I still remember it. August of 2013. I’d gone shopping a week before with my friend Felicia and I’d worn those beautiful brand new red ankle boot heels on the actual day. You see when you graduate, the only other thing people notice besides your gown and hat is your shoes and mine were doing a heck of a job at making it look like the gown wasn’t wearing me.
Graduation is a rather momentous occasion and if not because it marks the end of endless quizzes, of barely making it to all of your morning classes and of assignments, then because it signifies the beginning of the rest of your life.
After uni, you are instantly regarded as an adult and that is one thing you rightly are.
As daunting as most of our parents and practically everyone over 40 makes it sound like, it’s actually not that bad and I am speaking as someone who HAS made it past that.
Here are some of my tips, some of which you may or may not have heard before.
1 The BEST part of your life has only just begun!
I mean of course there’s the not-so-epic job search you’ll inevitably embark on but just think of the endless possibilities! After uni, you’re as young as you’ll ever be and as creative and as eager. When you DO get that job, be sure to steer clear of people who don’t share your enthusiasm or worse yet, criticize and make fun of it. Focus only on your goals and make them as enticing as you can!
2 Know that your first job might have NOTHING to do with your degree.
That ‘not-so-epic’ job search I was talking about earlier may lead you to find other possibilities and when that happens, embrace it. You’re young! There will be plenty more time to reconcile the differences and who knows, you may even discover a whole new passion.
3 For the love of God, DON’T have a “full-time job or nothing” attitude!
You know why? Because companies these days will always want to try you out first. Treat each job search with a level of optimism and always think… “I can’t wait to show them WHY they need ME’. As you’ll find out, it’s a lot more probable that a promotion will happen within a company rather than from outside it.
4 Choose your company wisely.
For most of us, the years that follow our graduation are normally for settling down. Don’t be the person that only hangs around losers only to later on wonder why you can’t find ‘The One’. As my dad so graciously put it,… “if you want Mr. Right, you have to BE Mrs. Right and err.. ‘Mrs. Right’ scarcely ever hangs out with losers.
5 Learn how to treat money and do it quick!
This is the most slippery thing. Money that is. No sooner do you have it than it’s withered away.
Auditors will tell you that it’s wiser to save first then plan your spending later. To be honest, that’s the only strategy. Never fall for the notion that you don’t “make enough” to save. Saving from your earliest career stage can prove most helpful for any future investments. I mean, if your end game is to own your own company, own car or own house, then save save save!
6 Treat e-mails as an important form of communication.
All through uni, we texted, whatsapped, twitted and snapchatted but in the corporate world, (just as an exapmple) a sick day (at whatever level you’re working) is best excused via e-mail. It might seem like a tedious form of communication but you’ll find it will be the way in which most tasks are communicated.
7 Do NOT get stuck being an intern.
For a lot of people who enter the work force on a part time basis, (especially through that wondrous final semester internship course) it’s easy to let time pass you by with the misguided notion that “I’m only here for a few weeks“. In reality, it could take an employer “just a few weeks” to judge and tell if you’re a good fit for his/her organization.
8 Never burn bridges.
The work industry is really not as big as it may seem when leaving uni and the recommendations (or lack thereof) from any of your previous employers can play a big role in whether you get hired in a new organization or not. No matter the work conditions, always try to leave on a good note. A good friend once told me that when you don’t burn bridges, you leave a lot more options open to you in the future.
9 If you move back home, make sure you have an exit plan.
Growing up, we (my friends and I) always made fun of this 30 something year old guy who still lived at his parents’ house. We’d imagine how awkward it must have been for him to go on dates and have his own space at that age. Truth is, home is always going to be safe and convenient but as I read on a time magazine article, there’s a thin line between convenient and complacent. So if you are going to move back home, then set some targets and deadlines as to when that arrangement should end. If possible contribute to the daily spending and make an effort to do your own laundry and dishes (as you would if you lived alone).
10. Don’t EVER compare yourself!
I know I can’t be the only one to have fallen victim to this one. Once you graduate, beware that there will be some of your friends who’ll achieve instant success. Or at least it will seem that way. They’ll move to another country or continent, study and get a masters degree then a PhD before you so much as find a stable career.
Others will get seemingly simple jobs but then fall in love and get married.
Facebook posts and instagram stories may make you feel as if your life is at a standstill but know that this will forever be the case no matter what age you are or how successful you become.
So, pay attention to point number one. Know and believe that the BEST part of your life has only just begun then hold on tight and enjoy your journey into the world of infinite possibilities!