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Study: Recent Grads Claim Higher Ed Didn’t Prepare Them Emotionally for the Transition to Work

Study: Recent Grads Claim Higher Ed Didn’t Prepare Them Emotionally for the Transition to Work

“asked 1,005 young professionals between the ages of 22 and 28 about their emotional well-being”

A new survey has found that recent college grads have trouble transitioning from school to the workforce.

Should we really be surprised by this, though? Colleges and universities seem to waste so much time on social justice, DEI policies, etc. When do students even have time to think about what life will be like when they finally graduate and get jobs?

Johanna Alonso writes at Inside Higher Ed:

Survey Finds Recent Grads Emotionally Unprepared for Work

Nearly 40 percent of recent graduates believe their college or university did an inadequate job of preparing them for “the emotional or behavioral impact of the transition to the workplace,” according to a new survey released today by the Mary Christie Institute. An even greater portion of recent graduates with high financial stress—50 percent—reported feeling unprepared.

The survey, which Mary Christie produced in partnership with the American Association of Colleges and Universities, Healthy Minds Network, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and Morning Consult, asked 1,005 young professionals between the ages of 22 and 28 about their emotional well-being. More than half (51 percent) reported needing help for emotional or mental health problems in the past year, with 43 percent screening positive for anxiety and 31 percent for depression. The gender disparity was notable; 68 percent of men self-reported good or excellent mental health compared to 45 percent of women.​

Of the 39 percent of recent graduates who said college had prepared them emotionally for the workforce, more than half cited peer relationships (57 percent) and extracurriculars (51 percent) as having a positive impact, while just 43 percent named mental health counseling and 40 percent cited career services.

The Mary Christie Institute describes the study:

The Mary Christie Institute, in partnership with the Healthy Minds Network, the American Association of Colleges and Universities, (AAC&U) and the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted this survey of graduates between the ages of 22 and 28 seeking to better understand the mental and emotional health of early career professionals. We believe understanding more about the emotional and mental wellbeing of the “Gen Z” workforce can serve to create a bridge between higher education and industry regard and may help to address the mental health problems that are defining this generation.

You can read the full survey results here.

Some interesting findings:

Black and Asian American respondents reported better overall mental health than their white peers (60% and 63%, respectively, said they have good or excellent mental health, compared to 52% of white and 49% of Hispanic respondents). However, Black respondents were less likely to feel part of the work community than their white peers (50% vs 68%); and were less likely to say they have colleagues who would support them if struggling compared to their white counterparts (52% vs 73%).

Nearly half (45%) of young professionals believed their work environment has taken a negative toll on their own mental health in the previous year.

Interest in mental health resources was high among young professionals, particularly if offered for free.


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AF_Chief_Master_Sgt | February 17, 2023 at 7:11 pm

STFU and go get a job, you whining good for nothing pieces of shït. Your parents failed to prepare you for life by coddling your participation trophy asses.

Welcome to the real world.

    Couldn’t have said it better myself sir the buttercups need to suck it up.

    And the first year out of college is about learning how to get up every morning and going to work. Get off your ass, grab a shovel and start pitching in.

    No whining.

    The Drill SGT in reply to AF_Chief_Master_Sgt. | February 18, 2023 at 2:47 pm

    I had been about to post this when I noted your profile name. It would be interesting to run the same survey on recent ETS’d Vets getting a first civilian job. Likely there would not be much stress about getting up and getting to work. e.g. proper, place, proper time, proper uniform comes to mind.

    Of course we’d have to avoid including young ex-airpersons in the survey, since their responses would more closely resemble the college types, than those from actual, ah-huh, Military services… 🙂

i wish they had asked the political leanings of the respondents. I bet the results for conservative vs. liberal respondents would have been very telling.


