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What was your transition from college to working like?

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Subject: Career question for you

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John’s Answer

It can be challenging to transition from college student to working professional for recent graduates. Trading in the days of thesis papers, library study sessions and campus parties for a full-time office job is a big change, and students who haven't worked in this type of environment before may not be fully prepared for the shift.

1.) LIFE CHANGING – Working eight or more hours each day takes some getting used to. Don't expect to be able to go out with friends several nights during the week, or stay up until midnight (or later) every night like you did in college. Early on, create healthy work habits that contribute to career success. Eat well, get enough sleep and maximize your free time to keep a work-life balance.

2.) CLEAN-UP YOUR IMAGE – Get active on LinkedIn, if you aren't already, and cultivate your professional network through the platform. Add relevant work experience and ask others to endorse your skills and write a recommendation on your profile. Remove pictures from college parties from your public profiles, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Make your profile picture(s) a standard headshot – a professionally done one is preferred but not required.

3.) BANK ON IT – For most new professionals who are used to living on a college student budget, seeing that huge dollar amount on their first salaried paycheck seems like an invitation to do all the things they couldn't afford in school: rent a nice apartment, take expensive trips, purchase designer clothes, etc. It's important to create a budget to figure out how much disposable income you'll really have each month after all the bills are paid. If you're paying off student loan debt, be careful when taking on new debt to finance a large purchase.

4.) STAY TRUE TO YOUR VALUES – You won't last long in a job or company that conflicts with your morals and values, or a job that doesn't motivate you. Make sure you consider your own personality traits before accepting a new job. From there, continuously evaluate how your job, company, and career fit with your beliefs and motivators. Spending your entire career with one company is now the exception rather than the rule, so don't fall in love with your first job or company. You may suddenly find yourself wanting to move on, or your company may hit hard times and face layoffs. Always be thinking about their next move, even if they enjoy their current position.

5.) NETWORK – Learn how companies use recruiters as a hiring model. You'll realize how important it is to reach out to recruiters before you graduate rather than after. Then send out letters of introduction, either by email or on LinkedIn, to recruiters about your professional background expressing interest in connecting. If you're looking to move to a specific location, you can reach out to recruiters in that prospective area. You never know; they may have a job opening where you're the perfect fit.

Hope this was Helpful Cecelia

Thank You Dhairya. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill John Frick

Thank You Humberto. “The broadest, and maybe the most meaningful definition of volunteering: Doing more than you have to because you want to, in a cause you consider good. ” – Ivan Scheier John Frick

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Jon’s Answer

Hi Cecelia!

The transition from college to your professional career can be tough at first. On the surface, many aspects of your lifestyle will change, especially with a fixed daily schedule in most cases. Some people may not have experienced this type of structure since they were in gradeschool, which can make it more challenging. Another tough transition can be going from having little money as a student to having a regular salary. I would suggest brushing up on personal finance topics to avoid bad spending habits.

Overall, I think the most important things to focus on are ensuring that you develop hobbies to keep yourself occupied in your free time, and to surround yourself with people who support you both in life and your career.

Jon recommends the following next steps:

Look into personal finance books (I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Total Money Makeover, etc.).
Use applications to help with personal finance management (i.e. Mint).
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Alison’s Answer

Hi Cecelia,
The answer to your question will vary quite a bit, depending on your career choice. For me, my major in college required an internship during my final semester, so it made the transition to work a little easier because I had some experience and had some more information about the job itself. I’d seen what daily life was going to be like. However, in my case, I wasn’t so in love with that daily life after I’d seen it so up close and personally. My required internship actually made me change my mind about what kind of place I wanted to work in. I stopped looking for positions in standard, public school settings, and started looking for positions in alternate education instead. I got lucky, finding a job at a tutoring center pretty quickly, and I loved it! For the first time in my life, I had no homework! Since I was working fresh out of school, getting up early and doing all of the responsible things like showing up on time were pretty easy as well. And, they were paying me to do something I really enjoyed. It felt like I’d been training a lifetime, and it had finally paid off.
It’s not always so easy transitioning into a job. Often, there can be a steep learning curve, company culture that requires adaptation to, or a feeling of having to try really hard to keep up with your coworkers all while you’re in brand new situation. But, most people do survive the transition.
It takes some work to get used to work, but you’ll survive it too!
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Megan’s Answer

WONDERFUL! At least for me, it was great to have my afternoons/weekends free from studying to do whatever I wanted! But this transition is different for everyone. This phase of life also brings greater responsibilities, and freedoms, so it can be challenging to find a balance.

I would recommend finding a supportive community, it can be lonely/isolating without having direct access to all your friends. So reach out, find new things to do and create a new support system!

It's also important to love what you do - make sure to not do something just for the money! :)

Good luck, college opens so many doors, so the world is yours! Don't let COVID or external factors discourage you!
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Gloria’s Answer

I actually worked while I was in college, so the transition wasn't that difficult. If you can work, i would recommend that you do. The difference between work life and college life can be quite different. Many people who enter my employer right out of college struggle with a disconnect between what they learned and how a business actually works. When I was studying for the major where I got my Bachelor's degree, some of my classes actually made more sense because I was already working. It was like having a short cut to learning since I could apply my knowledge immediately.
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Vikas’s Answer

A group of engineers here. It can definitely be scary at first and there's a lot that can be uncertain and unknown, but it's important to remember that this is something everyone goes through and grows from. The important thing is to try and find a job that could be satisfying and interesting and to have a development plan. Don't be discouraged if you're not immediately satisfied with your first job or where you end up, because there is a lot of time for people entering the workforce to learn about what they like and find something that fits well with their skills and interests.
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Ruixian’s Answer

Hi Cecelia,
Frankly speaking, I think it needs some time to do the transition from college to working. If you could do some internships, you will accumulate some experience for your workplace image built up and networking. The internship I did helped me to figure out which area I am good at and what kind of future career I want to pursue. I would recommend you to have internships if possible.
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Joseph’s Answer

Hi Cecelia,

I would say the biggest change for me from college to working life was I had to make more an effort to see my friends. In college, it's a lot easier to meet people because there is a lot more free time in between classes, or even if we had homework we would study together. Also, in college people are generally in the same vicinity, even for students who commute. After college, people tend to be busier due to work and could be in different locations (outside the city or out of state), so you might need to make more an effort to meet up with people and work at maintaining those relationships.

Other than that, having summer internships during college can also help make the transition easier as you can get real world experience and also help boost your resume as well.

Hope this helps
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Katie Rose’s Answer

Hey Cecelia!

Working after college was actually a lot of fun, though it took a while to find a decent job. I graduated with a fine arts degree, so I worked freelance doing jobs like designing logos and editing photos for a while before I found a job editing photos full time.

After being in school for four years, it was really refreshing to know that I could dedicate as much time as I needed to working and making money. I enjoyed college, but being able to work full time without assignments and deadlines hanging over my head really allowed me to focus on my work and thrive. I'll admit, it was strange not being told what to do and when to do it by professors, so I had to learn to set my own deadlines and actually follow through on them. If you can be disciplined and do what you say you will do, everything else just falls into place.