It’s been a little over a year since I graduated college. I proudly walked out of my last final exam on a chilly December day, strolled back to my campus apartment, and continued packing my things. By the next day, I was outta there! It all seemed so quick to me. 4 years of hard work all led up to a rather anti-climactic ending.
If you’ve been in college then you know how everyone hypes up graduation. It’s all everyone talks about – what it’s going to take to actually graduate, what jobs to look for, etc. And then when it happens, it just happens. No stride through a finish line, no round of applause from everyone you’ve ever known; it just kind of ends. Now what?
I had my degree that I worked so hard to earn, along with a mildly hefty amount of student debt (community college for the first two years really does make a difference, people!), and my whole life ahead of me.
The traditional first move for college grads is to get whatever the typical entry-level job is in their field.
For me and my public relations degree, that would mean applying to be a PR coordinator, social media coordinator, or something of that nature. After about of month of constant applying, I found a position as the latter at a local marketing firm.
Long story short, the position didn’t work out for me and I ended up handing in my two weeks notice after about 6 months. This was not apart of my plan, but starting off my career on a bad note wasn’t apart of it either.
So I found myself in an interesting predicament. I only held that position for 6 months so I wasn’t that much more qualified for a job than I was when I graduated. That gave me 2 options:
- get another job like the one I had
- try something different
I went with #2. And oh, what an adventure it turned out to be!
It has been 6 months since I made that decision and during that time, I have worked on becoming more well-rounded and expanding my reach beyond my initial field of public relations. Not to mention, I have also taken a lot of time to nurture and grow Glamorously You, which I am most proud of.
No, I didn’t have a steady job these past 6 months. I freelanced and even organized a social media marketing workshop (another proud moment)! In hindsight, I really needed this time to improve as a professional, learn more about myself, and figure out what I really want out of a job and out of my life.
Was it the traditional way of doing things? No.
Did I break the “stay at a job for at least a year” rule? Yes.
Did I make tons of money these past 6 months? No.
Am I happy I did it? Yes!
That’s where your story comes in.
Life after graduation can be messy! We are young people taking a real stab at “adult” life for the first time and most of us aren’t going to get it right on the first try.
I have learned a lot about life after graduation throughout this past year, so here is some advice that I can share…
I know it’s hard to talk to classmates, both before and after graduation, about jobs. You know there is always going to be that one person who landed some amazing job right away. And you know some people are going to get better opportunities than you. Not to mention, the pressures of student loans and just the fact that you now have this degree waiting to be utilized is even more pressure to keep you up at night.
What is most important is to think about you, and only you. Despite what everyone else is doing, you need to make decisions based on what is best for you at that time. Careers are no joke. They have the power to set the tone for your whole life. Being new grads, we are in a special position where we have our whole careers and lives ahead of us. We have the most control over our careers that we will ever have, so take this time to think about what you really want to accomplish with it.
I find that having a bigger perspective on it has made it easier. Instead of thinking about what kind of job I want right now, I think about what I would like to accomplish in my life within the next few years. That’s much easier to do and most of us already have some ideas, like:
- getting your own place
- getting a new car
- paying off student loans, or debt in general
- saving up X amount of money
- taking a trip
- getting a graduate degree
I recommend you make a 5-year plan for yourself. You can include career goals if you have them, but focus on what you’re looking to get out of life. In turn, this will motivate you to make the best career moves. Always keep these goals in the front of your mind.
Ultimately, the best advice I can give to you post-grads is to be proud of what you have accomplished! College is not easy and we got through it. It may have taken one too many all-nighters and a concerning amount of take-out, but we did it! That’s a lot to be proud of.
Overall, here are my main points of advice for life after graduation:
- Don’t compare your post-grad career to that of your former classmates
- Consider what is best for you, and only you
- Make career decisions based on your life goals
- Be proud of what you have accomplished!
It’s barely been a year out of college for me, so I have to remind myself not to be so hard on myself! It’s okay if we don’t have everything figured out. It’s okay if we don’t make the perfect decision the first time around. It’s okay to feel like we’re behind or not as good as everyone else. This is all normal!
What’s important is to always stay positive and never stop trying to create a life you love.
If you need any support with your life after graduation, feel free to contact me! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂
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