Graduating college was definitely one of my proudest moments. I remember how at one point, I wasn’t even considering attending because I had my mind set on a career in music – pop music, at that (as a recording artist). My parents urged me to apply to a local school as a back-up plan, and it was one of the best decisions they ever helped me make (mama really does know best).
For many of you, graduation is just around the corner (congratulations!) and so I’ve compiled a list of points that I wish I had known after obtaining my diploma. It may not necessarily apply to everybody, but I hope it helps someone somewhere!
1. You will get rejected
…and so your search for a career begins. I thought I had it all: good work experience (I was lucky enough to score some great positions even as a full-time student), my transcript was impressive (I was on the Dean’s List for 3 consecutive years) – who wouldn’t want to hire me? Well, it turns out, a few places. Employers know what they want and well, if you don’t fit the bill, then you won’t get that call back… and that’s okay. I was rejected by a handful of firms but it only forced me to reflect on what I could have done better during the interview process and in the end, it helped me strive for perfection.
2. It’s OK if your friends make more money than you
It’s bound to happen – you and your friends will part ways after graduation and start leading your lives in different careers and industries. You’ll all walk into different kinds of opportunities. Along the road you may find out that you didn’t hit a salary grade quite as high as one of your peers, but it’s nothing to be discouraged about. Your happiness and overall experience in life, work, and family is what counts the most. Don’t compare yourself to others but instead, give yourself some goals that are attainable for you – each person will weigh out their opportunity costs differently so strive what is best for your current situation and personal development.
3. You’ll change jobs – a lot
I’m one for commitment (especially with employers), but this day in age, people change jobs often in order to accept better opportunities and expand their skills by exploring something new. I myself never landed a “temp job” but have been head-hunted quite a bit and taken on employment offers in order to broaden my horizons and give myself more experience.
4. You’re going to miss school
My college years were some of the best years in my educational career. Granted, there were plenty of stressful periods that included late-night studying (oh, let me be honest, they were full-on all-nighters) and group project deadlines, but I wouldn’t change my experience for anything in the world. I met one of my best friends in college and made some other really great friendships. I make it a point to see my old classmates every once in awhile so that we can reminisce about the good old college days.
5. Start saving
You’re one of the lucky ones if you end up finding employment straight after graduation. I would highly advise you to start saving some of your hard-earned salary as much as you can. A few years after I graduated, lots of expenses turned up such as my wedding and buying a new home. Saving money as early as possible teaches you the art of budgeting and will help you with bigger investments that you’ll want to make down the road.
And so to all the graduates of 2016: I congratulate you and wish you the very best in your future endeavors. College was such a memorable time for me but let me tell you, there are more memories to make! This is just the beginning.
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