Adjusting to life after college can be tough. I graduated a little over a year ago and no one was up front about how hard it was to get a job and adjust to professional life. I’m here to tell you what my takeaways are with one notch on my professional working life belt in GIFs.
Be one with your frustration.
Contrary to what you’ve been told in school, a diploma isn’t the magic ticket to the corner office. Sometimes it can take months of networking, updating your portfolio and applying to jobs while everyone in your graduating class seems to be on the fast track to success and your parents are asking you when you’re going to start paying your cell phone bill.
The more people you talk to, the more you realize everyone is in the same situation. Surround yourself with recent grads who are in the same situation and people who got through that first year unscathed.
Find your fit.
When you graduate you might feel desperate, like you have to apply to every single job on the internet. But slow down and figure out how to stack your cups like Nellie the Sea Otter. As a new job candidate, I didn’t realize how much of an interview process relied on being a good culture fit.
Now that I’ve been on the other side of the hiring process, I realize we get a lot of good candidates but they’re just not quite right for the environment. Make sure to research the company online, or just plain old look at the website. Don’t take the rejection personally, the worst thing you can do is give up before you’ve found a company that values your work and personality.
Hobbies are really, really important.
When you start working, doing the same thing for 9 hours a day can be really exhausting. What you do after work to recharge becomes that much more crucial to doing your best work the next day.
I’m kind of a weird hobby aficionado, I like anything from calligraphy to reading self-help books, to watching weird conspiracy theory documentaries. In order to do your best work and avoid burnout, make sure that you carve out time to do the fun stuff too.
I’m kind of a Type A personality when it comes to life plans. On any given day, I have a 10 year plan in my head and if I’m not 10% closer to getting there by Month 1, I go into full-fledged, freak-out mode. You can imagine when I graduated without a full-time job lined up and had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists I was not the happiest of campers. But trust me, of everything I’ve learned this year it’s that plans are stupid. Well–unrealistic plans are stupid–and you can feel free to change them whenever you want.
Learn from my first year.
Your first year out of school doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re applying for jobs, make sure you’re a good fit. Stay open to opportunities, feel free to fail from time to time, and make sure to make plenty of time to recharge and connect with others.