In my networking interviews, I love asking the question, “What do you wish you would have known as a young professional woman just starting out in her career?” Today, Rachel Hyun Kim, a writer for Resource Nation, is going to answer that question for us. Resource Nation is an online resource that gives advice such as lead generation to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Rachel has written on a variety of topics, ranging from background checks to payroll processing.
Like so many others, I have recently gone through the shift from college to post-grad life. For me, the transition was relatively smooth, though the path was not without its twists and turns. I definitely made my share of mistakes in my college years, both personal and career-related. The following pieces of advice are ones I wish I had been given, to ease the transition into post-grad life:
Explore Different Options
I thought I was going straight into law school after graduation, and spend the majority of my college years with this idea. But spending actual time and thought on the prospect made me quickly consider different options. While I had my senior year to explore different options, I wish someone told me to do it sooner. College is the best time to test different fields and career paths and try to figure out what you really want in life. Take advantage of this opportunity by exploring as much as you can.
Network, Network, Network
During my college years, I was too shy to talk to my professors, intimidated by their apparent all-knowing wisdom. I’d make excuses, telling myself that I had nothing to say, or that I needed to learn more about the material before going to office hours.
Looking back on it now, I wish could go back in time and shake my college self. Beyond professors, it is important to network as much as you can, with peers, college alumni, and others.
More often than not, you’ll have to rely on this valuable network of contacts in order to increase the chances of getting a job.
In college, students are constantly subjected to change from their schedule of classes and an endless number of parties. But once you graduate, life slows down and takes a familiar pattern. It was a bit difficult to get used to the idea of a regular schedule; waking up, going to work, and spending free time at home.
No longer am I able to stay up late at night, but have to sleep at a reasonable hour, in order to make it to work. But finding and creating a new schedule can help you easily transition into your new lifestyle.
Don’t Be Afraid to Move Back Home
When graduating from college, I didn’t have many well-defined goals or a particular plan for my life. But there was one goal that I had for certain: I didn’t want to move back home.
There were several times in my short post-grad life where I came close to breaking this goal. However, I wish I could tell myself that this is an unrealistic goal; if you don’t have a job and a steady stream of income, then moving back home is a reasonable option.
Be Financially Realistic
We’ve all heard horror stories of college grads, who are burdened with massive amounts of debt and student loans. Regardless of whether or not you fall under this category, it’s important to fully understand the boundaries of your finances.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to save and scrounge for every penny; instead, it’s more about becoming financially responsible. No one is going to tell you how to manage your accounts; you’ll need to figure that out on your own.
What do you wish you would have known about the post-grad life before graduating college?