By Passant Hisham
KUWAIT: You start feeling your heart beat racing out of excitement as you walk towards the stage to shake the chancellor’s hand and receive your graduation certificate in pride. You close your eyes for a few seconds to vividly grasp the moment where your family and friends are loudly clapping for you and cheering your success. But by the time you open your eyes, the applause gradually fades away. And that’s when you realize that the pride inside you is suddenly replaced by different emotions that you are not yet ready to confront. The feelings of loss and fear which are the common emotions usually dominate graduates at this phase in their life.
A number of fresh graduates shared their greatest fears after graduating with Kuwait Times. Rodayna Ihab noted that what scared her the most was having no predictions of how her life would unfold. While Mohamed Alaa mentioned that he felt really intimidated by having no choice now but to face the tough real life outside the college boundaries. Similarly, Karim Mahmoud expressed his fears through the following words, “It’s my first time to feel that lost, as I was used for all my life to follow a standard plan during my school and college years.”
Although the end of an almost 16 years of education journey should feel more liberating, but according to them, it’s very overwhelming to suddenly find yourself the only one who’s in charge of planning the rest of your life for yourself, as you are now the leader of your own choices.
No reassurance, no guarantees, no guidance, and no shortcuts. It’s just you, your graduation certificate, cap, and gown, who no longer work as celebration of your success anymore, but a reminder that your journey to the unknown has just started.
For a purely fresh start you must understand that overstressing to immediately find a full-time job might keep you distracted from what matters the most, which is the present moment. Because focusing too much on what you want keeps you away from knowing what you are doing, so you end up just dreaming, and not taking any steps toward achieving these dreams. Farah El-Feky who just graduated one year ago shared her advice for this year’s graduates as she said, “Eventually, you’re going to get hired, but while you are still applying for jobs, it’s crucial to invest in yourself until your time comes.”
Obviously, it’s best to make use of your free time by working on setting your career values, exploring new things, developing your passions, learning, making mistakes, trying, failing, and then trying again. Nothing is going to shape your future for you other than those small decisions that you make every day. Do your best now, and later, you’ll reap the fruits of your hard work. Ahmed El-Malky, a recent engineering graduate, said, “I take measured steps, because I am alert to the idea that each and every life decision from now on will count.”
Most importantly, remember that no matter how much you over plan, life is never mapped out in a linear fashion. It’s great to try to have a clear vision of what your next step will be, but while staying fairly flexible and open to any possible opportunities that might arise along the way and make you unlock new goals, ambitions, or interests.
While working on collecting your pieces together, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of looking around and comparing yourself to others. Because everyone is qualified, and everyone has his/her own unique skills and potential that cannot be replicated, but everyone is in his own race, facing struggles that you might have no idea about. So, instead of building false scenarios about how others are more successful than you, focus on becoming a better version of yourself each passing day.
Lastly, have faith in the journey, and in God’s plan. You’re going to face many ups and downs after the first year of graduation, and it’s completely fine as that’s what will turn your journey into a remarkable story to tell. It’s only when you stop worrying about how everything should be, only then you’ll be able to unlock more opportunities to create the life you’ve always wished for.