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Real Talk: What to Expect After College
Most students look forward to Graduation Day. It is a milestone worth celebrating, and an end to a memorable and challenging chapter in our lives. Little do we know that the new chapter that we are about to begin is as hard, or far more challenging than what most of us had to endure as young adults.
Life after graduation is not always unicorns and roses. The real world is far from the “bubble” that we were in before graduation. There are a lot of things that you may have not prepared for as you enter a professional career or as you begin to fully understand what adulting is. Here are some of the few things to look forward too, or prepare for after your college days are over.
Success is Not Instant for Most
Before we enter college, we all dream of the careers we would love to end with after we finally get our degrees. Some will be lucky enough to get their dream jobs soon after graduation, but most of us will not. Success can be instant for others, while it can be a struggle for you.
Do not get trapped with the comparison and the pressure of chasing for success because others have already reached theirs. Different people have different stories to go through. Your success is different from the success of your classmates and colleagues. You may struggle to land in a job, or you may not. Your only option is to stand tall and prepare for the challenges that may or may not come as you go through your journey as an adult and a professional.
Paperwork is Now a Part of Your Adult Life
Starting out a career after college requires a lot of paperwork. You will have to pay for taxes, enroll in a 401K, get healthcare, insurances, sign up for apartment contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and many more.
Gone are the days of skipping through your Apple iTune agreement policy. You will need to fully understand each and every piece of document you sign your name at.
Staying on top of your paperwork may be difficult but is essential. You are not yet entitled to an assistant that will do the paperwork for you. Take time to read and understand how your adult life will be affected by the documents and contracts you enter. You might end up losing money if you fail to comply or understand such paperwork.
Do Not Ignore Your College Loans
Student loan debt will drown your adult life if you fail to acknowledge them as soon as you need to. You have a maximum of six months after graduation before you are required to pay off your student loans. Act responsibly and pay them back. Student loans will never go away unless you start repaying them.
Prepare a loan repayment plan to help you stay on track with your student loan debt. Allot a certain percentage of your salary even before your actual repayment due date starts. Create a budget and stick to it to make your finances manageable. Ignoring your student loans will just add up interests and cause you more troubles in the future.
Avoid Burning Bridges
Whether you are just a fresh graduate from college or a professional that has already jumped into several jobs for the past five years, burning bridges is never a good thing to do if you want to build a successful and flourishing career. Most industries, no matter how broad or big they are, can be quite small in terms of people networks. One bad relationship with an old boss or company may leave a negative mark on your career for quite a long time.
Try to maintain a good relationship with every company or job that you have. Treat every colleague with respect. Chances are, you will work with the same people again during your career. It would be very awkward to work with a former colleague you used to bully now that he is the current CEO of the company you are eyeing to get a job. Respect begets respect, most of the time, in the professional world.
You are most likely to start at the bottom even after graduating with full honors in college. There are plenty of other professionals ahead of you, and there will be other colleagues your age that will eventually be your rival as you try to secure a job. Life after college is still a struggle. It is a fight that you can win with hard work, respect, dedication, and a little bit of luck.
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