It’s been almost a year since I graduated from college (Class of 2019!). I actually graduated from undergrad in 2018 but went straight into grad school right after. I barely had time to breathe as I strapped down for another ride. I’ve been sharing through a few of my posts on how I’m still learning to adapt to the working world. I recall Sarah’s Scribbles’s How Graduation Feel comic, where the college is like learning how to skydive and upon graduation, college just throws you out the door and you can only hope to land on your feet. I wished one of my professors would have grabbed me by my shoulders and share their experience with me, then maybe it would have been easier. But nope, the post-college time has always been a gray area that no one really talked about. So let me save you from the pain of adapting with the things I wished someone told me after graduating from college.
Cherish the time we have during our transition from college to working
This is one of the most important things I wished I knew. I have friends and peers, who regret stressing over finding jobs right after graduating. Many of them wished that instead, they should have enjoyed this time to relax and have fun between graduating and finding a job. Here’s the thing, once we start working a real job, it may be difficult to find time after a long day of work to unwind and doing things that we enjoy.
Think about it, after years of waking up early and studying attentively, we should take time to embrace and reward ourselves for our academic achievements. Make use of the free time that you have to travel, spending time with friends and family and explore a new hobby.
Our new employers don’t expect us to know the in-and-out of the job on our first day.
Many of us are overachievers, and since it is our first real job, we are always on our toes to make sure we are doing the best that we can (it can cause burn out in the long run). No one wants to come off as incompetent, but it does help to know that our new employers don’t expect you to know everything about the job right off the bat. They know that we just graduated from college, so it is not realistic to expect us to perform at the top peak.
Instead, ask a lot of questions, and don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat something more than once. If we didn’t understand it the first time, it’s better to be upfront about it. As long as we show that we care about our own learner and take responsibility to expand our repertoire.
Schoolwork doesn’t always translate into real work.
Many companies out there tend to have their own ways of going about things, so we may have to relearn a few things but more closely based on the company’s structure. Each company may have their own methodologies and day to day lingo. So don’t be frustrated if we think that we are learning everything over.
And remember, don’t let our lack of experience discourage us from sharing our perspectives. Chances are, the people we are working with may have been staring at the same problem for months. So sharing our ideas or asking questions may just help them see things from a different perspective.
Free time after we start working is valuable
We have so much time in college to do so many different things, including extracurricular activities, sport, hobbies, etc. I wish I had more time or more energy after coming home from work. After a day at the office, the last thing I want to do is to sit in front of my computer and work on my blog. Time is super valuable, and I wished I knew how to manage my time even more in order to prioritize my mental health and personal growth outside of work.
The feeling of identity crisis will hit us at one point or another.
Remember our college introduction? “Hello my name is ________, and I am a ______ major”. In the real world, it’ll probably look the same, except it’ll be our actual job title. It is normal to feel like we are now stuck in one specific job for the rest of our life, heck some of us may even question if we have a life outside of work. The answer is, we do if we are willing to put in the effort for it. It is so easy to let work consume our lives, but it doesn’t have to be our identity. Find a new hobby, volunteer for a non-profit organization, or find a new side hustle that we want to dabble in.
I hope I was able to give you valuable insight into what it is like after graduating from college. From making the most of our time after graduation, navigating the working world, and dealing with an identity crisis, these are things that I wish I knew after leaving college. It certainly would have saved me from feeling overwhelmed all the time.
Please share your answers or thoughts to these questions. If you are about to graduate, what are some topics that you would want to know more about? And if you have graduated, what are some things that you had to learn the hard way after graduating?