SGPsychStud + MY Psychology: Sense of Emptiness Experienced by Undergraduate Students

This is the common feeling experienced by many new undergraduate graduates.  We cannot deny that it really happens, especially for those who do not have a job upon their graduation.

This sense of emptiness may stem from the fact that they have no clue of “What is Next?”;  they might have just put their goal at the point of finishing a degree.  But, “what is next” after completing the degree?  It may be an issue for them because there are uncertainties and too much unknowns for them especially when it comes to the point whether they want to pursue their Masters postgraduate degree or enter the workplace or take a “Work & Travel” experience overseas.  Sometimes, facing uncertainties lying before them, they may choose to stay in their comfort zones and avoid thinking about what will happen after their degrees.

Perhaps, these feelings could be due to the sudden change of lifestyle.  When they graduate, they are no longer students; they are no longer tied with assignments and university life.  It has come to another stage in life where they may need to apply for job interviews.  During the period of waiting for a reply from companies, they might experience emptiness and uncertainty;  sometimes they might even doubt about their choices and always wonder whether it is the right time to go for work, whether or not they are mentally prepared for that choice.

They may feel additional pressure when their peers start moving on in different directions, resulting in them being left alone without any clue of moving forward.  At this point, they may have also realized that they have not developed a very good understanding of their own interests and abilities in psychology, hence they did not know which psychological area they should specialise in.

“Been applying for jobs, and went for some interviews.  But I've been wondering "What could have gone wrong during the interviews?"  "Why can't I get a job, why is it so difficult here in Singapore?"  (Though I know the answers to those questions, I refuse to give in & keep persisting.)
All I just want is to get a job.  A job that's related to Psychology.  I do not mind starting from scratch, but this is clearly not something that can be done overnight.
I don't wish to waste my time.  I need to be out there, doing something productive, contributing to the society.  But right now, I'm still stuck in the rut.  Troubled.  The fear of being unemployed.  What can I do?”

Here are some suggestions for recent graduates:
  1. Keep connected with seniors who have furthered their studies or entered the workplace.  Listen to their experiences so that you know what to expect if you wish to follow the similar path.
  2. Always develop a short-term goal and a long-term goal for yourself.  Share with your friends about your goal and the future self which you aspire to be.  With that, develop an action-oriented plan to move towards your goal and always assess the progress of reaching your goal.
  3. Seek help from Career Counsellor to understand your own career interest, strength and capability so that you can assess the compatibility between your skills, interests with the career fields that you are looking for.
  4. Network!  Go and meet people, and talk to them at events or conferences.  Always try to network at every opportunity possible, either with your seniors, friends, or possible future bosses and colleagues!  SGPsychStud actually got his job in Singapore through networking.  From “Power of Networking”:
“It's all about the opportunities to know new people for your own career / research prospects, as well as others to know you (which is very important as well).  With networking, it will help you to largely expand your work opportunities and network of associates.  So always make sure to get your name-cards ready before the event and their name-cards during the event.  Quite many people actually go for events and conferences not only just for the talks, but also for the chances to do networking with others.”

“The journey may be tough but never ever give up.  Tough times don't last but tough men do.  One day you'll get there.  Make the most of any opportunity you get.  Don’t always hold out for ‘the best thing’;  sometimes the best thing is not what you expect.”