The Spring Semester is finally here and it is going to be your last! Are you itching to finally get out of college?! Have you been milking your wonderful time in school and are dreading the real world of adulting? Either way, you are super close to graduating. So read through some of the things you should be doing before that “g” word gets too close.
Thinking about work after college and/or graduate school.
- “What graduate schools have you applied to?” “Do you have a job lined up?” “What are your plans after graduation?” These will definitely pop up in casual conversations with friends, family, strangers, pets, stuffed animals, cashiers, hair dressers, long lost drunk great-uncles… you get the point. Trying to answer these open-ended questions can be stressful, annoying, frustrating, and confusing. Especially if you are not 100% sure of what your exact plan is. The easiest way to handle these is to have a prepared and practiced answer. If you do not have a specific plan (which is absolutely OK), make up a general answer that sounds good to you. If you have a specific plan, practice talking about it and then dive deep into the discussion. Make sure whatever your answer is, you feel comfortable with it. Do not let these type of questions catch you by surprise.
- Some of your peers might already have dream jobs lined up. Others might have already been accepted into their dream schools. If you are one of the lucky ones, then that’s simply terrific! Congratulations! Be proud of yourself! If you are not like those lucky peers… that’s ok. This is not the end of the world and you are not alone. And do not, I repeat, DO NOT compare yourself to others. We are all on different paths; we all have different destinations; we all move at different speeds. Don not compare yourself to others in this situation, or any other. Not now. Not ever.
- Some helpful tips to keep in mind for a successful job search:
- Keep your LinkedIn profile in pristine condition. Filter and monitor your social media (YES, employers DO look at these).
- Utilize your on-campus career services as much as you can. Make an appointment to talk to someone about your resume, consider doing a mock interview, and discuss career options with a counselor. Take advantage of whatever is offered to you <- these are TERRIFIC resources for success.
- Make sure to take advantage of this time and network as much as you can. If you haven’t already, start conversations with your professors, make an effort to keep in touch with your classmates, have some extra discussions with your TAs, talk to your current employers about your future (whether or not it involves the company you currently work in). Networking is super important and I wish I did more of this when I was a student. If you have the ability, reach out to alumni to network.
- Reach out to the companies within your field of interest. Although I have never done one myself, you might want to consider asking for an informational interview. Get some tips on how to do this successfully here.
- And, at last, keep calm. Keep applying, applying, applying, but make sure to remember to stay calm and take care of yourself.
Speaking of self-care, here are some things you might want to consider doing for yourself:
- It might be hard to believe, but it is very likely that this is your last chance to have the opportunity to check out from life for an entire afternoon and watch Netflix. So go ahead, take a day to yourself and binge-watch some good ole Netflix.
- Don’t forget to work out. This will assist with lowering your stress levels and keeping you sane. This will also help to ward off the aftermath of freshman-year drinking and dining-hall all-you-can-eat pizza lunches. You will thank yourself later. Remember Freshman Fifteen? Don’t let Senior Seventeen add on top of that.
- Flaunt your yoga pants. Seriously. This is also potentially the very last time in your life that you can pull off wearing yoga pants everywhere you go. For various reasons. So slip on those yoga pants and go take over the world.
- Learn how to cook. Like… really cook. Once you graduate, you will have other priorities that will take over your life. And let me tell you, eating ramen seven days a week is not attractive, healthy, or acceptable after graduation. Go ahead and learn how to cook some basic things now and you will be amazed at what a difference that will make in your bank account and body. (You might also want to learn how to make coffee that isn’t $7 a cup, this will also come in handy).
- Speaking of bank accounts, learn how to budget. Any budget. Here is the budget I made for myself this year. Utilize at least some sort of a money tracking/saving technique that will help you stay out of disastrous debt. Try to raise your credit score; or start a credit history, if you haven’t already done so.
- And finally: travel. You will never have as much freedom, time, and flexibility as you do now. I don’t care if you work three part time jobs, have an internship, and go to school full time. When you have a full-time job, family, and kids, you can’t ask off. You can’t just quit. You can’t take unpaid time off. You can’t pretend to call in sick (in fact, with kids, you can’t “call-in sick” at all). Take this time to travel to at least one place you’ve always wanted to see.
Don’t forget that graduating is not the end to the best times of your life (like you might believe). This is a big step in your life. This is a beginning. This is an opportunity for you to re-invent yourself, to grow, to become a better person. This is your chance to choose where your life goes.
Leave all the toxic relationships and habits behind and don’t forget to cultivate your healthy relationships and habits into the new stage of your life.
Focus on the positives and never stop growing.