Advice for Graduating Students
It’s an odd feeling. From the age of 6 to 22, all I knew was school. That was it. My biggest responsibilities were to go to class, get good grades and not to get anyone pregnant. And since I haven’t received any DNA tests or angry letters, I’m pretty certain I succeeded at all of those.
This time last year I was freaking out. I was days away from graduating college, and not a freaking clue where I was headed or how I was going to get there. It was a feeling of not having direction. Being uncertain. But it was exciting to think that there were possibilities.
My biggest fear upon graduating college was getting a job. That’s all anyone ever talked about. I can’t tell you how many times I was asked the all important question: “What do you want to do with your life?”
The truth is, I still don’t have an answer for that question and I’m completely okay with that. It’s okay to not know what the future holds.
If you did know what was going to happen in the future, you wouldn’t have to worry about working because you could win the lottery or gamble yourself into prosperity and everyone would hate you.
Since it’s been a year since my graduation, I figured I would share some words of wisdom and things that I have learned about the real world. Enjoy.
3. Internships– The first thing I did out of college was tear up websites like Indeed.com and Careerbuilder.com in order to find a job. After I realized that everyone and their grandmother wanted 6-10 years of experience, I knew I was pretty much screwed. Unfortunately, the only way to get experience is to work for free or for very little. Enter the internships.
After the job hunt wasn’t going so well, I began looking for internships just to get my foot in the door. Two months after graduation, I was working an internship for minimum wage, which is better than an internship where you work for nothing.
In high school, my teachers always said, “Once you get a college degree, the world is your oyster! You’ll make more money and have a better job!” I guess they didn’t see the economy going in the crapper either. You would think guidance counselors would be on top of things like that.
Sure the job market is rough these days, which is why internships are even more important. If you’re willing to work hard and do well for little or no pay, then maybe, just maybe you’ll get a job out of it. I interned for about 7 or 8 months before I was offered a job. I would recommend patience and persistence.
In my opinion, it’s better to be getting experience and making very little than to be sitting around looking for a job that requires tons of experience that you don’t have. You may just have to bite the bullet and work for nothing, but at least you’re getting your foot in the door, right?
2. Expect Changes– A lot of things changed for me when I graduated. People changed, situations changed, and life changed. I think the hardest thing for me to accept was that people changed.
It was so weird to me when I began getting wedding announcements or seeing people change their relationship status to “engaged” on Facebook. I guess the problem was that in college, I sort of lost track of my age. I felt 18 for 4 years, and when I graduated it was hard to believe I was 22. Sure I could grow an awesome beard, but I guess I never really felt like an adult. I felt like an adolescent with stubble.
The biggest lesson I learned is that when college is over, people move on. Everyone kind of goes their separate ways and does their own things.
Relationships end, people change, people grow and people move on. Changes are unavoidable, so just go with the flow and accept that there are things you have no control over. Eventually, you’ll find your place in this crazy mixed up world. Just do what you can so your place isn’t being a stripper or a homeless person.
1. Be thankful that it’s over– You did it! Way to go big guy, or big girl. Wait.
What I’m trying to say is that you should feel accomplished. You went to school and got yourself an education. Good for you! You powered through those 4 years(or 12 years) and finally got that piece of paper. Now you just have to get out there and compete with the other millions of people with the same degree.
But seriously, be glad it’s over. No more projects, no more papers, no more tests. It’s actually a pretty nice feeling knowing you accomplished something you worked so hard for. Now get out there and make the world a better place to live in!
And if you’re going to grad school, I have no advice for you. Good luck with the debt, I suppose? That’s all I got.