Whether you’ve realized it or not, you have been prepared for many turning points in your life. From Pre-K to 1st grade, 8th grade to high school, and high school to college, you always knew what was coming next. Every time you’ve walked across a graduation stage, you began your next chapter in life with a warm welcome. The warmest welcome was probably here at Georgia Southern. During SOAR, we were given tours, maps, detailed schedules, a load of information at various breakout sessions, and countless opportunities to ask as many questions as we wanted. But a few years later, when you hear President Keel call out your name being in front of thousands of people, you might ask yourself the question, “Now what?”
There’s no orientation to prepare us for the post-collegiate life. Sure, there are common suggestions and expectations like getting an internship, job, or applying to grad school. Yet, for many new graduates, life after college means moving back in with parents and waiting for the phone to ring with a job opportunity.
Just graduated and you need help figuring out what to do next? Are you still a student and want to prepare yourself for the future? Below you’ll find some tips that will help you decide how to tackle life after college.
1. Get involved. Getting involved was something that you constantly hear in college. The same is true once you step into the “real world”. Get active in your community and within the field you would like to work in. Being engaged within these areas will help you get your name out there and build some networks. Volunteering will also help fill in gaps in employment and build skills that you can add to your resume.
2. Old bedroom. New You. If you are moving back in with your parents, have an adult conversation with them about your concerns and expectations. Remind them that although you’re moving into your old bedroom, you are a different person now, with new experiences and more maturity. Engaging in a mature conversation with your parents will help them see that you are ready to establish new ground rules.
3. Build from rejection. Instead of letting rejection hold you down, use it as a way to gain experience and improve your chances of getting hired in the future. Maybe you finally hear back from a job you applied for, and they inform you that they have “decided to pursue other candidates whose qualifications more closely match our needs for this position” (that is a direct quote from a recent rejection email I received from a potential employer). Rather than dwell on the rejection, use it as an opportunity to improve your job seeking skills. Maybe your resume needs some sprucing up or maybe you need to do a couple more mock interviews. Remember that job rejection will happen to everyone at some point. It’s what you do with that experience that matters.
4. College bills transition with you. Try creating a budget as soon as you graduate…or maybe even beforehand. Looked at how much available cash you have and what bills you need to pay off. Whether you have a job or not, it’s important to be cognizant of how much money you’re spending. Try to save a least a little bit every month. This will give you some flexibility for paying a security deposit when you come across the perfect renting opportunity, or money to pay for an unexpected car repair.
5. Stay optimistic. Stay motivated and don’t give up. I know this sounds cliche but it’s very true. You’re not the only one struggling in this transition phase. Talk to friends and family about how you’re doing. You never know who knows who and those connections could help get your foot in the door!