In just two weeks time, Vanguard’s class of 2019 will be graduating and starting a new chapter of their lives. But are they ready to leave the Vanguard bubble?
According to senior Belle Morales, with two weeks out, she has realized that things are finally coming to an end after attending Junior-Senior Banquet and turning in her last few papers.
“I love campus life and knowing I will be leaving everyone and this community behind sucks. Also realizing I have to do this all over again of finding a community after graduation,” Morales said.
The transition from campus to life outside of it is different for everyone. Senior Jadan Anderson feels good about what’s to come after his four years of college.
“I feel ready for anything that is coming, because I’ve always worked hard and I know that it won’t be easy but I don’t think that it’ll overtake me,” Anderson said.
In regards to his transition from Vanguard to back home in South Carolina, he also feels prepared.
According to Anderson, Vanguard has become a home to him, and he’s accepted that it will be different once he leaves. But it isn’t the biggest transition in his life and that’s what allows him to feel ready for his next chapter in life.
Leaving Vanguard does not look the same for everyone and according to a few alumni, it was a bit difficult.
Alumna Kendall Fee was fearful to graduate. Her last semester was filled with a lot of anxiety, but looking back wished she wasn’t scared because things work out.
“Graduating was scary, but I had to remember it’s scary for everyone and we’re all out there trying to make ends meet,” Fee said.
One thing that graduates have also been scared of is what some call “post-grad depression.”
Though it is not an official mental diagnosis, “post-grad depression” is generally used to describe the heartache that recent graduates feel once they leave their college life behind.
Alumna Raee Aytenfsu believes post-grad depression to stem from one’s mentality.
“It’s a state of transition and people view transition differently. I found comfort in Vanguard but it wasn’t my identity,” Aytenfsu said.
During Aytenfsu’s last semester, she found herself faced with two conflicting feelings: being comfortable in her own little world but also felt ready to branch out.
Once she graduated she was excited and fully accepted it wouldn’t be healthy to go back. She saw college as a stepping stool rather than a crutch.
“I was ready to make a name for myself outside of Vanguard,” Aytenfsu said.
This doesn’t mean everyone’s transition will be smooth, but it does mean that it is possible to transition out the bubble. Alumni Zach Kinninger felt a huge appreciation for college during his final semester of his senior year. He knew he’d miss the social aspect of college but felt that he was ready for the healthy goodbye. But towards the end realized that pursuing relationships wasn’t easy.
“Vanguard gave me an inappropriate comfort that made me lazy in pursuing people because I knew I could walk from my dorm and see them,” Kinninger said.
There was a weird feeling of knowing that some relationships were just college relationships according to Kinninger. After graduation, he felt he had to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, whether in regards to life or career. According to Kinninger, he didn’t find himself having the moment of realization that he was out of college.
“During the summer I started looking at three-month marks, six-month marks, and a year mark for myself and that urgency to figure out the next year left no room for being emotional about being out of school,” Kinninger said.
Find comfort in that not everyone has an exact plan for what they are doing after college. But one thing to remember is that even as alumni you can come and get help from Career Services.
Jennifer Smith, the Associate Director of Career Services, has worked at Vanguard for eight years and has experience with helping students become employed.
“We are here to help, and our heart is to serve you and we want to see you succeed,” Smith said.
Don’t feel alone in this process of graduating and finding a job, ask for help.
“Post-grad opens a door to a whole new world and we’re not meant to do it alone. We don’t know it all and we’re not going to, so reach out and ask for help,” Ayensfu said.