It’s a lot of pressure when you’re the one who’s graduating from college. On the day of graduation, you’re proud of the person you’ve become. You’ve passed all of your classes and requirements. You’ve done the internships of your dreams. You’ve survived getting black out drunk at all the fraternity parties and tailgates. You conquered all the hardships of college life that you thought were tough, but no one tells you about the real world.
Once you graduate from college, you are all on your own. It’s your journey, and it’s up to you to do things for you.
As post-grads, we all realized that we have to work hard, but if you’re of a different skin color, gender, or sexual orientation, you have to work twice as hard to get to the top. Many jobs have high turnover rates because companies do not have a high enough budget for their employees. Jobs are seen with rose-colored glasses and a silver lining to everything.
One of my friends mentioned that our jobs are on a line in an Excel sheet. In the sheet, the company that we work for has our name and salary, and they look at who they can afford and who they have to let go. Layoffs happen in every work field, and no one teaches us about what to do when we are jobless.
We do not know how post-grad life is when we enter the real world. In college, we were all taking liberal arts classes and expanding our knowledge. Then, we had to take classes for our majors and apply them to our internships. We get involved in student-run organizations to gain experience. We connect with other students in organizations and make friends. We think about our dreams after college of what we like to be, but it may be years to get to that point. Post-grad is a culture shock for all of us. We all have to experience it for ourselves.
Here are some pointers about post-grad life:
- No one teaches you how to apply to and get a job.
- Getting a job right out of college is more challenging than you think. Just because you have a degree and graduated does not mean you qualify for the career and dream job you were expecting in college. Everyone has to start from the very bottom, but if you stick with it and work hard, you can get on the right track to your career. The person you don’t like or your friends, your enemies, and people you met once and never spoke to again will get a job before you. Just remember you will get a job, maybe not today, not next week, or a month, but you will get a job.
2. You have to learn how to budget everything.
- I have to be real with this one because pretty much everything we do costs money. You want to experience as much as possible while you’re young, like trying new foods, traveling, going to events and pop up shops with friends, and checking out the new local restaurant. All of this sounds great and fun, but it will take a significant toll on your bank account.
3. You have to pay bills.
- Paying your bills is a huge responsibility, especially paying them on time. When you pay your bills, this can build up your credit and keep your life running smoothly. However, if you miss a payment, you have to pay fees, and your credit score may take a hit.
4. People will ask you what you are doing with your life.
- People — friends, family members, strangers, etc. — will tell you how the job hunting process works. They will also tell you what you’re doing wrong and what you need to do better. Most importantly, there will be many people who aren’t actually in your career field who will try to explain to you how life works. Just know that it’s not personal; they’re telling you this from their own experience, and you can choose how you want to take the advice. Your family members will question many of your choices, from where you decided to live to how you’re living your life.
5. Post-graduate depression is real, and you’ll experience it at some point.
- I had not been feeling like myself after I graduated college. I questioned the decisions I made during college. I questioned my self-worth and called my mom, asking what was wrong with me whenever I didn’t get a job, or when nothing I planned for myself was happening. I couldn’t tell anyone about the job I had because I was embarrassed about my situation. I was not satisfied with my life anymore. I know I was not the only one feeling this way. I realized people like me explained in books and magazines how they became depressed after college and struggled to get where they wanted to be. People had odd jobs and were trying to gain experience while looking for a new job.
6. Having a network will help you.
- Have you heard of the phrase, “it’s all about who you know”? It’s true. Many people nowadays get their jobs by knowing someone or by word of mouth. Whether it is their colleague, coworker, professor, a friend of a friend, or a family member, it is all about connections. Like me, some people have to network a lot, whether online or in-person, for coffee or special events, to find more opportunities.
7. You have to do things for you, rather than for other people.
- At the end of the day, it’s up to you to get what you want. You have to move forward with your life and chase your dreams. When so-called friends ask you what you are doing with your life, tell them, “I’m working.” Sometimes, the people you least expect will put the negativity to you and your purpose. You have to guard and protect your dream.
We are all struggling in our own ways and do not know what comes next within the next few years. We are trying to figure it out as time goes on. While the first few months after graduation might feel like hitting rock bottom, it will get better.
Just remember that we are young, and we’re trying to do so much to feel accomplished. Everyone goes through this. Just take one day at a time, be your own best friend, support your goals, try different routes, and do not compare yourself to other people; you are you for a reason, and that’s so important.