3 Things Students Need to Do to Prepare for Life After College
Entering the "real word" is a frightening experience for many college students. The comfort of the dorm, dining halls, and constant social interaction with their peers will soon be over. As college seniors approach the end of their semester, many of them wonder what life will be like after college, and who they will be.
I know this sounds corny, but this is really the best way to put it. I have met countless people who had cemented plans during college to pursue what they believed was the most logical, objectively sound career path. However, almost all of these people regretted making a decision based on what made sense on paper. The graduates who find satisfaction are those who pursue their true interests and passions. Many people worry that unless you pursue a traditional career, it will be hard to make money. Some students worry that if they follow their passions they can never make a living out of it. In my experience, however, the people who do what they are passionate about are the ones who make the most money. If you commit to something, then over time you will be successful.
Alumni networks are key for finding jobs, getting mentored, making new friends, and making new professional connections. When students graduate it is imperative that they form a network based from their school. Being affiliated with a college or university is an excellent way to establish a network early on. Rather than relying on forming brand new connections, utilize the natural network that your school has created for you. Even if you don't think an alumni will have immediate value for you, grabbing a coffee with a fellow alum is a great way to meet other people who can help you as you search for a career.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for finding and making new connections. Using it requires effort, but if done correctly college graduates can connect with a plethora of like-minded individuals.
Before you can figure out what you want to do for a career, you need to first figure out what you're interested in. Start from the ground up--what do you like to do? Do you like to talk to people, or do you work much better alone? What is it that you really enjoy doing?
While you discover and develop your interests, it is also important to learn and grow your skills. Finding an ideal job will usually happen by finding the intersection of where your skills and interests meet. Find what it is that you're good at. However, don't just choose a career based on skills alone; your job should be something that you enjoy, too.
Many college graduates are worried about finding a career right after they graduate. Many of them undervalue the incredible duration of time in which they will be working for the years to come. It's important to recognize that your job doesn't have to be your career. Graduates should be open to trying new things and exploring different career paths. Trying different job roles is an excellent way to discover what your true calling is.
When college graduates are exploring jobs post graduation, it can often be intimidating or even daunting. One helpful way to start job hunting is to look at your peers. More specifically, look at people who are similar to or who you admire. If someone you can relate to has a certain job and enjoys it, there's a good chance you might enjoy it too.
Most colleges and universities offer some form of career counseling. It's in the school's best interest to help their graduates land jobs, and so they put in effort and resources to help their graduates find jobs. Don't be too proud to rely on others for help. Finding your footing after college can be tricky, so never be afraid to take advantage of the resources that are available to you.
One of the things college doesn't teach you is how to be truly independent. When you graduate college and move into an apartment, many of the things that were given to you will be taken away. You'll have to learn how to pay bills, get yourself to work, and take care of yourself outside of your university.
The mission of Next Steps Navigation is helping college graduates navigate the ups and downs of finding their place in the world, by finding their right next step. Recognizing the huge gap between getting a college degree and the realities of entering the workforce, we developed our coaching program to help families navigate this critical transition. We’ll meet you where you are and get you pointed in the right direction to choose a job – and a life – that you love.