hire candidates.

2. Rediscovering (or discovering) passions and interests

The past four years of my life have been filled with classes, internships, and club meetings. On more than a few occasions, I found myself falling into the trap of going through the motions. One day, as I was binge-watching Netflix avoiding a homework assignment, I realized that many of my free moments were spent catching up on sleep or watching TV. It was then, mid-binge, that I realized that I didn’t have a single activity or project that I was working on just “for fun.”

Finding a hobby or small project to ground yourself outside of your regular schedule can not only spice up your life but also provide a source of stress relief. If you don’t already have a hobby you keep up with, think back to your childhood. What did you enjoy doing? Is it possible for you to integrate it into your life today?

To identify my hobby, I started with brainstorming a list of activities I enjoy. Once I identified a couple of hobbies, I enlisted my sorority sisters to experiment with me and hold me accountable. You can find communities either online or in your town that can provide a source of support as you explore the new piece of your life. (Here are even more ideas on how to find a new hobby as an adult!)

3. Re-evaluating dreams, goals, and aspirations

For 12 years of my life, my goal was to get into and attend my dream university. In January 2014, that dream finally came true. I’ve loved every moment of being a college student, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But now that I am graduating and moving on to the next stage of my life, I need a new goal.

Whether it’s getting your dream job, moving to a new city, or visiting another location on your bucket list, taking the time to revisit and re-evaluate your goals is critical. Especially during quiet seasons of life, updating our goal(s) is a way to re-focus and re-motive our day-to-day activities. Having a list of small and large goals helps us to stay focused and intentional about how we spend our time.

Ask yourself: For the remainder of the year, what do you hope you accomplish? What have you accomplished thus far? Allotting ten minutes to write out the answers to these questions can completely refocus your state of mind.

The value of self-evaluation and self-discovery is priceless. Take the time to reflect on these changes identify them. If you’re looking for a place to start, this short online quiz provides an in-depth assessment of your personality and breaks down your classification into strengths & weaknesses, friendships, and work habits that align with your results. Your results may inspire some new goals!

Living in-between two stages of life is a challenge, but with the right tools and habits, it's a lot easier to enjoy the journey.

By Gwen Smith

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