We have the pleasure of having several college girls interning with us at The Grit and Grace Project. This year, two, who have been with us for a while, graduated. Their graduation took place on a Sunday and the following Tuesday we had a team meeting which they attended. A few minutes into the meeting I was reminded of the seismic life shift they are facing. Watching their facial expressions as they discussed the future spoke every bit of the overwhelming, yet excited, panicked, exhilarating, and dreadful emotions they were feeling.
So, I wanted to take a few minutes and tell all college grads this—take heart! You can do this! Yes, it’s true what you have known in your academic life is not what is ahead of you. It’s time to enter the pay-my-rent, get-a-real-job world of adulting. But what you learned in college (and I’m not talking about what came in those astronomically expensive books), is everything you need to know to take on your first job.
1. You learned that goals change along the way.
Somewhere in your academic career, you realized that what you thought you wanted wasn’t what you actually wanted. The dreams you had as a little girl probably didn’t become the major you tackled in college. It’s kind of hard to major in princess. There’s a good chance you changed your mind in high school, then again when beginning college, and maybe one more time during your junior year. It’s no different in the workplace. Whatever job you find next will not be your forever job. It will be only one of an abundance of career paths and challenges you tackle in your work life. So, remove the pressure to find the perfect job. Just find the right one for this next step.
2. You learned it takes more than one application to discover where you want to go.
You didn’t just apply to one university. If you did and got in, good for you, but it doesn’t usually work that way. The same holds true in the job hunt; it takes time to research, build a resume, and turn in a whole bunch of job applications to find the next fit. Similar to when you looked at colleges, don’t limit yourself in your search; open up the gates. There may be something that’s just right for you in the marketplace that you have yet to discover.
It’s time to enter the pay-my-rent, get-a-real-job world of adulting. But— take heart college grad! You can do this!
3. You were surprised by which courses taught you the most.
You may have expected specific subjects within your major to be the most beneficial, yet they weren’t. Gaining wisdom that covers a lot of life probably came for something you randomly selected or seemed to be an odd requirement for your degree. You will discover this truth in the workplace as well. Be open to a position that may not be what you were thinking but can become a much-needed building block in your yet-to-discover, long-term goals.
4. You learned to share life with people who are not your family.
You lived with, studied with, and completed group projects with people you probably didn’t know before you entered the hallowed halls of higher education. This experience of great, cooperative relationships, as well as the difficult ones, will enable you to navigate the world of co-workers successfully. The interaction in college humanity is not a lot different than that in the workplace.
5. You found a way to meet deadlines.
Whether it was turning in papers or finals that you studied for, you responded to the need to produce and then deliver time-sensitive requirements. This ability is much-needed and most rewarded within the workplace.
6. You have come to understand that each part of your education is a season.
First elementary, then middle and high school, and now college—each was a segment of your education journey. Each one represented a change: in buildings, friendships, even a change in expectations. Entering the workplace is just another season. Not only that, the first position you find will be a season as well. There will be others.
College grads, you will find a job! You will discover your new rhythm! You will realize this is an exciting season of life! Yes, in many ways it will be different, but it will also bring you independence, accomplishment, and reveal to you precisely what you’re made of. You got your degree, so now get the rest of your life.
Read what other writers have to say about entering the workforce:
I Thank My Twenties for These 10 Lessons
7 Simple Ways to Free Yourself from Student Loans
6 Insider Tips to Help You Ace the Interview and Get the Offer
Is Your Social Media Promoting You to Potential Employers?
Do You Have to Like Your Job?
10 Ways to Be a Young, Respectful Professional
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Want more, college grad? I bet you listen to podcasts. Don’t miss ours! Here’s one we know you’ll love: How to Face the Impossible with Grit and Grace – 035!