I spent five years trying to escape The City College of New York. I mean that in the best way. It was actually filled with some great memories and even better lessons, but post-graduate life is hard. This is coming from a person who thought she had it all together and is known amongst her friends as the "Know it All" type.
I graduated on June 2, 2017, with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a minor in Journalism. I walked across that graduation stage with tears in my eyes, a sense of true accomplishment, and a conviction that told me I was on top of the world. A few days prior to graduation, I had received news that I would be interning that summer with the esteemed media outlet, Complex.
My internship was amazing and also eye-opening about the "dog-eat-dog" life I would soon become accustomed to in post-grad life. I don't want to make you believe that I had some kind of naivety about job hunting or that I was lazy in any kind of way. Yet, somewhere in my subconscious rattling around was this sense of entitlement because of my accomplishment that made everything that much harder to overcome with every rejection, waitlist, and basic utter confusion.
As my internship came to a close, I played all my cards right by endlessly networking with different types of people, sending out thank you cards, and expressing my interest in sticking around. Yet, my final day went like any other with no further peep or considerations. Just like that, I was unemployed and at a loss for words.
Next came the buckle down.
I was applying to anything and everything from retail, office work, to entry-level career interests.
I received absolutely NOTHING.
Some companies I applied to gave the consideration to offer a rejection letter with the usual, "it's not you, it's us" reasoning.
Then, came the grad school considerations.
In a concerted effort to avoid paying those dreadful loans back out of money, I currently didn't have any but the prospect of piling on more debt scared the hell out of me.
Just when all seemed lost, I received a call from an old boss regarding a position opening. It would be a temporary training period before going full time. I literally broke down into tears on the street. In the end, it came down to who I knew, not what I know. Many of my peers always find that fact to be cliché, but it's actually very true.
Here are some tips to help with the post-grad adjustment and hopefully save you some of my heartaches
1. Start planning at the beginning of your Senior year.
Assume that you are going to graduate that June and/or December and plan ahead aggressively. Begin applying for jobs, and PAID internships in your field to get you aligned for adulting.
2. Search your network.
9 times out of 10 the next job prospect will arrive because of someone you know or associate with. Don't be afraid to reach out and start shopping your resume. It will definitely help in the long term.
3. Use your campus resources.
Your campus' career center and job fairs must become mandatory visits. The center for its ability to help you tailor your resume, career aptitude testing, and connections. The job fairs that come to your campus mean they are specifically shopping your school to fill a need and if you don't go, that's just one more missed opportunity.
4. Be optimistic and realistic.
Hold on to your dreams despite the setbacks. Yet, be realistic about your goal set. Maybe you can't get that 100K job this year, but maybe you can get an entry-level position and work your way up. It's important to be optimistic but within reason.
5. Budget accordingly.
Money is a huge concern during post-grad life. With loans knocking within six months, it's impossible to not be fearful of when your next check will be coming. So plan ahead of time and make out a budget that not only keeps you financially responsible, but safe. Simultaneously, reach out to your loan officers, determine what your payments might look like, and budget accordingly.
6. Take risks.
Don't be afraid to take risks. You will have more regrets about what you could have done versus doing it and finding out the outcome of it. As you search high and low for your path, it's important to do it with no fear.
In the end, even though things might get rough, just remember you are not alone. Rely on your family and friends as you make this huge transition from college to post-college life. Don't be afraid. After all, you just survived college!