"The first year out was one of the hardest years of my life." Curt
The years after college can be some of the most uncertain, unstable times of life. Recent graduates grieve the loss of community, question their place in the world and struggle to find meaningful work. It can be shocking to discover that college did not fully prepare you for the challenges you now face.
"It's much rougher than I thought. I thought things would just play out, and they didn't. I don't have friends, I don't have a job and I hang out with my parents every night." Kate
But you are not alone. For more than a decade, Erica Young Reitz has specialized in helping college seniors and recent graduates navigate the transition to postcollege life. Drawing on best practices and research on senior preparedness, she offers practical tools for a life of faithfulness and flourishing during a critical, transitional time. This practical guide addresses the top issues graduates face: making decisions, finding friends, managing money, discerning your calling and much more.
Discover how you can thrive beyond your undergraduate years. If you feel lost in transition, here are resources to help you flourish as a Christ-follower in a complex world.
About the Author
Erica Young Reitz directs Senior EXIT, helping college seniors transition into the next phase of life. She works for the CCO in partnership with Calvary Church, reaching out to students at Penn State University. Erica has an MA in higher education from Geneva College, with a research focus on the senior year transition. She and her husband, Craig, live in State College, Pennsylvania, with their two children.
Table of Contents
Why This Book?Part I: Real Faith: Faithful to Christ
1. "Go to an Unknown Land": Trusting a Familiar God for Unfamiliar Times
2. In Transition: Embracing Change
3. Take Up Your Cross: Facing Adversity
4. The Tyranny of Choice: Making God-Honoring DecisionsPart II: Real Life: Faithful to Community
5. Beyond the Quad: Finding Friends
6. No Perfect Church: Choosing Community
7. People Are Strange: Preparing for Diversity
8. Family Matters: Relating to Parents
9. Twenty-Something Relationships: Navigating Sex, Dating and MarriagePart III: Real World: Faithful to Our Calling
10. On Purpose: Stewarding Every Area of Our Lives for Kingdom Good
11. A Faith That Works: Adjusting to Our Jobs, Connecting Them to Christ
12. Financial Faithfulness: Managing Money
Conclusion: "The Land Is Good": Trusting a Constant God for Dynamic Times
Appendix A: Identity in Christ
Appendix B: Monthly Budget Plan
Appendix C: Personality and Strength Assessments
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
"For nearly forty years I have watched first hand as Christian students graduate from college with high hopes, only to have those hopes dashed by the challenge of translating their education into the categories of the real world. Furthermore, most of them assume that they are alone among their peers in having this painful experience. Naming this fairly typical post-college passage is the first step in helping graduates address this transition with courage and hope. In After College, Erica Reitz has done a masterful job in calling attention to the comprehensive and complex nature of this challenge. She has brought to the task a balance of sound theology, thoughtful reflection and practical advice. I will certainly be recommending this book to Houghton College's Class of 2016."
"After College is like a conversation with a wiser, older friendsomeone who knows more and therefore loves more. Drawing on years of working with university students, Erica Reitz opens her heart to the next generation of those who will soon be entering into the marketplaces of the world. She offers uncanny wisdom about what the next years could and should mean for people who long to lastpeople who hope that their undergraduate commitments and loves will deepen over the years, rather than be discarded because the realpolitik of life was more than was expected. I hope this book finds its way into the lives of many young men and women who are on their way into the rest of life."
"A wise road map to life in your twenties, After College is an important resource for emerging adults desiring to flourish in Christ. Filled with godly principles and insightful stories, Reitz's book provides a steady rudder for navigating the tumultuous post-college years."
"After College offers evangelical Christians profound insights about grappling with postcollegiate life in today's swiftly changing world. Beautifully written by Erica Young Reitz, it seamlessly interweaves real-life stories from recent college graduates with astute quotations from famous writers, biblical paradigms with sociological studies, and practical how-to advice with inspirational hopefulness. At once both personal and professional, Reitz shares the triumphs and trials of her own experience in order to help readers discern God's calling in both church and society."
"Life after graduation can take you by surprise. It's easy to get lost. Like reading a trail map before a hike, After College challenges you to think ahead and prepare the essentials you will need for the journey. It equips you to navigate the surprises that will inevitably come your way. With practical topics such as decision making, church, community, and finances, this is a resource I wish I had as I was graduating, and one that I hope to share."
"It's far too common! College students graduate and then crash into analysis paralysis, getting stuck on questions like: 'Where do I go?' 'What should I do?' 'How will I get to where I want (or God wants me) to go?' We've needed a reasoned and compelling answer to the post-college crisis for decades, and Reitz has delivered brilliantly in After College. Every college graduate needs this book in hand, preferably six months before graduation. Every disciple-making ministry leader should know its content inside and out."
"From the opening chapter, 'Go to an Unknown Land,' Erica Young Reitz invites emerging adults on a virtual tour of life in the land beyond college. She conducts the tour from a deeply personal perspective, fully engaging the passions, possibilities, dreams, and dangers travelers will experience on their journey. Reitz's greatest gift lies in her choice to refrain from telling the reader what to do and instead make room for showing the way to enter the unknown land 'with a known God (who knows you).'"
"Most of us with college degrees forget what it was like to graduate, but not Erica Reitz. Filled with good sense on a wide variety of topics that matter, After College provides a one-stop resource for young adults who want to honor Christ at a time in life when everything is changing. Both graduates and those who care to help graduates will benefit from Reitz's counsel."
"Big changes and transitions often force people to ask big questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing? After College provides a helpful guide to wrestle with those questions in a way that is inspiring and hopeful. Erica is a keen listener: she listens well to God, recent research and student stories to offer a roadmap for success in today's world."
"After College understands and speaks to the disorientation that many college graduates experience upon entering the new world of work and adult living. Erica's book is well-grounded in her years of coaching young adults through this transition and offers lots of practical wisdom. Our church in New York City has welcomed many new graduates into our midst, most of whom struggle with the loneliness of professional life, tediousness of lower level jobs and fear of a meaningless life. They need what Erica prescribes: realistic expectations, real community and renewed trust in God's purposes."
"After College provides a thoughtful, biblically sound, pragmatic, and much-needed resource for college seniors and recent graduates. Erica Reitz addresses well the issues of isolation, disillusionment, and frustration while also providing hope and a vision of flourishing for this generation. This book connects young adults with honest expectations for the real world. As someone who has seen many students struggle to faithfully find their way after graduation, I could not imagine a more important topic to address. Erica responsibly tackles this subject with passion and a heart for helping young adults follow Jesus with every aspect of their lives."
"This is a must-read for graduating seniors and an excellent resource for everyone seeking to live intentionally. Covering the full spectrum of life's most basic issues, After College offers an insightful, practical, and biblical guide to fortify and encourage faithful transition. Erica Young Reitz manages to convey useful advice with an inspirational voice."