Making the transition from high school to college is definitely hard, but once you settle in, decorate your dorm room, make some friends, and learn your way around campus, it starts to feel like home. Plus, the new freedom to set your own schedule and make your own choices is certainly nice.
Unfortunately, this is likely only the first of many major transitions you’ll face in a lifetime. The next is graduating from college and entering the working world, becoming a responsible adult and a productive member of society.
In some ways, this transition is easier since you’ve already made one successful life change by moving away from home to start college. On the other hand, you are truly on your own once you graduate, without the safety net of parental involvement or the support system offered by a college campus.
You’re not the first one to make this transition, though, and you can learn a lot from those who have gone before. Here are a few tips to help you make a successful transition from your time in college to a career.
You might find yourself floundering right after graduation. With no school schedule to occupy your time, you’ll certainly start the job search, but you could end up with a lot of free time on your hands between interviews.
You don’t want to end up anxious or stuck in a rut, so it’s important to stay busy. This starts with reworking your schedule. Treat your job hunt as a job itself and devote set hours each day to tasks like improving your resume, seeking and applying for jobs, and even cold-calling companies that interest you to find out if they’re hiring or if they’ll at least take your resume and keep it on file for future openings.
You should also schedule in time for exercise, meeting up with friends, and other activities that get you out of the house and keep you active and social. It’s important to stay busy and stick to a schedule while you’re seeking employment.
2. Recalculate Your Budget
Once you graduate you’ll have more time for work, whether you’re stuck in your college job or you manage to nab a position in your chosen field. Unfortunately, you’ll also have to start paying off your student loans.
Regardless of whether you’re earning more or spending more (or both), your finances are going to change once you graduate from college. If you want to transition successfully you need to assess your budget and make appropriate adjustments.
3. Quit Bad Habits
During your time in school, you could adopt a number of bad habits, such as staying up late, eating from the vending machine, and partying with your friends every weekend. If you’re serious about starting your career, it’s time to break these bad habits.
Eating healthy, regular meals, getting adequate rest, and keeping the parties to a minimum ensures that you’ll have the energy and focus needed to perform and excel in a job setting.
4. Maintain Relationships
You don’t want to lose contact with friends just because you don’t see them on campus every day. Maintaining relationships can not only provide you with the emotional support you need during your transition, but the friends you made in college will be your colleagues in your professional life, and your network could create professional opportunities down the road.
5. Focus on Your Career Plan
There’s definitely a learning curve associated with going from the University of New England to the working world. You can get distracted and waylaid by pressing concerns like moving, leaving friends behind, and adding student loan payments to your budget.
These things could lead to stress and anxiety that derail your career progress. You’ve got to keep your eye on the prize, so focus on creating career goals like landing a job in your chosen field within a year, getting promoted to certain positions within set amounts of time, or even starting your own company at some point. Knowing where you want to go can help to keep you on track.