What is the best advice you have for transitioning from student to young adult life?

#1
I have recently graduated college and am making the transition into my professional life. What are some good tips you have for making the transition easier?
 
#2
Here's what I wish someone would have told me the first time I graduated (I ended up going back for my MA so I've had to go through this twice lol):
  • Make sure you maintain a set schedule. You're used to a structured life when you're in college. You have classes and study times regimented. Whether or not you have a job, make sure you still figure out your schedule. It'll help you make sure you feel like you have a purpose and aren't rolling around in limbo. This was probably my biggest mistake when I first graduated from undergrad. I didn't have a regiment and I had a lot of trouble because of it.
  • If you're applying for jobs, make sure you keep a spreadsheet of where/when you've applied and the status of your application. This will help you track when you can/should reach out again to see how your application is going.
  • Keep up with your hobbies. It's easy to feel guilty about doing things you enjoy when you're not in school anymore, but regardless of whether you have a job or are searching for one you need to make sure to take care of your mental health by having an outlet.
  • If you have time, learn how to cook more things. Eating healthy is really important and it'll make you feel good.
  • Don't feel discouraged if you're rejected from a lot of jobs. The market is really tough right now. A recruiter once told me that for every five rejects you might get one consideration. This is especially true if you're in a competitive field. Just keep trying and eventually, you'll get something.
  • Don't settle. It's really easy to take a temporary job somewhere you don't really want to be, but then to get stuck in that rut because of the risks of leaving or because you get comfortable. I did this for about two years and then I had a massive wake up call. I'm so glad that I woke up, but I'm also glad I had that experience because it's given me a lot more drive than I had before because I don't want to get stuck in such a bad place again.
Hopefully this helps! Good luck and congratulations on graduating!
 
#3
A lesson I learned the hard way is that, generally speaking, your usefulness to any potential employer (and really, to any endeavor which you undertake) is directly correlated with the extent of your value added. What do I mean by this? It doesn't matter how great your resume/pedigree/self-worth/skills/knowledge/abilities/etc. are; it matters only what you contribute to the organization, the end goal, or the bottom line. To use a stark example: if you walk in on day one with an Ivy League education, multiple advanced degrees, and all the knowledge in the world relevant to the job you are starting, and you have no idea how to help, then your utility is zero. You rank below the janitor, who may not have completed high school. Why is that? The janitor keeps the garbage cans empty, the floors and bathrooms clean, the office safe and sanitary, and the vermin out. Those are all incredibly valuable, necessary, and useful things. How do they compare with what do you contribute, on day one, with no relevant experience to speak of and a head full of knowledge? They do not compare, because those contributions are more valuable than yours at present, and may continue to be until you begin to demonstrate and contribute value.

The underlying point? Humility is crucial. Stay humble, keep your head down, listen twice as much (or more) as you speak, soak up the knowledge and experience around you, and figure out how you can contribute the most value. Nothing, and I mean nothing--your personality, education, experience, nothing--else matters until you are able to do that.
 
#4
I myself just recently transitioned to adult life. I can relate to the difficulty of the adjustment, but here is my advice:
  • If you are working a full-time job, figure out small ways that you can take 15 minutes or so, a few times during your day, to walk around, do something that isn't work. You (we) were used to days that included multiple different things throughout the day, I don't think I ever spent a straight 8 hours in front of my computer until I started my full-time job and that has probably been the hardest adjustment for me.
  • If you aren't working full-time or are still looking for a job, I completely agree with the advice that @Zeitgeist gave. Don't get down on yourself or discouraged. I think I must have applied for close to 50 jobs before I got one, the job applying process certainly isn't easy and you might not get a job in your field on the first go, but the right job is out there.
  • Find a group of young professionals, or make one. No matter where you live, there are likely events that you can attend that help young professionals network and get to know each other. If there isn't anything like that in your area, a quick search on LinkedIn should help you find some alumni from whatever school you attended, reach out, invite them to lunch, you might make some amazing relationships and they will certainly help you in the long run.
  • Find things that are for you. Honestly, adult life can be mundane. You have a super regular routine (something I was not at all used to in college) it becomes even more important that you have the things that really fulfill you. That looks different for everyone, but whether it is working out, hanging out with friends, or spending time meditating, you should have something each day that makes the 9-5 life and household chores feel not so monotonous.
Best of luck in your adult life! It isn't always easy!
 
#5
I think as zeitgeist, make sure to not settle and go out there and work to get what you want. When I graduated college I had the same job I got right after high school. I was afraid to leave the security of that job because I was good at, I was familiar with it, I was appreciated etc. at the same time thought I knew it wouldn’t take me where I wanted. So I kept it as a very part-time job and applied to other jobs where I could make more and get more experiences. While none of them them ended up being my intended field, I found what I didn’t want out of a carrer and what I did. Had I been to afraid to venture out I would’ve never known what I wanted and taken the leap to go for my Masters which I finish at the end of this semester and which will set me up for a better career path.
I would also suggest being patient. You are not necessarily going to get your dream job right away. So take opportunities you may not think are what you want to gain experience until you get what you want. My husband had to work two part time jobs he never imagined working so we could make the bills but now he is a manager of the company he really wanted to work at and he’s only 34. So have perseverance but also patience! Good luck.
 

alex

New member
#6
First off: thank you for starting this thread! I'm graduating in December and am definitely gonna save the tips here. I did get a little bit of experience last semester, though, when I completed an internship abroad, and would second the keeping a schedule tip above. Even if it's just a vague schedule, it's supremely helpful to keep you up and going.
 
#7
I'm just over 50 years old now and semi-retired around 40. It was mainly due to a couple things. First, I'm anti-social to some extent so I don't really like "going out" which save a lot of money over time. I also rebelled a little against fad consumer items or luxury goods. I never had a goal of owning a BMW or Mercedes and have always seen items like them as superficial. I never bought expensive shoes or watches etc. I also learned about and pursued the acquisition of passive income investments in my mid 20's. So, on one side I wasn't spending my disposable income on superficial luxury goods or going out and on the other side I was making those saved dollars work for me through investments. The earlier you start thinking in that manner the faster you'll reach a point where you have control over what you do with your time and your life.

Also, with a longer term goal of having control over your time and life it makes it more fun to go to work or make short term sacrifices because you know it will be well worth it down the line. Others will laugh and mock you initially but you'll have the last laugh when you're traveling the world months at a time and your colleagues have to beg their boss to get a week off for "vacation".
 
#8
It's definitely a change, but a good one. I found that the first few weeks after graduating I had a hard time just relaxing. Spending so many years always studying and having stuff due, it's hard to just turn it off the day after you graduate. So enjoy not having to study and write papers, but also don't get lazy. Find something new, a hobby or interest, that will keep your brain sharp and constantly thinking. After a year of "relaxing" I got bored and felt like I needed to learn something so I signed up for a nutrition certification and read a 600 page textbook in 3 months. Now I'm on the search to find something else to keep my brain going instead of falling bored.
 
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