Are you ready to take the post-grad world by storm? Here's how to succeed in the “real world.”
The transition from college to “the real world” can be difficult to navigate. It's not uncommon to fear this next phase of life, as it is unfamiliar territory. The difference between college life and the working world is the uncertainty and endless options. On the bright side, there's no more homework.
You won't find a textbook to direct you through this next step, as nobody can really dictate what's right for you. Taking the plunge into the working world is not easy, and no two people experience the exact same type of transition. Wherever this next step takes you, you will have to find a balance in your new lifestyle.
To make the transition easier, here is some advice for college graduates.
Meet new people
Putting yourself out there is scary, but it can lead to new friendships and, if you're lucky, career opportunities. If you are invited to a function you don't necessarily feel like attending, just go. Social events can help you feel more comfortable with strangers, which is a great skill to bring to the workplace, and they can help you grow your professional network. Eventbrite and Meetup are great resources to find and network with others in your neighborhood who share similar interests and goals.
Make time for the important things
You may be struggling to find balance in the midst of this new transition. Adjusting to the working world isn't easy, but our advice for college graduates is this: making time for the things that make you happy will make it much less difficult. When you first begin working, you may get completely caught up in your new responsibilities (which is a good thing), but don't forget about the other aspects of your life that make you feel good and uniquely you. Be sure to make time for your friends and hobbies and don't neglect your health!
Learn new skills
Whether or not you land your ideal position, be sure to learn from it. Your first job after college may not be super challenging in the ways you would like, but try to take advantage of the opportunities provided so you can develop new skills. Whether your tasks are answering phone, writing emails or making spreadsheets, learn to master them. Always ask questions and be willing to undertake more responsibilities. All of these skills can still help to strengthen a resume for recent college graduates.
This also applies to your new "real world" living situation. You can learn a lot about how to approach sticky situations while living with a not-so-fabulous roommate! So make the best of all your new experiences even if they aren't ideal right out of the gate.
Even if your employer doesn't offer professional development opportunities, that doesn't mean you don't have a chance to learn something new. Sites such as Coursera and edX offer free online courses to help you learn a new skill outside the office. Who says you can't learn java programming on your own?
Move at your own pace
It's hard not to compare yourself to your peers. Just because someone seems to have it all figured out before you doesn't mean that you should feel lost. Our next piece of advice for college graduates is this: try to avoid making decisions based on where you think you "should" be. Don't panic if you're not exactly where your friends are. The key is to do what feels right for you. Take your time growing into the professional you know you can become.
As previously mentioned, it's important to find balance between your work life and personal life. In order to maintain your extracurricular activities, you will need to try to follow some budgeting advice. There's no greater feeling than receiving your first "real" paycheck, and you will have the urge to spend it. But be sure to take care of your bills and other financial obligations before you indulge in a new outfit or a fancy meal. For additional help on managing your money, check out The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman and Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner,
Use your newfound independence to try the things you you've always wanted to, and most importantly, embrace the uncertainty of "the real world."
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