Postgrad life can come as a real shock to some people – a loss of community, activities, and maybe even a clear purpose. However, at the same time, this new chapter is exciting because you can make it whatever you want. You hold the responsibility to create and find those new fulfilling activities and experiences.

Reyna Bergstrom ’18, Horace, N.D.
Major/Minor: Communication; Religion

It has been more than a year since I graduated from college. 

Upon graduating from ϰſ in May 2018, I found myself leaving the world of academia and preparing myself for the new adventure that I knew was ahead. I ventured out into the world … to a fourth summer of working at Bible camp.

Following an enriching final summer of embracing my inner child energies, I again ventured out into the world – for a few weeks of traveling – until I decided to return home.

Home to Fargo, N.D. – the place of my childhood. The town where I spent my elementary, teenage and, subsequently, college years.

And now, the town where I currently am practicing how to become an “actual” adult.

With all of this being said, life is good. After being away from Fargo for nearly eight months, it was comforting to return home earlier this year. Because, believe it or not, senior year of college is a strange time. It is a year full of transitions and change. And although change can be exciting and great, it also can be difficult to adjust to dramatic switches in routine. Instead of having your path clearly laid out in the form of an academic year, for the first time you realize that following graduation your life won’t be so plainly mapped out. 

Following college graduation, you will no longer have a clear schedule and strict guidelines showing you the way. Instead, it can be whatever you want, which is a simultaneously terrifying and freeing reality. You will say goodbye to your college community, which has become your safe haven throughout the past four years, and you will welcome into your arms – whether you’re ready or not – the future. Your future, whatever you want that to be. It could be more school, any sort of job, marriage, parenting … all worthwhile endeavors and adventures. And it is all up to you.

For someone such as myself, I’ve never quite known exactly what I want my future to look like. I have broad goals, but the specifics remain aloof. Being someone who thrives off of people and a diverse set of experiences, I know what I like and what I don’t. However, applying my broad criteria to a specific job has proven to be a bit more difficult than I originally foresaw. 

Throughout my academic journey, I was someone who thrived off of the energy of and its people. I loved the community and opportunity to connect with people my own age over the smallest of topics. I found class discussions stimulating and loved all of the opportunities that were seemingly right at my fingertips and, whether I decided to seize them or not, they were there – wonderful resources in the form of events, individuals, and places. I loved college and my academic journey. And for these reasons, I dream of someday continuing my education, regardless of what that might look like.

However, for I feel content in this new chapter of life called “postgrad.” 

Granted, I have my days when I struggle to be in the present and I find myself dwelling on the fact that I have yet to figure out exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life. But, on the bright side, I have a fantastic job and have become involved with activities and groups that fill my time in the best way possible. I get to see my family whenever I want, along with my friends who have stuck around the Fargo-Moorhead area. Life is better than good; life is excellent.

I’ve realized something since entering the workforce: We’re all just big kids trying to find our own paths. And although many of us are seemingly at different stages, we all crave similar things: purpose, community, and a sense of peace. Many of us go through life observing people who are older and think that they have it all together. And then we get to that seemingly same age or stage and realize that we don’t feel nearly as mature as they appeared, nor do we have it all figured out. Perspective is interesting in that way.

Postgrad is a strange time. It is a transition and as is the case with most life transitions, they can be tough. Throughout this past year of change, I have undeniably grieved the “loss” of school and community. However, these significant changes are all part of the journey. While there is a sense of community when leaving college, you keep in touch with those you truly care about. And on the plus side, instead of studying all of the time, you finally have the freedom to pursue non-school related interests along with having more time for yourself. However, if you’re anything like me, this acceptance of a new chapter doesn’t come right away. It takes time to process any major life transition, which includes the progression from undergrad life to “real” adulting.

In closing, I must share a few words from a good friend of mine. This friend – who is a bit older than me – summarized his postgrad experience with these wise words:  

“I remember feeling relieved at first around graduation because I really wanted to start working and I wanted to get through exams, papers, presentations, etc. Shortly after graduation, though, I remember how much I missed going to school – classes, clubs, study sessions, and I’d say it really boiled down to my missing the conduit to fun learning opportunities and interesting interpersonal interactions. You can’t let graduation be the closing act, however, and it’s important to keep looking for those opportunities wherever you can. Graduation, for me, represented the watershed moment where the onus was now on the graduates (me) to create and find those fulfilling activities and experiences instead of having everything served on a platter the way things are in student life/student affairs. So, of course, there are elements of undergrad that I really miss, but I have really enjoyed my life in the labor force!”

Life is full of transitions and change. Don’t fear these changes, but instead realize that it might take time to fully process and adjust to new chapters. Continue to find those activities and people that sustain and energize you. Don’t settle, but don’t dwell too far in the past or the future either. Be in the now. And be thankful; a thankful mindset and attitude is the best place to dwell.

Happy transitioning to whichever new season of life you might find yourself in!

Published September 2019