Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment. After four long years of studying, a roller coaster of emotions, you finally get to enter the professional world. However it can also be stressful. You are no longer protected by school’s safety net and you now have to find your own opportunities. It only makes sense to approach this step of your life with wisdom.
Here are 4 things to remember before graduating college:
-You don’t need to have it all together
There is this misconception that surrounds recent graduates in which they are forced to believe that they must have everything in perfect place in order to have a successful professional career. However this has been proven to be untrue. People get so caught up in the traditional way of thinking that they often forget that life does not always happens the way it’s supposed to be. There are unforeseen twists and turns that one simply must adjust to. So if you’re graduating soon and are still confused about what exactly it is you wanna do, don’t panic. It happens to more people than you would think. You simply have to sit down and think about it calmly. Most people who graduate from college don’t realize what they want to do in life until they have had several experiences in different positions. Therefore applying to various types of work can help you get a step closer to where you want to be. For instance, I have friend who is now a web developer. However he graduated from college with a degree in media studies and a minor in History. The summer following his graduation he took on a lot of different roles to only realize that his true passion was in tech. He then took boot camp classes and became a developer for an acclaimed film company. This example shows you that it can take time for one to figure out exactly what they want.
-Your network is your net worth
I can’t stress this one enough. It is often overlooked but this is one of the most important takeaways of college. Your network is as important as your grades – if not more in some cases. When you have a strong network, it is like having a bunch of people looking out for you professionally and sometimes if lucky emotionally. Therefore it is important for you to entertain relationships as much as you can during your college career. Go to networking events. Attend workshops. Go to seminars. Reach out to mentors directly. Those are all steps that have great value when it comes to networking. And if during your college career you did not have time to do that it’s not too late. You can maintain the ones you already have. You never know what they have to offer and you can still go to networking events. In a city like New York, there are always social events happening. So get out there and start talking to people.
-It’s not all about your grades
Your grades are important yes but they are not the only thing that you should focus on. As previously mentioned, maintaining relationships is also an important component. We now live in a generation where people go beyond arbitrary standards to really value someone’s contribution. People are now looking beyond the traditional grades and transcripts are looking at what you have to offer. Since graduating rate has been sky rocketing since the late 1990’s, employers are looking for something unique that is not taught in school that you have to offer. Your competitive edge they call it. Therefore it’s important for you to look within yourself and see what exactly you have to offer. The best way for you to do is by having side hustles. Don’t delay your dreams. People often wait after college to start their passion project. But the earlier you start, the earlier you will reach success. And who knows this might be your competitive edge. The added value that you will bring to companies.
-You will need to unlearn and adjust
College is very different from the real world. In college you get to learn about conceptual theories and in real life you get to apply them in useful context. So it only makes sense for you to expect some unlearning. School teaches you to be a certain way when life does not necessarily go according to plan. In order for you to thrive, you have to be able to adjust. Don’t get so caught up on a specific way to do things that you miss out on opportunities. There is always a learning curve even after graduation. One misconception for new graduates is that the learning stops after school but that simply isn’t true. Learning comes from from different forms and believe me you could find yourself heaving learned more from real life experiences. So keep an open mind and be ready to challenge your way of thinking.
Life after graduation is an interesting one. You are thrown to a world that you have never been before and are expected to thrive. In order for you to thrive, you must be willing to keep an open mind and apply the skills that you have learned throughout your life.
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Christy Joseph, Writer, Shortstints