Graduation. A truly exciting time. You’ve just spent the last few years learning, studying, laughing, crying, studying some more and now it is all about to come to an end. You should be excited – you deserve to be.
You are about to take your first steps into, what many people consider ‘the real world’ leaving behind your student ways. Everything you’ve learned is fresh in your mind, you’re confident and you’re ready to get out there! Or are you?
While confidence is by no means a detrimental attribute to have, in the midst of the aforementioned excitement of graduating, there may be a few things that you have overlooked in terms of actually being ready to get out there – things that college may not have taught you.
Say you graduate in April. If you didn’t start looking for graduate jobs and positions in January, you’ve left it late. While you may not know what you’re final credit will be, or even if you would in fact graduate, it’s important to get a jump start on looking for a job that suits you and your qualifications. You should’ve had the confidence in your own ability to tell potential employers that you will be graduating in April and that you will be receiving a strong credit.
However, not everyone does this, so it’s important to get on the job hunt as soon as humanly possible. There are services out there that will help you in finding a graduate position, and these are great, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to carve out your own opportunities. Speak to your tutors, lecturers and professors. These are people who have likely made a few connections in their time and can be a great source for such opportunities. A simple internet search can also be your friend, find companies that you would like to work with, learn about them. Stalk them on LinkedIn and Facebook. You have to convince them that you’re the ideal person to be working for them, and such methods aren’t going to harm you in this endeavour.
Believe it or not, college is fairly similar to the working world. You have to get out of bed in the morning, go to this place and use your brain, while the whole time you are wishing you were still in bed watching Netflix. However, one difference is the attitude that you need maintain when moving from student life to professional life – and that’s just it, professionalism.
While in both lives you have reports to write, queries to solve, problems to solve and people to please, the difference between them is more than you will be wearing suit for one. Professionalism is such an important skill to develop, and it’s best to, as with job hunting, start as early as possible. It can be the difference between progressing in your chosen career and becoming stagnant, or even worse, unemployed.
Katrina Oko-Odoi wrote a fascinating article about just this, and is something you should take the time to read.
Money is always king when you’re a student, usually because you have a lack of it. You live off of ramen for 4 years so you can afford to go out for a few cold ones at the weekend. This is part of student life, and it’s a rite of passage in a way. But what happens when you’re out of college?
Even if you have been financially savvy and have set aside a savings account, this might not be enough. Have you checked your credit score? Do you even have a credit score? Managing your credit score is such a big part of life and it’s something that you need to make sure is both correct and healthy. Because of the frugality aspect of being a student, many students wouldn’t have had things such as a credit card or even a cell phone contract – the things that allow you to build a credit score. If you’ve been paying rent, this is good, but did you pay on time every time? These are the kind of things that could go against you and cause you to be rejected for a loan or a mortgage in the future.
Look into this, and make sure everything is as it should be. If it isn’t, start fixing it now.
These are just a few things that you need to be aware of, but there may be others. No matter how much you think you are ready, chances are you’re not as ready as you think. There is no such thing as being over prepared.