Five Common Obstacles After Study And How To Overcome Them

Oct 07, 2020

Graduation is a huge accomplishment, and while we equip you with industry-relevant skills during your time at Collarts, not knowing what's on the side can still be overwhelming.

On Day 3 of Mental Health Week, we're hosting a Job-Readiness Zoom panel tonight at 6PM with Support Act's Luke O'Connor, Career Pathways Advisor Clinton Scott, and Interior Design alumni and mental health nurse Danielle Meenks. And if there's anyone who knows firsthand how best to mentally prepare for life after uni, it's Danielle—heed her advice on how to tackle these common post-graduation hurdles.

Imposter Syndrom

Negative thoughts of ‘not being good enough’ are common, especially when you are trying something new, such as starting a new job or signing up for a new project. Observe the thought that you are thinking, instead of engaging with it or believing the thought to be factual. To combat imposter syndrome, you can share what you are feeling with your family or friends, because believe me, they have experienced it too—so ask their advice!

And think critically about these thoughts: what's the proof that x y z is true? Think about your studies, your talents and strengths; write it somewhere you can see it and look at this when you experience imposter syndrome!


When you are trying something new, it can be common to get overwhelmed. By thinking of all the things that you need to do, this actually leads to procrastination to not do anything at all. Just starting can be the hardest thing. Enter micro actions!

When you feel stuck, you can start by asking yourself this one question:
What is the one small micro action I can do that will get me closer to my goal? When you complete this micro action, you'll be flooded with feel-good hormones, which will give you a positive reward for completing the task. Then you will want to move on to the next micro action, and so on.


When you don’t get the role you applied for enter, that feeling of rejection can be devastating. Firstly, whatever emotion you’re feeling as a result of not getting the role you applied for is valid. Learning to sit with negative emotions is an important life lesson, and one that you will practice many times throughout your life. If we don't experience negative emotions, we wouldn't have positive emotions when things go as planned and you experience success.
Take time to pause, ground yourself, and practice some deep or box breathing. Don't forget to debrief with your support network via call and message. For the long-term, ask for feedback as to why you're unsuccessful (however, you need to be ready to receive it), and in moments like this, having a mentor can be invaluable.

Self sabotage
self-sabotage & procrastination

When you start to experience self-sabotage or negative thinking, a helpful strategy is to firstly: recognise the thought and secondly have a circuit breaker. For example, a rubber band around your wrist, that you can flick (gently) when you have a negative thought. This is what we call a pattern interrupter.

As a mental health nurse, I also teach the 54321 grounding exercise to my clients: name the first five things you see, the four things you can hear, three things you can feel, two things you can smell, and one positive thing about yourself. 


The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines burnout as an occupational issue arising out of chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. The three key areas of burn out are feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.

The key is to indulge in your favourite hobbies, positive affirmations, meditation, even try writing a gratitude journal! But above all, reflecting on your goals can do wonders. Because goals can change; you may have completed your studies and once you begin work in that role, it's not what you thought it would be. It's ok to change your mind. Goals are a moving target and can and will change many times throughout your life. Be kind to yourself. 

This blog was published as part of Mental Health Week at Collarts. Collarts students can access our free Wellbeing Practitioners by contacting

If you or anyone you know needs help:
→ Lifeline on 13 11 14                      
→ Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
→ MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
→ Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
→ Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
→ Headspace on 1800 650 890

Cover image by Oladimeji Odunsi via Unsplash; GIFs by Emanuele Kabu.
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