Life after college: A few tips for adjusting to the ‘real world’

As a recent graduate of Louisiana State University, the transition from college life to the so-called real world has been a reality check. Thinking back to the past two weeks since graduation, I’ve discovered some of the realities that I’d like share with you about this life transition. One of the hardest but simple concepts that you have to adjust to is accepting that you are starting over. Especially if you are starting a new job, even if you are familiar with the company, you need to remember that you are at the bottom of the totem pole and have to work your way up from there.

Similar to many of my peers, I spent my last semester of college enjoying campus life. For those entering senior year this fall, I advise you to spend your first semester dedicated to searching for a job. Only after perfecting your resume, nailing an interview and accepting a job, will you be fully relaxed. Everyone deserves to enjoy the last few months of staying up late just hanging with friends, taking spontaneous road trips and dressing casual every day because once you walk across that stage to receive your diploma, you will be labeled college graduate.

With this new-found label, your family will begin to pester you with constant questions about your future career plans or continuation of education, where you’re going to live, and, of course, your love life.

Sarah’s new puppy, Beaux

My advice to you is to realize that they are asking because they care and not to get frustrated by this constant questioning. Next, decide what you want to do and what you need to do, and then develop a plan that prioritizes and balances both. While making your plan, determine obstacles you might encounter. This will help you to be proactive in finding a solution. Then, put all your time and energy into whatever your plan may be.

Personally, the hardest part of graduating was leaving my friends in Louisiana. Before coming back in town, I already knew I would be in a sad funk because of this, and I was dreading the week of free time I had before starting work. However, by establishing a plan, I overcame the sad funk because I was productive. For example, my goals included finding and furnishing an apartment downtown and to get a puppy. The day after I came home, I rescued a puppy from the Humane Society. He is a black lab mix named Beaux and the sweetest puppy you’ll ever meet. Next, after securing an apartment Downtown, I spent the past weekend going to yard sales and the Habitat ReStore where I found some great furniture that I have begun to paint to give the items my own personal touch. Having these goals helped me remain positive as well as get excited for my first day of work.

Lastly, the most important goal any college graduate entering the workforce should have is to figure out their place in the company. As mentioned before, you will start out at the bottom. However, you have to remember that you will not always be the new kid on the block. While adjusting to your new position, notice other employees and determine where you want to be in six months or even a year. Having a benchmark will help keep your spirits up and make you work harder because you can measure your success. If necessary, speak with a higher-level employee to help you determine if your aspirations are realistic and adjust if needed.

The transition from college to the real world is different for everyone. By being aware of the ups and downs of your situation, you can take control in order to create structure to help make the transition easier.

If you have any questions about transitioning from college to the real world, feel free to contact me at sarah@obsidianpr.com.