I graduated from Grad school in 2016 and it was totally different from when I graduated from undergrad in 2014. I went to North Carolina State University for undergrad but went straight to UNC-Chapel Hill to get Masters in Public Health. Basically, I didn’t have a break between undergrad and grad school so things didn’t feel too much different, I was still in school. But things really changed when I graduated and started my career! Some of the items I noted I realized shortly after graduating the first time, but other things like didn’t really hit me until I was fully on my own without school to cushion me. Here are some things I personally think are helpful to know as a recent graduate!
1.College doesn’t have to be the best time of your life
You can create so many more amazing memories and opportunities post-graduation. Of course, we all like to take the time to reminisce to “oh remember when.” But don’t dwell on the past, even if it was a really great time. It’s important to be present in the new life you are about to begin!
2.It’s totally fine if you don’t have a job right away
Do you want to be unemployed right after graduating? No–I don’t think that’s the plan for most people. But it happens. And you’re not the only recent graduate in the world with a degree that is unemployed. Honestly, applying for jobs feels like a full-time job itself! Just know that all things are going to work out as they should. Timing is everything!
3.All experience is a good learning experience
This is why internships are so important, so you can figure exactly what you like and don’t like before being fully committed. Either way, if you end up with a job and it ends up being more of the “and additional responsibilities as needed” instead of the actual job title you were given, figure out how to get as much as you can from that opportunity. Use this time to get really good at the basics, you would be surprised how far that can take you!
4.Adulting is going to hit you hard
Unless you’ve been 100% financially independent while in college and truly lived as an “Adult” (No parents/guardians reminding you to do your taxes, or making doctor’s appointments for you, dropping food off for you, etc.) then you’re about to be hit with reality. Honestly, I remember being “stressed” about the minor responsibilities & expenses I had back in college and WISH i could only have those types of responsibilities again. I always joke that I don’t feel like a “real adult,” but boyyy do the D.C. priced rent and monthly bills remind me lol. I really had to learn how to budget as a recent graduate.
5.People will fall off. (And that’s Ok)
You will really see who your true, ride-or-die friends are after you graduate. After you actually have to put in the effort to maintain relationships, it becomes evident very quickly who has been around for convenience. And that’s not a bad thing! People come and go in our lives for different seasons and purposes. You might even find that you end up getting closer to people you didn’t expect after college. I love the scripture Ecclesiastes 3:1 where it says:
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven
6.Don’t stop learning. Ever
You may think that since you are a recent graduate you know all the things, but you’re worng! There is always something you can be working on personally and if you want to stand out in your industry you have to keep learning to keep up with all the new grads after you! And learning isn’t specific to just industry knowledge, but also in self-development.
7.Be the recent graduate that outworks everyone else
When do you find a job or start your own business, let your quality of work speak volumes. Put in the time it takes to become an expert in whatever you’re passionate about.
8.Find a mentor or at least have someone in the industry to guide you
Who is already working in your dream job or who has already started a business that you can learn from? It can be nice to have someone that you can confide in on this journey and to give you another perspective on your career.
9.Don’t be afraid to fail
Often people are so afraid to fail that they don’t ever go for their dreams or take the opportunities that could’ve helped them grow. You honestly only fail if you don’t try at all. If something doesn’t work out as planned, then at least you have valuable insight on how to improve the next time. I have a post here where I discuss how to work through life’s obstacles.
10.Be proactive, not reactive
You are in charge of creating the life you want. Do not just let life happen to you. If you want something, go after it. And don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t. At the end of the day, you are the only one that has to live your life 24/7 for the next however many years. It is a whole lot easier to just stick to the script and do what is expected of you, but I challenge you to really take those chances and bet on yourself. Whether that is applying for a job you don’t think you’ll get or starting that new business. Go for it!!
Congrats to all the recent graduates out there! Best of luck in your new adventures! What is the best advice you received after graduating?