You may be thinking, “Graduation is almost here, but now what?” Real life is on the way and while that may cause a bit of anxiety, you should be proud of yourself for your accomplishments and continue working hard until you turn in your last final exam. Especially for traditional college students, you’re just turning 21 and schoolwork may be the last thing on your mind. It can be hard to stay on track, so keep this advice in mind.
Don’t procrastinate, but if you do, put in the work to complete your classes.
Procrastination is one of the most common reasons students get bad grades. Get invited to a party, stay out all night, sleep until noon, and next you know it your 15 page paper is due in 12 hours and you haven’t even started it. While the best advice is to not procrastinate in the first place, if you do, get back on track. Simple as that.
If you have to pull another all-nighter to study for that midterm or finish your research paper, suck it up and do it. Grab some coffee, go to the library, put on your headphones, and get it done. Procrastination is one thing, not doing the work is another.
Start planning your next steps now.
You should know by now what your career field and area of interest is, and if you don’t, then start research what types of jobs you can get with your degree. Now is the time to start looking for what you are going to do after you graduate, which means going to the career center, polishing your resume, applying for jobs, practicing your interview skills, and putting yourself out there.
Internships can be great too, but be aware that some internships might be unpaid, and unless you have financial support, it may not be the best route for you. Graduate school is another option if you want to further your education, but also understand that a lot of people work full time in their field while they get their graduate degree, and you can too.
The reality is that the job market it is tough and you are the only one who can guarantee your success.
When you’re applying for jobs and/or graduate school, organization will save you a lot of headache. Set up folders for each opportunity that presents itself on your computer and store duplicate files in each of them after you’ve submitted all the paperwork so you know what’s done and what’s not. Google Drive is a great solution for this as well because you can download, edit, and access the files where you go. Get a daily planner, write yourself sticky notes, save reminder alarms in our phone, do whatever you need to do to meet your deadlines.
Don’t turn down an opportunity to further yourself, you never know where you might end up.
You may think you’re limited in what you can do because of your major, but that is simply not true. Many graduates find jobs completely unrelated to their field of study, and even more find jobs that are slightly related. In other words, don’t limit yourself to being an engineer just because you got your bachelor’s in engineering.
Likewise, plenty of opportunities will turn into other opportunities and so on and so forth. You don’t want to turn down a potentially prosperous career just because you think you may not be a good fit. If a company hired you, they obviously think you have something to offer, so go with it.
Constantly be networking.
Along the same lines as above, constantly be networking with your fellow students, professors, mentors, and potential employers. Grab business cards and exchange contact info whenever you meet someone of interest. But don’t be pushy either. Potential employers like motivated individuals, not over-confidence.
Be careful of jumping into relationships.
Relationship-wise, you want to be sure you don’t tie yourself down and get stuck somewhere when you are trying to start your career. If you are in a relationship, be upfront and honest about your career goals and what you want to do with your future. Your significant other will understand and will likely have their own goals as well. Work together towards success, but don’t hold each other back.
Appreciate how far you’ve come.
Above all, you are about to finish 4 years of studying hard and have a degree and a ton of experiences to show for it. Getting a degree is a huge accomplishment, so be proud of yourself for how far you’ve come. Congratulations and good luck in the future!