If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you will know that a few weeks ago I graduated from college.
When you walk up onto that stage to collect your diploma, you’re not stressing about the future or what your next steps are. Oh no, you’re just hoping that you’re not the one that trips because at every graduation, there’s one, and you’re just praying that it’s not you (thankfully it wasn't me that did).
The thing is, thinking back, this isn’t the thing to worry about, our futures are much more worrisome, or at least, they can be.
What a lot of us don’t realize is that our graduation marks the end of an era - our college days, and the start of a new chapter. This is just as exciting as it is daunting, as, for a lot of us, we’re unsure about what lies in our future. Leaving college for good and entering the ‘adult’ world is a big step to adjust to, you could even call it life changing. I know I do.
The adjustment period from college student to ‘adult’ can be a difficult one, especially if you’re not sure of what steps you need to take.
There’s your career to think about, your finances, and then there’s the question of where you will live - will you have to move back home? The important thing is to try not to stress about all of this. Because by taking the right steps you can ensure that your post-graduate life is just as amazing as you dreamed it would be.
To survive as a new college graduate, here’s what you need to know:
Make a plan
Step one, you need to make a plan.
This might seem impossible, bearing in mind you’re unsure of what you want right now, but it’s definitely worth doing. Sit down and think about what it is you want from the future. What career do you want? Where would you love to live? What sort of financial situation do you want to be in? These are all important questions to ask yourself.
Next, think about the reason you went to college and what you hoped your degree would lead to. If you didn’t have a plan but knew college was the best option, that’s okay too. Take the time to think about what you want from life and create a goal plan. This will help you to focus on what you want and will also help you to achieve your dreams.
So, for example, say you want to live in a flat in the city and work in a media role, write that down. Then, use that to find roles that would be suitable, and slowly work towards each goal.
It will most probably take time to achieve your dreams, but having a plan in place can help to speed up the process.
Look objectively at your finances
The next thing that you need to do is take the time to look objectively at your finances, which is one thing I am certainly horrible at.
What this means is to look at your savings that you have, and consider whether you would be able to survive for a short time on them. How much rent, utilities and food could you cover and how long for? That’s not to say you won’t get a job right away, but in case you don’t, it pays to be prepared.
It’s important to be objective when looking at your finances or you could end up getting into debt because you were desperate to stay near college instead of moving back home, for example. Something that I will discuss in more detail later on.
Get a job to tide you over
If you realize that you don’t have enough in the bank to keep you going while you get the role of your dreams, you may be unsure about what to do. The best answer is to get a job to tide you over so that you’ve got enough money to live off and don’t keep eating into your savings.
It might not be your dream role; it may not even be in the right industry, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you find a way to support yourself financially while you’re looking for the job of your dreams.
Keep looking for your dream role
Even while you’re looking for or have a job to tide you over, keep looking for your dream role as well.
Don’t give up on having a career; you went to college to get a degree - don’t waste it. Keep looking for suitable jobs - use every resource possible. It might take time, but you will find roles that you are suited to and love the sound of.
Even if you aren’t successful at first, don’t let this put you off. Interviews are a great learning curve as they teach you what is and isn’t expected by employers, so the more you do, the better. Just because a role says it requires a certain amount of experience, don’t let that put you off, apply anyway and see what happens. Sometimes, if an employer can see you’ve got a good degree, they will invite you to interview despite the fact you don’t have enough experience.
As well as looking for full-time roles, take the time to search for internships. Internships are a great option as they give you an idea of what it would be like to work at a company. As well as teach you vital skills, and allow you to get a foot in the door. Plus, most internships are paid, so you’d have an income to live off while you completed the internship.
Find ways to earn extra cash
If you’re not earning enough money because you’re undertaking an internship or working part time, don’t stress about it. Instead, get creative and find ways to earn extra money. There are plenty of ways you can supplement your income; it’s just a case of finding an option than works for you.
If you’ve got items that you no longer needs, like textbooks from college or electronics, consider selling them. You can get the info from BuyBack Express about selling your items online, making the process as easy as possible for you. Any items that you no longer want or need you can sell, to give your finances a boost.
Another option for upping your income is to do some freelance work. In your spare time, offer freelance services for writing, designing, etc. - whatever you’re good at. Believe it or not, you can make a good amount from freelancing, so it’s an option worth considering.
Or, if you’re good with kids, how about becoming a nanny? This is a role that pays well, there’s plenty of opportunities for, and comes with lots of perks. Some roles come with travel opportunities and flexible working, as well as lots of other perks.
Don’t worry about moving back home
If you’re not able to find a suitable role or a job to tide you over, don’t be embarrassed about moving back home. After college, a lot of graduates opt to move back into their parent’s home while they get themselves sorted. This can be a good thing, as it can give you time to work out where you want to live and what role you want to land.
The other benefit of moving back home is, of course, that you have the chance to save up. If college has depleted your savings, moving back home and saving up could be a good idea. That way when you do land your dream job and move out, you won’t be worrying about your finances.
House hunt for the perfect place
Last but not least, once you’ve landed your dream role, or are earning a good income at your tide-you-over job, start house hunting. Unless you have a partner to live with, it’s probably best to opt for a house or flat share. That way, you won’t be responsible for covering all costs yourself, you can split them with your roommates.
Look for a house or flat that’s as close to where you work as possible and has access to various transport links. Find a property that is smart, stylish and well kept, and that has a landlord who lives near by. That way, you know that any problems will be quickly dealt with.
They say that college is the best three years of your life, however, if you land your dream job and perfect life, that doesn’t have to be the case. College is a lot of fun, but so can the adult life! It might be a scary prospect becoming a fully fledged grown up, but it’s just another part of life.
After working hard at college for three years, it’s time to use what you learnt and enter the ‘adult’ world. To make the transition as easy for yourself as possible, follow the tips and advice above.
It will take time to adjust but once you’ve found your feet, you’ll love the freedom having a career and your own home brings.