College Graduates: What You Need to Know about Transitioning into the Working World by Mariana Ashley

I am headed to commencement; it should be “neat”I suspect. This will be my 11th such affair, and 7th here at HCHS. I received a post from Mariana Ashley, a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com. I think many of you graduating will find her piece of most help.

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Above: Metoyer (chair), Sivils, Malouf, Bourland, Phenicie, and Carson. The history department took a second to take this departmental picture just before HCHS 2009 commencement. This will be Casey Bourland’s last commencement with us as she is set to leave the department.

Graduation season is here, and that can only mean one thing: college grads will soon begin to embark on a new journey in their lives— and if fortunate enough, that new journey will include employment in a desired field. But transitioning into the working world is a rude awakening for those that are used to mid-week late nights with friends, are accustomed to showing up for classes late with no consequences, and especially for those who love starting classes at noon. To help recent college grads adapt to work-life and to get some insight of what to expect, continue reading below.

5. Be Aware of Time and Get Sleep.

If you were the type that liked to schedule their first class at noon because you are a night owl who likes to sleep in late, you might struggle adjusting to your new work schedule, especially if you have the standard 9 to 5 work hours. But it’s important that you get the proper 6 to 8 hours of sleep in order to improve your performance and productivity levels. Think about: it is extremely difficult to be able to complete hard tasks at hand when you are sleepy or drowsy. This isn’t college any more, you don’t just have to show up and hear the professor talk for 50 minutes while you sit back and relax, you actually have to get rest so that you can focus and do your work. You can’t just skip work entirely just because you are too tired either like in your college days. So don’t nap, drink caffeine or exercise two to three hours before your bed time—these stimulants will keep you up all night.

On a similar note, you need to make sure that you always make it to work on time. Your “cool” professors may have been ok with you showing up to class just a few minutes late, but this kind of behaviour can actually get you fired. So if you think that binge-drinking on a Tuesday night with friends might jeopardize you waking up in enough time, then maybe you should consider moving the “party-time” to the weekend.  You also need to invest in a good alarm and give yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning. And don’t worry— getting up early will get easier over time as your body begins to condition itself.

4. Exuberate Professionalism at all Times.

This might seem like a given, but many new college graduates actually forget that they are surrounded by co-workers and not their college buddies. With that said, it’s important that your refrain from using slang, participating in office gossip and sharing inappropriate stories about your life, at least early on. In other words, maintain a sense of professionalism in the workplace at all times. This also includes “looking” professional such as having neatly groomed hair and wearing appropriate and wrinkle-free clothing—this isn’t like college where you can roll out of bed in our pajamas.

On a similar note, you want to make sure that you don’t start your new career as a Mr. or Miss Know-it-all. The truth is that you don’t know it all, college has not prepared you for everything and you are in training. You’re new, so listen and take everything in. It’s ok that you are eager to learn, but don’t step on any body’s toes in the process.

3. Get to Know Your Co-Workers.

For many college grads who find employment right out of school, they are forced to relocate to other cities and are torn away from their friends and family. Having to cope with living in a new city and being immersed into a new job solo is very scary. Thus, try to get to know your co-workers right away so that you establish some sort of support system in the workplace at least—they will be the ones that give your praise when you accomplish something or will show you the ropes at your new job for example. They may even very well become your friends and may be able to introduce you to the city and other people. Try to branch out by inviting them to lunch and attending happy hours.

2. Break Monotony.

If you get a standard office job, you will learn all too quickly that a 9 to 5 can get pretty old. One of the easiest ways to prevent boredom is to make sure that you vary up your routine a bit. This can include anything from going a different route to work each morning to trying that new Indian restaurant for lunch to even making plans with friends after work so that you have something to look forward to. Whatever you do, find out ways to prevent you from feeling like you’re in a rut—your career has just started, you will have to endure this lifestyle for a very long time.

1. Don’t Stress If You didn’t Land Your Dream Job.

If after working for a few months you realize that this job is not exactly what you had envisioned yourself doing, don’t fret. Some don’t know exactly what they want to do fresh out of college and thus many college graduates do entry-level work and accept job offers at companies that aren’t directly associated with their degrees just to get their foot in the door. All experience is relative and if after a year or so you still find yourself unhappy and truly want to find another place of employment then go for it.

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