Many Campuses have invested heavily in amenities bordering on ridiculous. Couple that with over indulgent parents and a society that has handed out unearned trophies and substituted hugs and kisses for a kick in the ass and here we are. Many of these young people are encountering adversity for the first time with their first real job. Deadlines, being on time, adherence to dress code, in person communication, meeting performance metrics IOW going to WORK. Tough cookies, y’all managed to defer adulthood for a long time but the prolonged adolescence eventually ends. Welcome to rent, utility bills, taxes, commutes car payments, work wardrobe costs a few jerk bosses along with many very good bosses who challenge you and demand your best.

    henrybowman in reply to CommoChief. | February 17, 2023 at 8:00 pm

    “a society that has handed out unearned trophies and substituted hugs and kisses for a kick in the ass”

    Hilarious bit where a comic characterizes a Goodwill paper towel holder as a “participation trophy” and is challenged seriously by a 13yo in the audience complaining, “where’s mine?”

    Whitewall in reply to CommoChief. | February 17, 2023 at 9:46 pm

    “Many Campuses have invested heavily in amenities bordering on ridiculous.”
    My wife retired from a modest size University here in NC some years ago. She told me of the amenities newly installed before she left. I went for an open house visit on campus while she was still employed….I could not believe the pampered lifestyle I saw.

    When we were freshmen, the profs would load us down with work to see if we could cut it. Many dropped out after one semester and more after one year. That was the goal. Our dorms were plain with room mates and bathrooms/showers down the hall.

“Higher Ed Didn’t Prepare Them Emotionally for the Transition to Work”
Oh, for heaven’s sake, grow the fuck up.
You want emotional support?
Talk to a clergyman, a psychiatrist, or your mother.
College is supposed to expand your head, not shrink it.

“Interest in mental health resources was high among young professionals, particularly if offered for free.”
Please, Giant Meteor, your worshippers need you NOW.

The rigor is almost gone. Everyone is rushing to get an A due to grade inflation and no one is prepared.

That said, I’d say fewer respondents cited career services or mental health services because fewer students use those resources than extracurriculars (which everyone seems more interested in than their studies these days).

The other side of this coin is the regular transition from paying for something vs getting paid for something.

Obviously, there’s always going to be a different dynamic there. Most people come to realize the implications of this difference on their own after a few years post-grad. However, the current generation has been propped up by so much soft fluff bullcrap that they can’t seem to ever accept that not everything is about them.

    #FJB <-- Disco Stu_ in reply to healthguyfsu. | February 19, 2023 at 6:24 am

    Also in that mix is their young-lives experiences of simply receiving most of the stuff they want or need at NO COST to them.

    (And yes, for some people these circumstances set in as never-ending entitlements.)

      Even those with loans don’t see it as paying (until it comes time to vote for free college).

      They are still having everything paid for and having the consequences deferred for that. They don’t do well with planning for next week much less for loan repayment.

Boo hoo. Life is hard, and it’s not fair. Tissue?

The Gentle Grizzly | February 17, 2023 at 8:21 pm

Prepare them EMOTIONALLY? Dear me… Arecoir youngsters that soft?

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | February 17, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    Are our…

    Of course they are, Griz. Saying anything they don’t already agree with makes them feel “less safe” and sends them running to an authority figure to demand they shut you up or kick you out.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to henrybowman. | February 17, 2023 at 11:45 pm

      Regarding what they don’t want to hear: they do not want to talk to this particular human grizzly. I won’t be vulgar or use phrases like @back in MY day” because much of college was already nonsense and Styrofoam majors. But, they would, if they asked, hear how life goes.

