You did it! All of your hard work has finally paid off. Finally, after all those nights of cram sessions and writing papers, the end is in sight. Graduating from college is an incredible experience. So once you receive your diploma, where do you go from here? I will be the first to admit that I felt a little lost after college (it did take up a big part of your life after all!) This is what I have learned one year after graduation:
- Everyone’s journey is different. As such, do not get discouraged if you are not hired into your dream job right away. Without getting into a messy subject like politics, the fact remains: our job market is not strong. Meaning, jobs are scarce. Take advantage of internship opportunities NOW to help you gain experience in your industry. Your dreams will not come true if you do not work hard to achieve them.
- Stay educated. Are you having a hard time getting interviews with companies? You are not alone. In order to stand out against hundreds of applicants, you need to be unique. I encourage all graduates to get certifications. You would be so surprised as to how many certifications you can earn (for free) online. If you are a business or marketing graduate, be sure to check out Hubspot for formidable certifications to add to your resume.
- Try something new. When I graduated from college, I was at a loss. I was finished with school but found myself with so much extra time (more than what I knew to do with). I found myself being bored so I decided to seek a challenge: I started a fashion blog. I did not do too much research. I simply chose to start my blog and figured I would learn the ropes from there. And learn I did! I now have experience with running a blog on WordPress, manage several social media outlets and have had the chance to connect with so many professionals in the blogging community. So, always challenge yourself by trying something new. You will be amazed with all you accomplish!
- Don’t let anyone tell you how to live your life. People always have their opinions on how you should proceed with your life after college. There is a lot we can learn from our parents and grandparents. But let’s face it, we are facing much different circumstances than our parents and grandparents did when they graduated from college. So as you proceed with finding the right job (or starting your own business), take what your loved ones say with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, YOU need to make decisions on how your life is going to be moving forward.
- It’s ok if you are still living at home after college. I just LOVE when people complain that millennials are still living at home with their parents implying that all millennials are lazy. And by love, I mean I have to make an effort not to let my blood boil when I hear this. Yes. Some of us have to live at home for a while because we want to be RESPONSIBLE. Some of us want to pay down our students loans or save a little before getting married or get a new house. Graduates, just because you cannot move out right away that does not mean you are a failure. Life can get pretty expensive! So be picky when you select your next job. Make sure that you not only find a job that compensates you well but also appreciates you as an asset-not just as a number. Also recognize that you are not alone. Many of us have to live at home before getting on our feet. It’s ok! Like I said before, everyone’s journey is different.
- Celebrate all victories (big and small). We college graduates are far too hard on ourselves. We have accomplished so much to finally receive our diploma. And trust me, you will continue to break down barriers if you choose to do so. The journey is not over from here. Whether you get a promotion or surprise yourself when you manage to stay calm in the face of a nasty customer, be kinder to yourself by celebrating all of your victories. Success is a long process and how one measure success depends on the individual. For example, I do not view success by how much money I make. To be, success comes from doing work that is meaningful. Most importantly, success is having a job that does not feel like work at all.
Love what you do and you will never work a day in your life – Confucius
Congrats class of 2017!