What You Learn (About Yourself and Life) the First Year Out of College
For many college students, graduation and the real world are quickly approaching. The thought of transitioning into an independent lifestyle full of hard decisions looms over pretty much every college senior’s head. So what is life really like outside outside of college? Is it really as scary and challenging as the media suggests? This post gives insight and advice to college seniors and first year graduates about what is to come the first year out of college.
- Transitioning into post-Grad world is not easy
Adjusting to life away from your home of four (plus) years and all of your friends is hard. I mean, these people, teachers, and buildings have been with you since freshman year! Alumna Elizabeth Keene ‘15 agrees as she said “My biggest fear coming out of college was the transition from living in a place where your closest friends were around 24/7 to moving to another location where you basically do not know anyone.” There are so many memories and lessons that you have learned at this school that has made you into the woman or man you are today. Simply put, it is not easy transitioning from your comfort zone into a world of the unknown.
- Feeling burnout with your first job/ not knowing what you want in the future
Okay so you’ve graduated….now what? Everyone (well mostly) expects you to get a job and have your life completely together on track, right? Wrong! Nine times out of ten, your life will take a dramatic turn into a direction that you were not expecting. You will probably get a job, yes…but will it be your first choice, dream job? Probably not. You will probably end up hating your first job and feel completely overwhelmed. Expect this, be prepared to fail, and learn how to pick yourself up and keep going along the way. It’s completely okay and normal to not know what your future will hold. Life is a ride, there will be ups and downs but one day, everything will click into place. As the saying goes…everything happens for a reason (redundant but it’s true).
- Searching endlessly for jobs but not having any luck
Being a recent grad, you cannot expect to have a job fall into your lap a month after graduation. You will learn that in today’s day and age, finding a job (especially a good job) is hard. Plus there are thousands upon thousands of recent grads just like you searching for the same jobs. Fact is the job searching process takes time and energy. Learn that you will fail, multiple times. It will be frustrating but having a positive mind-set and perseverance skills will help you push through. On the bright side, you will learn how to nail job applications, resumes, cover letters, and interviews (:
- Learning to face your biggest fears and tackling them
Okay this sounds way more scary than it sounds. Tackling your fears is a good thing! Yes, the real world is super big and very adult. But guess what, you are an adult! You belong, I promise! Even though it seems like you are way too young for all these changes, you aren’t! There are so many other people who are in the same boat as you and are just as scared. Stand up for yourself, learn your inner adult and strut like the confident post-Grad you are! Learning this lesson will help you grow as person even more and help you adjust further into this new environment.
- How to improve your overall outlook
Take those negative thoughts and throw them in the trash. Having a positive outlook will seriously change your overall post-Grad life in an instant. Take the bad days with a grain of salt because the good days will be worth it!
Positive Outlook Tips:
Be intentional with every job that you apply for:
- only apply for jobs that would be a good fit for you
- spend 2-3 hours per job application (resume/cover letter)
- In other words, do not just apply for a job just because you know you will get it. You don’t want to waste your time on a job that you know you will hate right off the bat
Get a professional wardrobe, on a budget (Old Navy, Marshall’s, TJ Max)
- Look good, feel good…am I right?!
Start having healthy habits
- eating healthy
- working out
- spending time just for you
- You would be surprised at how keeping your body healthy helps your energy and overall sense of well-being!
Save your money
- Don’t spend your paycheck aimlessly. Make a budget and stick to it! Save your money for the necessary items.
Give yourself pick-me-ups
- Write some messages for yourself on the mirror, in your planner, or in your room to remind yourself that you are worth it and can do it!
Write down goals with step by step instructions on how to reach them
- Having goals (no matter how big or small) and reaching them are the best mood boosters! Be organized and have a plan of action to get those goals done!
What You Learn:
- Don’t dwell on the future you, start being that person NOW
- Everyone reaches success at their own rate
- Any employee is lucky to have you – remember that
- Focus on the steps you can take today to reach your end goals
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Money isn’t as important as you think
- Be okay with the uncertainty of the future and embrace it!
- Alumna Elizabeth Keene ‘15 says it well as her advice is to “put yourself out there and take every opportunity that comes your way. You’re only young once, so do something different even if it’s not something you would typically see yourself doing.”
The thought of the real world is scary, no matter how you spin it. But if you prepare yourself, emotionally and mentally for what’s to come, the transition will be smooth. Now the advice above might be a little easier said than done; but with the right mindset and preparation, the challenges will turn into triumphs.