The time is finally here (well, almost)! All of the late nights working on projects, gallons of coffee or energy drinks consumed, and countless hours of studying is about to all pay off, because you’re graduating college!
First, I’d like to give you big congratulations on this achievement. No, seriously. I know you’ll be hearing this a lot, which might make you a little numb to the whole thing. I know that’s how I felt when I graduated in 2016. Think about it though, you’ve worked your butt off for years, and you have finally made it. So, take a minute and be proud of yourself!
Time for some real talk
Now that we have established your awesomeness, it’s time to get real. All throughout college, you’ve had to focus on immediate goals: that pesky assignment you forgot was due tomorrow, the semester-long projects, your GPA, and of course to graduate college. However, have you really been preparing for long-term goals? That is life after college.
Although I agree 110 percent that earning your degree is one of the best investments for your future, you don’t always get truly prepared for…the real world. I’m a recent college graduate myself. Therefore, I thought I would share with you my insights and experiences after college to help you through this exciting, nerve-racking and weird point in your life.
So what’s the plan after college?
After the celebrating is done, it’s time to really hone in on what your plan is, if you haven’t already that is. The options are typically:
- Dive into the job hunt
- Accept a job offer (hopefully) from your current internship
- Take a break and relax
Here’s the greatest part, there is no right or wrong answer! It took me a while to realize this, but you’ll need to do what works for you. After some contemplation, I decided to go with option number three, while I kept a part time job in customer service.
College is hard. Especially if you’re working a full-time job, a heavy class load and involved in extracurriculars. After five years of that, I was utterly exhausted and realized I needed, no, deserved a breather. However, I kept it realistic and gave myself a deadline of when to start my “big-girl” job search. This can be essential with this option to ensure you don’t slip into the “forever beach bum” mentality because it’s a pretty easy lifestyle to adopt.
Let the job hunting begin
After some travels and much needed R&R, it’s time to start the hunt. First, set some preferences. Like how far are you willing to move for a job, what kind of company you want to work for, and so on. Once you have your list of essentials, start applying! There’s no limit on applying, some days I would apply to more than five jobs per day.
Soon, interviews will start happening. Some you will nail and some not so much. Believe it or not, you might even have to turn down one of those jobs. Yes, you read that correctly. Your career needs to be the right fit for everyone involved. Just because you are offered a job, doesn’t mean you have to take it. This was utterly terrifying for me to do, I completely understand if you feel weird about it. At the end of the day, it was what I needed to do because it was what was right for me.
Then there are opportunities that you will feel you are perfect for and it seems like a sure thing that you will get the job. What do you know though, you didn’t.
You might start to second-guess your approach or even your skills, but don’t worry. Even though job hunting can feel like a roller coaster going on for months and months, you will find exactly where you are meant to be. For me, that meant an eight-month long search where I ended my hunt after joining the JP team.
You do you, Boo
No matter what you choose to do after graduation, the time to think about post-college life starts now. Try to keep in mind these things as you face this exciting end of a chapter in your life.
Ahead lies some interesting and stressful times for you, but remember to do what is best for you – not what your friends are doing or what others think is best. Trust me, there is no singular way to go about this, so don’t worry how long your way will take. As long as you’re proud of yourself and happy in the end, isn’t that what really matters anyways?
Congrats to all of you (soon-to-be) graduates! Work hard, remain humble, and stay motivated. We all are looking forward to the great accomplishments that lay ahead for you rock stars. If you want to talk more about the post-college journey, leave a comment below!
2 thoughts on “Congrats, Grad! Now What?”
Great blog, Katie! JP is lucky to have such a talented young lady. You do you, BOO! <3 Anastasia
From a 2007 Alumni says:
Completely agree with finding the right fit for “you”. Your 1st job will launch your career forward. Choosing the 1st job offer that is not the right fit may hinder you in the long run.
One addition to the article, your learning doesn’t stop at graduation. On the contrary, continual learning should be a lifestyle after graduation.
Good luck grads of 2017.
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