9 Tips for Transitioning to Life After CollegeOctober 5, 2019
When your college days come to a close, there are a lot of unknowns about what life will be like. You’ve been student for the majority of your life, so thinking about what life will be like after college can be a bit scary. Not only are you transitioning from college student to working professional, but your social life will also see major changes. Not to mention dealing with the financial responsibilities of the “real world”. Here are 9 tips that can make this transition easier.
Make new friends.
A harsh reality of graduating from college is that you and many of your friends will likely head your separate ways. While you should try to keep your best friends close, you may lose touch with a few over time. Try to make friends with people you work with or get involved with your community in order to meet new people.
Say goodbye to free time.
Your college class schedule likely only took up a few hours each day. You may have even had days off. Once you have a full-time job, days off will come a lot less often. You’ll be lucky to get two weeks worth of paid vacation at your first entry-level job. Learning how to use this free time to reenergize or benefit yourself is going to be key to your overall well-being.
You’ve achieved your goal of getting a college degree, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. Setting goals for your professional life will be imperative to achieving success. Your dream job won’t be handed to you, and you won’t climb the ladder in your company with average effort. You’ll also want to set goals for your personal life – what kind of life you want to lead, whether you want a family, where you want to live, etc. Setting goals for yourself on a regular basis will keep you motivated.
Change sleeping habits.
While all-nighters can happen from time to time in college, staying up through the night can’t happen when you’re trying to maintain a working lifestyle. Naps are also typically out of the question. Learning how to get to bed at a decent hour will keep you healthier physically and mentally. Aiming for 8 hours is a good goal (thought it doesn’t always happen).
Purchase work attire.
Jeans, sneakers, and t-shirts might not be of much use to you if you’re transitioning into the corporate arena. While it’s fun to have some style, you’ll be wearing business casual apparel 5 days of the week if you’re working full-time. Invest in an appropriate wardrobe, and don’t go overboard by purchasing from top brands.
Find a place to live.
Deciding where you want to live after college is a big decision. Some people will move back home to live with their parents and save money. If you don’t have job lined up, this may be your only option – but don’t be afraid to look for jobs away from home. Living with your parents after a few years of living independently can be a difficult transition. If you’re not going to live with your parents – Do you want to rent or buy? Do you want a roommate? Do you want to move out of state? These are just a few of the questions you need to consider.
Learn to manage your finances.
As soon as you land a job, you should enroll in a 401k, 403b, or another retirement plan. This will allow you to plan a sound retirement as well as teach you how to save money. You will also need to budget wisely. If you are low on cash for the month and your rent or mortgage is due, don’t buy those shoes you have been eyeing. Wait until you can afford them. Furthermore, if you use credit cards on a regular basis, try to pay off the balance in full each month. Once you are in debt, it takes a lot of will power to get out of it.
Be prepared for entry-level jobs.
Even though you have a college degree, don’t expect to have the perfect job and bring in a huge paycheck. A large number of the jobs available to new grads are entry-level. These jobs often require long hours, low pay, and hard work. Most employers want to see all employees start at a certain level in order to better understand the business. Working hard at this entry-level job will show your employer that you are dedicated and thus open up new doors for you.
As you transition from college life to the working world, don’t overlook important associations that can contribute to your professional advancement. Stay in contact with old professors, friends, or family members who have connections with people in major corporations and organizations. These people may let you know when they are aware of opportunities that could benefit you.
Knowing what to expect after graduation and following some of these guidelines should help launch your post college life on a positive note. The transition into the “real world” may be shocking at first, but you will become acclimated to it after a while. Good luck!