Dear College Graduates,
Congratulations! I applaud you for completing your goals. Your hard work, dedication, and the occasional freak outs was worth it in the end. As one chapter closes, another one is quickly approaching: the real world. I was nervous but also excited during my graduation day and the days leading up to it. But also around the same time I began to experience some anxiety and mixed emotions. So for those of you who are panicking instead of celebrating, I’ve got a few tips I’ve learned since entering the real world.
1) The annoying, “What’s your major?” question is now replaced with, “So what are your plans after graduation?” This question can drive you crazy, especially, if you are still figuring things out. Just say “I’m still weighing my options.” and change the subject. You’re welcome.
2) The “you need experience to gain experience” oxymoron is more powerful than you think. It will make you feel like you’re degree is worthless at times. Don’t overlook the possibility of an internship or volunteering. I know there is little to no money involved in the beginning, but it can definitely be an investment. Sure you won’t get paid but you can still work at Forever 21 while you volunteer at the hospital.
3) Millennials enter the real world with a GIANT strike against us. The reputation or stereotype of the millennial generation is that we are lazy, we search for instant gratification, we don’t want to start at the bottom, and we are constantly on social media. Honestly, it’s true for the majority. So with that being said, don’t be lazy, be PATIENT, don’t apply for jobs that you are not qualified for, and be professional.
4) Either make your social media pages very private or think 3 times before you post certain statuses and pictures on your social media sites. Non millennials take the internet seriously. Don’t believe, me ask Mimi.
5) I don’t know too many 21 year olds who want to move back home with their parents but in the real world: “you gotta do what you gotta do.” Sometimes you have to make sacrifices. If living with mom and dad will help you save money until you are stable, it will be worth it in the long run. But only move back if you have to. If anything be thankful that they’re willing to let you back in.
6) Do not avoid Sallie Mae. If you can’t pay right away, talk to her. Look for alternative ways to pay your student loans. Whatever you do DO NOT AVOID her. You do not want to mess up your credit this early in life.
7) Redbox becomes your new best friend. It’s cheap and you usually don’t want to go anywhere while you get use to your 9 to 5 schedule.
8) Your first job after college may not be in your career field. Don’t get discouraged, but do not get stuck. As long as you are on schedule with your 5 year plan, make the sacrifice. Just remember, get your checks and get out of there.
9) When looking for a job in different cities, take in consideration to the cost of living in the area.
10) Keep in touch with professors. A resume’ is only as good as its references.
11) A professional mentor is good way to keep your spirits up during the new adjustment and to gain advice. Beware of the opinion overload. Although many mean well, too many options will overwhelm you. Follow your strengths.
12) If you do not know how to write a resume or cover letter it’s time to learn. Word of advice, your resume’ and cover letter should be personalized for each job you apply for. No one said searching for a job was easy.
13) Practice your interview skills. You have great references and a wonderful resume’ but if you bomb the interview it won’t matter. Learn to brag on yourself without sounding conceited.
14) Invest in your clothing. You don’t have to buy a new wardrobe all at once, but at least be prepared to be presentable for an interview at a moment’s notice.
15) Enjoy the time of limited responsibilities. Enjoy the freedom of no more classes and tests. Enjoy the freedom of not working because after this you will be working for the rest of your life.
16) Exercise and eat healthy. Since most of you have nothing else to do, you might as well start working off that freshman 15. It will keep you occupied and your body will thank you when you start getting busy again.
17) Travel. When you finally start working vacation days will be far and in between. Take the road trip. Put it on your after graduation list. Why not?
18) There will be times when you will miss college terribly. Then you realize how much you matured and you’ll be proud of where you are.
19) Dating and meeting new people requires a little more effort as well.
20) Carpé Diem! Be thankful for each day
21) You’ll start seeing more Facebook posts about graduate school, marriage proposals, and job proposals. Try not to compare your accomplishments to others. It will make you feel inadequate and you’re not.
Once again, congratulations to the Spring graduating class of 2014. You have accomplished a goal that many wish they had. Celebrate your accomplishment and embrace the real world. It’s not that bad.
“I’m Just Saying..”