Guest Post: CES Student Staff member Wanda Sok is a graduating senior studying Business and Psychology.

I was counting down the days until Spring Break and practicing self talk; “only one more exam to go, two more essays to write, just twelve more hours” I kept telling myself all week. When Friday evening finally rolled around, I couldn’t hide the wide smile that crept across my face. I was halfway through my last semester of college!

I was headed to sunny California to enjoy my week away from reality, or so I thought. That first weekend, I spent hours recreationally reading in the sunshine on a beach blanket, bouncing around on the trampoline, and staying up all night to watch movies and binge on junk food. And when the weekend ended and everyone I was staying with was headed off to work on Monday morning, I panicked.

I realized something that Monday morning; I had intentionally made myself so busy this semester so that I wouldn’t have to think about my post graduation plans. And now that I had a moment where I didn’t have something I had to do, I didn’t know what to do but face my joblessness. I was moving to a new state, leaving behind familiarity, family and friends and I had no job offers nor did I even know where to start looking because everything was so new.

After my initial stress and anxiety subsided, I suddenly realized: new is good! Changes and unfamiliarity can be uncomfortable and frightening but ultimately these are factors that I can control. Because I have been fortunate enough to work for a student service office in a college setting for over three years and like it, I thought it would be a great starting point.

I spent the rest of that Monday afternoon creating a database of all the universities and community colleges in the surrounding area where I will be living. I included links to every college’s human resource page and marked job openings and due dates that I qualified for. This will allow me to go back and frequently visit these pages for new job postings. I felt better after doing this because it was a productive step towards my post-graduation plans.

When Tuesday morning came, I decided to create a portfolio. I included the invitations, name tags and programs that I had designed for an event that I am helping to plan. I also added previous blogs, financial documents that I’ve worked on and instructional handouts I’ve made. I was proud of my work and felt like I needed a central place to store it–I believe this will make me more competitive and really separate me from other candidates.

Doing these things during Spring Break helped to ease my graduation anxiety. Again, this is only step one for me but nonetheless a start is still better than nothing. Next on the list is doing more informational interviews, creating a new network of professionals to get in touch with and actually submitting applications. An online job search is only the beginning; it may still be a while until I finally get that job, but doing something about it made me feel better than doing nothing at all.

© 2010 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound