Survival of the Fittest: Life After College.

Life After College.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of GradImages.

It’s pretty common and it isn’t a terrible idea for young adults to move back in with their parents following graduation from college. While the arrangements may not be ideal, for some grads living at home can provide the stability that is needed to sort out finances and ambitions.

I graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York (CUNY) last year and on June 3rd, 2016 I celebrated my one year anniversary of my post graduate journey. I completed my first year of graduate school at Hunter College, another sister school within the CUNY system but I have to admit even though I am so close to finishing up my degree and becoming the first in my immediate family to obtain a master’s degree, I still have this fear that I will not make it and my aspiration of becoming a Family & Marriage therapist will all be for nothing.

It’s completely normal to feel anxious and out of place after graduation but let us not forget how much we have accomplished in our lives and what our new beginning has in store for us all. I hope you find this piece to be helpful and maybe a little bit motivational to continue your journey of becoming an adult and to never lose faith in yourself. 

1. Cover Letter & Resume. Everyone wants to land their dream job right after college. A full-time, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., full health coverage and other amazing benefits to top it all off. A quick Google search or resume scan can tell an employer what they need to know about a job candidate such as: where they went to school, their past and current work experiences and any major awards or accomplishments—the list will go on and on. With this in mind, having a cover letter and resume is an essential piece of your post graduate journey. Make sure to proofread and get a second opinion before pressing the send button.

2. Interviewing Skills. Practice, practice, practice! Like many of our sport coaches have said to us before practice makes perfect. Having good interviewing skills goes a long way especially when you are fresh out of college looking to secure a job to pay back your student loans or to save up enough money to move out of your parents home. Mock interviewing is a great way to demonstrate your interviewing techniques and practice more effective ways of interviewing, after all there is always room for improvement.

3. Graduate School. Depending on what profession you desire to be in the near future, it may require you to obtain a master’s or doctoral degree. For some graduates, graduate school is considered to be more serious and requires a lot more time and patience. After four years of undergraduate who the heck wants to go back for more schooling? Graduate school could also be looked at as a burden for some whether it is being able to fully fund the program of choice or being mentally prepared for a higher level of learning. Consider graduate school as an option in your post graduate journey. For me, it’s changing my life as we speak.

4. Fellowships. Having experiential learning and training is important to your growth as a young professional. Generally, fellowships provide a unique experience that are not typically available to someone starting out in an entry-level position. They are also known for their commitment to the professional development of the individual and often times include intensive training. By securing a fellowship after graduation is a great way to gain some work experience while it could also help you figure out what your next move maybe.

5. Networking. The power of networking is a crucial part in your professional development. Nowadays it is not about what you know and about who you know. Find yourself a few individuals who are in the field you want to be in and ask them to be your mentor. Having a mentor can expand your network and being able to a variety of individuals to network with could only help you in the marketing world.

6. Volunteer. What employer doesn’t like FREE labor? I know, I know. You’re a fresh college graduate and got bills to pay so volunteering isn’t much of an option come to really think of it. Still consider volunteering at places that interest you because you never know the job you volunteer for may turn out to be your next job.

7. Budgeting. One of the major tips to surviving life after college is effective budgeting. Budgeting is hard to do. My advice for people who find themselves struggling with budgeting would be find alternative solutions to your habits. For examples:

  • Food. Buying lunch every day can result to a total of $80.00 weekly and sometimes food prisoning instead consider buying groceries from a local supermarket such as: fresh fruits and veggies, cold cuts, bread and some plastic containers so you’re able to bring food you made from home.
  • Online Shopping. Don’t get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look good or fashionable but remember that you can’t spend $800.00 dollars on a pair of Chanel sunglasses if you don’t have a job or the money to begin with. Consider using websites like retailmenot.com, ebate.com, Groupon or Living Social to find coupon codes for your next online purchase. P.S. shop wisely by subscribing to your favorite stores to know when they have the best deals.
  • Public Transportation. For all my peoples who live in the city we all know and understand the total struggle of constantly buying a metrocard. A New York City monthly metro is $116.50—check to see if your employer has a transportation program such as: Wage Works that deducts pre-tax money for your transportation expenses. If not, no worries consider opening up a separate bank account and submitting a direct deposit form with the amount you desire to be use for public transportation purposes.

8. Getting Lit and Turning Up. Going to happy hour after work is fun but it is also a sure way to: (a) become an alcoholic and (b) blowing $200.00-$300.00 a month on liqour. Join the happy hour crew once every two weeks but limit how much you spend on alcohol as you get adjusted to your new budget.

9. Social Support System. Life after college can get really depressing at times, hell being in college and juggling academia and work was stressful. But I always had a small circle of friends who always motivated and encouraged me to go above and beyond. Build as many friendships and relationships with others as possible, you never know who you will meet or who will be your next boss.

10. Be Passionate, Confident and Positive. As much as college was a drag to deal with, we cannot deny that great feeling of walking across the stage and shaking your college president or the moment when you turned your tassel from right to left for the conferment of your degree. Always remember that when the going gets tough, overcome your obstacles by searching for support.

Lastly keep grinding, stay proactive and positive!

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