Switching from the college lifestyle to one with a full-time job (and no cafeteria) can be a bit shocking for many graduates.
The campus life is great, but it’s uniquely different from the kind of living a full-time career has to offer. With time, you will adapt and learn how to overcome new challenges. Here are a few tips to help you get started in what some call, the “real world:”
Take Advantage of Internships Before Graduating
This tip is for someone that still has time in between graduation and their first job. In college classes, you may learn a lot about a range of topics and ideas, but often don’t get hands-on experience in a job setting. Consider taking a part time internship during the school year or during the summers. Sites like Indeed and Linkedin can help you search for internships in your area. Having an internship will not only give you experience in a job setting but will give you an idea of what you like and don’t like, informing you in your job search.
Start with a Consistent Schedule
This tip is important to kick off not only your career, but your new lifestyle. It’s easy to just go to work every day, get off work, waste time, go to bed, and do it all over again. Make sure you have a clear plan on how you’re going to succeed in your new position as well as other areas in your life. If you have specific goals or hobbies outside of work, plan out how you want to spend your time. The weeks will feel like they go by much faster than they did during school, so make sure the time doesn’t pass you by. The easiest way to track and record your time would be to start with Google Calendar. There are other options, like the old fashioned way of writing it down on a physical calendar, or scheduling apps like Calendly if you have a lot of appointments. Plan out your days so you know you’re always making progress on the things that are important to you.
It’s also important to make a conscious effort to stay in touch with friends and family. It’s natural to grow apart from some friends, but the more life you experience, the more distractions you will face, so actively staying connected will help you stay grounded as you traverse this new period of your life.
Organize Your Finances
Having a full time job can be exciting because you will have more money coming in than you’ve ever had before. It’s tempting to spend that money as it comes in, but in order to set yourself up for financial success, there are a few things you need to think about. The first thing you should do is figure out how much money you’re actually bringing in (take out taxes). From there, you need to create a budget that works for you. There are many different ways to set up a budget and a variety of tools and resources online to help you get started.
When you have a budget set up, you have a clear picture of how much money you’re able to allocate to certain goals like paying off student loans, for example. Many people have larger goals like buying their first home, which is difficult to do while paying off school loans and paying rent every month. The good news is that paying your bills on time every month will help you get to the minimum credit score to buy a house. If you’re not looking to achieve that large of a financial goal quite yet, simply focusing your finances on becoming debt free will set you up for financial freedom later on.
Start Your New Job Off Strong
You may have heard this before, but college is much easier than a full time job. However, a full time job has the potential to be much more rewarding than college. You may feel like you want to keep the same pace of work you had at college, but many jobs require you to put much more effort and thought into the work. When you start your first job, make it a priority to start off strong. Ask for advice and ask questions when you don’t understand something. Try your best to show initiative early on to stand out from the rest, and set yourself up for future success.
One similarity between college and a career is that both require you to keep learning. When you start your job, you will learn a lot during training, but once that training is over and you’ve started to get in the groove of things, you need to make sure you’re improving your skills and knowledge. You should do this not necessarily for your boss or for the company, but to set yourself and your family up for better things in the future, whether that means a better position or a better salary. Take the curiosity you had throughout your education and keep utilizing it throughout your career.
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