After years of hard work and determination (and a few breakdowns along the way), I finally graduated from Grand Valley State University in April.
As the final chapter of my educational experience came to a close and began my professional journey as a communications associate at MCCI, I would like to share a few tips to all my fellow recent grads out there:
- Feeling overwhelmed is normal. Starting your first job is intimidating, especially right after graduation. Feelings of being overwhelmed or afraid are completely normal, but don’t let them consume you or get you down. Almost everyone has been told that you have to have a job right after graduation, and while having a job is important, the job needs to work for you. Don’t accept a job just because “it’s a job.” Make sure you take the necessary steps to finding the right job for you and your future. This could include interviewing at several places, job shadowing, etc.
- Never stop learning. Lifelong learning is key to having a successful career. While we spend years studying and preparing for a career, there is a lot of on-the-job training that you have to experience in order for you to succeed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone around you has experienced what you are going through one way or another. Aside from doing their own job, your coworkers are there to help you grow and learn the ropes.
- Develop your skills. One of the biggest takeaways from your educational experience should be an understanding of your skillset. Understanding and acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses will help you get ahead of the curve in your new job. I personally find that blogs can be one of the most useful resources. Instead of spending an extra 15 minutes watching TV or sleeping in, read a blog or two that seem interesting and relevant to your job. Find your passions, make them differentiators, and show your new team how valuable and aware you are!
- Embrace the lifestyle change. Education has been a central part of our lives since we were about five years old. When you spend about 15 years of your life from elementary to undergrad, it becomes ingrained in your lifestyle. After I graduated, it took awhile for me to realize that I was officially done with school. Instead of putting all of my energy and focus on my school work, I am now able to give my entire focus and energy to the work that I do. I am learning to embrace the change while realizing that my future is bright and I am now able to pursue my passion.
After a milestone, such as graduation, transitioning into the next phase of life offers challenges along with rewards. Take time to relax and reflect on where you’ve come from and where you are headed. You have spent so long preparing for your future, so find ways to motivate yourself and embrace this new journey you’re on!