StillNeedToDrainTheSwamp | February 17, 2023 at 8:24 pm

My good laugh for the day. TS kid.

bless their little snowflake hearts

amatuerwrangler | February 17, 2023 at 9:01 pm

Never had this problem. That is, after the first few weeks at Greg’s Flying A where I worked through the last 2 years of high school…. He had a real knack for getting his message across. 🙂 He ran on “Lombardi Time” to start with….

    texansamurai in reply to amatuerwrangler. | February 17, 2023 at 10:00 pm

    He ran on “Lombardi Time” to start with….

    first chevy store ever ran was owned by a ret marine col–we opened at nine am–he got there at six am as i did myself–service staff at 6:30 am–lights on, flags up at 6:55 am on the dot–office staff at 7:30 am–doors open 7:55 am–let the games begin–every day–excellent training/discipline–he was the most conscientious, effective and focused owner have ever known / worked for–an excellent man and one of my early mentors

I suspect the Disney workers who are protesting having to return to the office 4 days a week as of March 1 are cut from the same cloth as these snowflakes.

Oh noes… the poor little kiddies are just now finding out that the workplace is utterly lacking safe spaces with coloring books and play dough to help them relieve stress so they don’t have to take as many mental health days?

Tough t*tties, kiddo. The world doesn’t give a flying fig how you feel. Take off your pull-ups and put your big boy pants on.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to nordic prince. | February 18, 2023 at 6:54 am

    Coloring books and Play-Dough. Actually, that’s not far off from work places like Google, at some of the other newer Silicon Valley outfits were providing. For all I know, some of them still do.

    As for my workplace, I would not have minded a better quality of coffee, some decent chairs, and operations manager, that had any idea what he was doing, but outside of that I wasn’t expecting what a lot of people think should be there today.

Young “professionals”? LOL.
More like young loser babies.

    Sefton in reply to 4fun. | February 17, 2023 at 11:35 pm

    Where are the grownups?

    When a kid reaches 12th grade but cannot read, we tend to hold the parent/s responsible, at least partially.

    When a kid reaches age 25 but cannot handle a workplace, ya hafta wonder “Where were the parent/s? Did they really have zero clue what was going on w their kid?”

    Young professionals indeed.

It seems to me the whole premise of this survey is faulty. Most of those surveyed surely did not need to have attended college in the first place.

In the old days, it was impolite to not offer a visitor a cigarette. Homes routinely kept a few packs in the pantry — regular and menthol. Next to the coffee, tea, etc.

Today, it’s be weird to offer a guest , “Cigarette?” Lolol

The plain truth is that “college” is not necessary for the vast majority of people.

You don’t have to choose between regular and menthol. Instead you can choose not to smoke in the first place.

In the past, college was for the boldest and most ambitious. Today it’s more likely the opposite.


One almost gets the feeling that this entire survey was conducted in the first place as a way to rekindle interest in attending college … perhaps in reaction to waning interest amongst high schoolers and their families.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Sefton. | February 17, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    Remove federal loan backing and guarantees and watch things go back to the olden days in a Noo Yawk minute.

Maybe just maybe the “anxiety” that these “young professionals” are experiencing is really just what was once called “buyer’s resource.”

Or, to borrow from Otter in ANIMAL HOUSE: “Hey, ya f*ck’d up — You trusted us.”


Is it really possible that all these people never really thought seriously about what impact it’d have on their day-to-day existence of having to pay off a student loan?

The most educational experiences I had in college were during the summers when I worked as a yard mechanic for a John Deere dealership in the deep South during segregation. My boss/partner was a Black man, and we worked together on hot equipment out in the sun in 110 degree weather. We also ate lunches together in the “colored” sections of restaurants.

From him, I got an inkling of what REAL legal discrimination looks like and feels like. After that experience, every other job I had seemed like a sinecure. Nowadays it seems that most college kids have never had a difficult, menial job like flipping burgers or waiting tables. So they aren’t prepared for hard work, and they have difficulty adjusting.

I am not surprised, considering how college students have been coddled for years.

Cry me a river, you poor little snowflakes.

You were told you were you were unique and special, and learned to get what you wanted by squealing, “That’s not fair!”

Nothing is fair in this world. Life is hard and then you die.

