Congratulations. You did it. You’re officially a college grad! This is a huge accomplishment. Whether you have an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree, or a degree in basket weaving — I’m clapping for you.
You should celebrate, even if you don’t feel like it. You might be sad about leaving your beloved university and moving back home, or you might have gone through a breakup recently (those happen a lot this time of year), or you might be moving 3000 miles away from your best friends, but you only graduate college for the first time once.
This is your time to be the star of the show. After graduation, take some time to yourself. You just finished the last round of projects, finals, and graduation. Talk about a lot of stress. Read a book or two, binge some Netflix, or go on vacation. You get the idea.
Whatever you do, don’t let your debt feel like a weight on your shoulders.
That piece of paper is worth every penny. I’m not sure if you had a warm and fuzzy college experience or if you were prepped for the real world. I hope it was a little of the former, but mostly the latter.
I hope you’ve gotten your first job, but if you haven’t, don’t feel discouraged. It took me almost a year to get my first job in my field. Everyone wants to hire the person with experience and education, but not just an education. I know, it’s super shitty, because, “how can me and my new degree get ‘real world working experience’ when no one will hire us?!?!” You just have to keep looking and applying, and be positive. I got a temporary position at a children’s tutoring center before getting a Paralegal job. Make use of those connections you stowed away in your arsenal. You might have connections you didn’t even know existed. (see next paragraph). Also, try different variations of your resume (layouts and wording), although, I recommend making it only a page in length. Short and sweet, hit the high points. I’ll make a post about that later.
It’s all about connections…
My first job as a Paralegal, is probably what helped me land my current job, which ended up being about a $13,000 per year raise and great benefits, with less stress. My prior bosses used to work at the firm I am at now. You might end up in places you never thought you would.
In job searching, you might find you need an additional certification to get your dream job. Now is the time to get it. You’re still in school mode – kind of – and you have nothing else to do, except maybe work your part time job or the job you never thought you would go back to or the job you know is only temporary. You can defer your loans a little more and get the additional certification to get your dream job. Just don’t get carried away. An entry level job isn’t going to pay a Master’s degree or Doctorate’s degree in salary if it’s not a job requirement that you have one.
The world is a scary place.
You wake up one day and you get handed this piece of paper, and now you’re no longer the concern of that university. A lot of us end up back in our parents’ home. Moving back in with your parents is okay. Let me repeat: MOVING BACK IN WITH YOUR PARENTS IS OKAY. Don’t feel like you’ve failed if this is what you have to do. Most of my friends I graduated with, myself included, did just that. We’ve been able to save, pay down our loans, and keep working towards our dream job. It’s nice to know that your parents are your safety net. Take advantage of this, but don’t get comfortable. They don’t want a 30-year-old couch potato leeching their retirement money for beer and cheetos.
Don’t be afraid to take a chance.
You might get a great entry level job opportunity that doesn’t pay very well. And, if I were you, I would take it. You can build that resume, get some experience, and get in on the ground level. This might even lead you to an amazing career. After all, it’s all about the NETWORKING (vom!). As much as I hate that word, it’s true. Go re-read 4 paragraphs back if you don’t believe me!
You’re probably going to be overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time. You’re entering a new chapter of your life. And I promise you that’s okay. Don’t forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. You don’t just get to go from point A to point B without a transition. Sometimes that transition is monotone and boring, or it can be incredibly frustrating, or it can be so exciting that you want to just steamroll through point B. You have to stick it out and keep grindin’. You’ll make it.
“The roof is the ceiling.” – Michael Jordan.
Okay, we know he messed that up and meant to say “the sky’s the limit” and since the sky just extends into an unfathomably large universe – there isn’t a limit (only the one you set). So dream big, like bigger than you think you can achieve, and go for it. If you don’t make it to that goal, who cares – I’m sure you achieved some pretty kick ass goals along the way. Make sure you take some time to reflect on what you accomplish as you progress. Some of the stepping stones and minor goals, aren’t so minor when you really think about it. It all can get a little overwhelming at times, but….
Hey grad, you’ve got this!
Now go lay on the couch and finish binge watching FRIENDS for the 7th time. Even if you’re the over-achiever type – take a break and treat yo’self. You’ve earned it! Plus, you’ve got big things to do on Monday!