5 Tips To Navigate Your Life After College
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Student Life

5 Tips To Navigate Your Life After College

What should I do now?

5 Tips To Navigate Your Life After College
Times Higher Education

Congratulations to the Class of 2016. Graduating from college is an important milestone in your life. All those countless hours studying for midterms, working on group projects, and struggling to complete assignments that are due three hours before the deadline are all behind you now. A new chapter awaits for you out there in the "real world" full of freedom, adventure, and intrigue. With all of this to look forward to, coming to terms with the real world can be quite a challenge. Many of you are probably feeling the overwhelming joys and happiness of finally graduating college and getting to start that job you were offered, while others have no clue what they are going to do once they yell, "Hooray!" and throw their cap in the air. This article is for the latter group of people.

Once you have walked across the platform to shake hands with the dean and receive your diploma, your time as a student has come to a close and what lies next is the glorious uncertainty of becoming a real adult. For me, I did not fully realize the full weight of graduating college until way after graduation ceremony was over. Personally, I struggled the summer after I graduated. Before my graduation commencement in May of 2015, I had no job lined up and no means of an income. All I had were a car, a sublease in a sub-standard house that I had to share with some untrustworthy housemates, and my college diploma. One year later, I now have a job I look forward to every morning, a place to rent all by myself, and a sense of living completely independent from my parents. In this article, I will share with you the steps that I took in that year after graduation. Now I do know that some of you have different plans to take a break, to travel and relax, or to go straight to graduate school to start graduate studies so this article is not for everyone. This article is for the people who do not have a single clue what to do with their lives ahead after receiving their degree. So without delay here are five tips of what to do immediately after college.

1. Start filling out those job applications.

This one should be on the mind of many people who are reading this article right now. You are probably thinking, "But what if I get rejected?" My answer is this: rejection happens to all of us. A famous person once said, "Rejection will never hurt for as long as regret." This means that if you do not apply for that position that you are unsure you are qualified for, you might regret it in the long run. Even if you find a job or internship that you seem unqualified for or that you are out of your league but are not sure on applying, apply for it. I mean sure you might not get the offer but you can feel good about one thing, you tried. The week after I graduated, I have made a goal to fill out five applications every day; more if time permits. As long as you are getting contacted back for interviews, you are doing your job right. Just start applying.

2. Start meeting new people.

One of my professors told me that networking is the key to success. Believe me, this statement holds true like 1+1=2. Make it an obligation to meet new people. Don't be afraid to attend an event put on by a company you want to work for or to connect with that one person on LinkedIn who has the same job you want to have. Meeting new people builds relationships, allows you to be taught, and can create opportunities that can lead to offers. Just go out, put on a smile, and don't be too shy to shake that person's hand or to send him a message if you are at a computer.

3. Never stop learning.

Just because you are done with college does not mean that you stop learning. Going out into the real world is the best part because now, you will get to learn things that college cannot teach you. You will be able to question things and find them out yourself rather than having a professor or teaching assistant tell you information at the front of the classroom. Take the initiative to Google what organizations are in your sector or to borrow a book from your local library on how to ace that job interview. Whatever you do, never stop being a learner.

4. Start acting like a professional.

You are out of college so that means that your fraternity/sorority days are over. The best thing that I did was that I bought a fitted suit from Men's Warehouse. I use that suit for every networking event and almost every interview that I attend. A fun experiment to try is to dress up in your suit and take a walk in the town. Notice how people start holding doors open for you and start treating you differently? It's funny wearing a suit because people treat you differently. If you dress sloppy people won't think that you are serious about your job or your line of work. Thus it is important to keep good hygiene and appearances.

5. Never give up

This is my final piece of advice. If you are feeling stressed from filling out applications or if it seems like your post-college career plans, feel free to take some time off from all those pending applications. Either go for a run, take a walk, or even go to the theaters to watch that summer blockbuster everyone is talking about. There will always be setbacks but it is how we handle them that makes the difference between taking a path towards success or a slippery slope towards failure.

The transition from being a college student to a professional is not always easy and isn't something that you mentally prepare for overnight. The transition is fueled by the habits you make in progress to the plans and goals you accomplish. As a final note, I am including the names of four books that are highly worth a read. I wish I could have read these books when I was a college senior instead of reading them nine months after I graduated because it would have helped me in the months ahead. The knowledge that I have received from these books is simply phenomenal and contains information from tips and tricks of what and what not to do at your first job to personal testimonials from celebrities like Anderson Cooper, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and John Legend, on what they did upon first graduating from college. I highly recommend everyone to read these books and apply what they have learned to their life after college. They are as follows:

"They Don't Teach Corporate In College: A Twenty Something's Guide to the Business World" by Alexandra Levit

"Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job" by Emily Bennington

"There Is Life After College: What Parents & Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs They Have Tomorrow" by Jeffery J. Selingo

"I Just Graduated... Now What?: Honest Answers From Those Who Have Been There" by Katherine Schwarzenegger

Be sure to take the world by its arms and to make your mark on it. Good luck out there Graduates!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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