Grow up.

    amatuerwrangler in reply to novaculus. | February 18, 2023 at 9:16 am

    Fair is just another four-letter word beginning with “f”.
    “Life is hard and then you die”— so wear a cup, kiddo

Six weeks of basic training in June-August 1969 at Lackland Air Force Base (it’s HOT in San Antonio in the summer!) was an experience I haven’t forgotten, and not just because of the weather. I suspect these little wusses wouldn’t have made it through the first week.

I guess turning universities into kindergarten isn’t working.
And not shocked Whites who get turned more “woke’ are worse off.

Why Are You Still Sending Your Kids to School?: The Case for Helping Them Leave, Chart Their Own Paths, and Prepare for Adulthood.
Author: Boles, Blake
Year: 2020

The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money.
Author: Caplan, Bryan
Year: 2018

The Teenage Liberation Handbook (3rd Edition): How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education.
Author: Llewellyn, Grace
Year: 2021

Inside American Education: The Decline, The Deception, The Dogmas.
Author: Sowell, Thomas
Year: 1993

They didn’t conduct the poll because of mere curiosity. And it wasn’t done so we could make fun of the snowflakes.
The poll has a purpose.
It’s to justify providing MORE mental health services to the snowflakes.
But we all know what they need is a dose of reality during the college years.

I remember vividly a conversation with a friend of a friend.. probably 4 years older about his first day of work…He said “it is the worst day of your life”.
No if, ands, or buts, the worst day.

He was right,, but I was expecting it. Borrowing a term from military people, with all due respect, embrace the suck.

It’s really fun to laugh at these people. Think about how total the failure of every system in their lives must have been. Their parents and families failed. Their communities failed. Their churches filed. Their education system failed.

If I had lived their life, then I would probably be much like them. Their failure isn’t only theirs, but ours, too.

I graduated from college 20 years ago and agree that it did not prepare me emotionally for work (it did help with a lot the hard and soft skills). Work is an adjustment after 16 years of education where you interact with peers and adults who are invested in helping you learn and develop. People in the workplace are all different ages and have a variety of motivations.

Could be because that’s not what college is for. OK, I’m old and people don’t do things the same way anymore, but I got my first job when I was 12. I didn’t have to be “prepared” by a school to do so, I was motivated by the need and desire for money. By the time I’d graduated from high school, I’d held several (at the same time, in most cases), and they paid for my clothes, my bike, and a variety of other wants and needs. These pampered little brats are just getting slapped in the face by reality and they can’t handle it.

Trade schools provide you with real world experience, prepare you for real life, and don´t cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Guess these snowflakes should have learned to weld.

I was so happy to get my first job after law school!!! Relieved! Then the boss said, “My job is an elected position, and you’ve already pissed off five people in your first week. This can’t continue.”


It works the other way too. Being emotionally competent for work or life is disqualifying for getting through college.

Also “emotionally competent.” Thinking in terms of “emotionally prepared” goes with why they’re not.

I am of the age where it was being graduated (or even dropping out of) high school that meant you were prepared for either getting a job, getting married , or getting more schooling. Sometimes all three at the same time. The premise of obtaining employment was not overly complicated, In good part because on the job training was the rule.
1. Dress appropriately
2. Show up on time.
3. Do as told.
I am given to understand that all of the above are hallmarks of a racist patriarchy seeking to make sure the horrors of colonialism remain entrenched in the work place. Well as I often remarked to my dear progeny when met with protests against our system, “Tough Shit.”

It may surprise these former students but they are not that special. How to tell. When they open their door to go out in the world is there a line of people waiting to kiss their ass? No. I think that is a sure sign.

Any snowflake who majored in lesbian or queer dance theory is probably incapable of holding a normal job regardless of where he or she purportedly went to college

I imagine when they get their first job and find their employer doesn’t give a shit about their opinions and isn’t interested in operating via consensus, it must be a huge shock.

OnTheLeftCoast | February 19, 2023 at 2:02 pm

So work has to change to accommodate them, right?