For the past couple of months, my friends and I have been discussing the topic of graduation and how nervous we all feel about finally crossing that threshold. Some people are graduating in April while others, like myself, have another year to go. I also have friends who did graduate and their experiences have managed to fuel the fire of anxiousness that resides in my soul. From hearing stories about people not finding jobs even after 4-5 months from graduating, to people being forced to go back to school because they genuinely couldn’t find a job in their field. That, to someone like me, is terrifying! So, instead of being scared and complaining about how scared I am, I decided to do something with my life and take action. Here are some things I did that I think will help me when I graduate:
- Talking to other people
In my first year of university, I spent much of my time stuck in my room studying or watching YouTube or something. I didn’t socialize or talk to new people and I remember even small talk with the barista at the coffee shop made my heart race and made me extremely anxious. This might’ve been from my nature, maybe at the time, I was shy? It might’ve also been my nurture, the culture I came from. Either way, it was not wise. People help you. In my article “how to tackle the issue of finding your first professional job out of college” I go over how I came about getting my first job through talking to people and joining clubs. That is my biggest advice for people looking to go into college/university. Talking to people opens you to new things. From getting a new job to learning new study techniques. Also, having fun is important. The years of 18-21 are meant to be when you experience life on your terms. Get to know lots of people and figure out who are the people you truly want around you and who are those who are not so good for you. Learn about yourself through others.
2. Research what you want to do
My article “What does it mean to be in university” goes into how our actions have consequences. I started thinking about what I truly want to work as by the end of my first year (very late, I know but better late than never). I would say even in your last year really start to think about what type of positions you can apply to. What jobs do you think you qualify for given your experience and education? One of the biggest things I’ve learned is it’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared. Having a solid career plan will do you so well! I have friends who genuinely can’t find a job either because they lack experience or they didn’t think their field through. I would advise talking to someone in your field. I am fortunate enough to be able to work as a great company and I often talk to my supervisor about my career trajectory and what their opinion is about how I should start, because I don’t know!
3. Get the connections
This point heavily applies to the first point. Talking to people is a big advantage. Go to graduate events and networking events especially in your last year because that is the perfect time to apply to jobs that hire new graduates. Many companies would love to have new graduates since it’s a great way to train a ‘blank canvas’ and invest so much into potential. I would also say build your LinkedIn network from classmates, professors, co-workers, and people you meet through different events or even in Ubers! Make sure to use the advantage of being a new graduate to its full potential.
4. Research stuff like apartment fees and cities you want to move to
Something that I found myself doing recently is looking into the rent. I live with my parents so most of my bills are paid for thankfully (I am very blessed, and I am very grateful). This, however, has a negative side to it because I have no idea how to manage bills and what realistic fees look like or what a normal I’d get would look like. I need to be financially educated and literate. This starts by starting to look at potential positions I might be able to hold and what the income would look like (after taxes). After that, I started looking at apartments and rent. I also did some research on what normal bills look like and just having an idea of what kind of income I need. It’s all about being repaired and having some sort of plan or at least an idea of what you will be doing with your life.
5. Start saving up
This sort of also links to my point number 4, but I think working and learning how to manage your money and save up is important. Working has been such an incredible experience and opportunity for me. I love working! From learning how the corporate world works to learning things about HR and getting money for all my hard work, it all ties into how much of a big advocate I am of working. It doesn’t have to be full time or even part-time, it can be a summertime sort of thing. The point is to learn. I learned to set a mini/baby budget for myself from working. Every time I get some money in my bank account, I pay myself a certain percentage then decide what to do with the rest. To be honest, I don’t worry about the details so much but a general ie. 15% for savings, 40% for food, 40% for entertainment, etc. is I think a great way to learn self-control and self-discipline. Also, the money adds up. You would think that saving just 15% of your tiny paycheque isn’t a lot but that saved up money could be used to start an investment account or start a business or just buy yourself something nice. The point is to learn the technique early on so that you can familiarize yourself with it and implement it better after on.