It’s that time of year again. Students, across the country and around the globe are preparing to end the chapter that is college/university to embark on a new journey into the real world as adults.
Fours years can just fly by. It seems like just yesterday I was moving in and preparing for the chapter of my life where I would be on my own. Now as one chapter ends, another begins.This post is a little different than my previous posts because I’m not the one who is giving the advice. I need it along with many other young people who are in a similar position.
This post is a little different than my previous posts because I’m not the one who is giving the advice. I need it along with many other young people who are in a similar position. While I was coming up with the idea for this post, I asked the following question on my social media. The responses from this very question are as follows.
What advice would you give a college graduate who is about to enter the real world and what advice or words of wisdom did you get when you graduated?
Advice on Finance
“As a former financial aid director – IF you have student loans – always keep your contact information updated and communicate if you are unable to make any student loan payments there are multiple programs that allow you to modify our defer your payment. Treat your credit record like your best friend.”
“Do not use credit cards for anything you can not pay for within the next 90 days or 3 paychecks.”
“Make a Budget”
“Start investing in a mutual fund via SIP route. Start small. Just start.”
“Learn how to save money or you’ll spend your whole 20s buying food and alcohol and dumb shit and wonder where it all went.”
“Start building an emergency fund. 6-8 months of their monthly expenses. Start or join a business. Learn how a business works. Save money on tax, especially those paid on their job paycheck. Learn about compound interest & life insurance policies that allow you to build wealth. Learn how to buy a house and a car. Get out of debt and/or stay out of debt. At least the ‘bad’ debt. Find a mentor for finances and life. ” – Marlon of The Valunaire
Start investing in your retirement funds. Live with less. Continue living with the college student mindset even when you start making real money Start a side hustle.” – Suzi of Start a Mom Blog
Advice on Networking, Opportunities, and Resources
Network as much as possible. A degree is a piece of paper. In many industries, things change so much that what you’ve learned is already outdated soon after. Who you know will open doors that will get you opportunities to learn hands on and prove yourself.”
“Use your resources.
“Build connections! You never know when you might need a reference from a teacher or a helping hand from a fellow friend. It’s OK to be scared to fail but get over it to achieve your goals.”
“Find a mentor. You are armed with a new degree, but you do not know it all, find someone who can assist you along the way!”
“Don’t get obsessed with getting your dream job/salary and miss out on a good opportunity in the process.”
“Volunteer at work for any project especially ones that may involve travel. Many people can’t and won’t. Best thing I ever did. Also get a life, working more than 10 hours a day serves no benefit to anyone anywhere.”
“Always be networking. I’m a human resources professional. Over the years, I’ve found that many people only network when they want something…and miss out on opportunities as a result.” – Sharlyn of HR Bartender
“Mine is simple: get a good toolbox and a set of basic tools, and know how to use them” – Katie of Jones Sweet Homes | Design Company & Blog
“Take a business night course. These days, many students have the talents and access to amazing materials online which means they can start their own companies while working in those first days after graduation the sense of freedom and perspective knowing how to be your own boss can be a huge confidence booster and a great way to connect to others with more worldly experience!”
Advice on Confidence
“Don’t undervalue your knowledge and life experience. You may be young, but you will bring a unique perspective to any job you get.”
“Be confident, know that if someone says no there will be a person who says yes, be willing to learn and most of all be yourself.”
Advice on Being Humble
“You still aren’t as smart as you think you are — respect those with more life experience than you. Once you hit 30, you’ll be taken more seriously. Love, Mom.”
“Be humble and excited to learn.”
Advice on Never Giving Up
“Don’t be afraid to fail & don’t give up on yourself. Have one goal that you work towards before you graduate. It doesn’t matter if it takes a year or two or ten for you to achieve it. Just keep trying.” – Kendel of Little Misadventures
“Fail forward fast. Don’t quit.”
“People will try to manipulate you but you should learn about this misleading real world. I started my blogging journey during my graduation and it was nothing I expected. You just need to be yourself to show the world that you’re more worth than anything precious in this world. Keep consistent, set some goals, do what you love but do it the way others don’t. Stay motivated and enjoy the career you choose.” – Ravi of BloggingLove
“Be willing to believe in yourself. It’s can feel scary when you go out in the “real world” and feel like you have to prove your worth. Just remember you can do anything but first YOU have to believe it. Mistakes are ok. We all make them. But when it happens…own up to it and learn from it. Sometimes mistakes can turn into masterpieces.” – Sonali of Dream With Intent
“Keep learning and always keep improving.” – Leviticus of LennyRivhardson
Advice on Transitioning
“Being a recent graduate, I wasn’t prepared for the post-graduate depression I went through. I would tell anyone who is preparing to graduate to be prepared for the transition itself. It was tough having to move back home with my parents and start life basically over again. I also would advise them to try very hard to get some type of experience in the field they are in before graduating, whether that may be interning or whatever. It was so hard finding a job, even an entry-level job.”
“It’s okay if you’re not ready! It takes a time to get accustomed from endless nights of projects, studio work and studying. If that means living with mom for a couple of months until you get on your feet, do it. I’m doing that right now! But push yourself as much (or better) than you did in those classes to make the first step. – Melquea of Pretty Kitty Commissions
“Don’t be afraid to move somewhere new! I moved to Arkansas – a place I couldn’t even locate on a map – when I graduated. Then three years later I moved to San Francisco, 3,000 miles from my hometown and undergrad in Michigan. Moving someplace totally new allows you to explore an adult life uninhibited and learn a lot about yourself, too. Plus, your college friends will always be there for you, long-distance or not.” – Becca of Non Basic Blonde
“I finished my classes in December but will be walking at graduation in May. This means I’ve kind of gotten a head start seeing what getting a job after “graduating” looks like. I’ve learned that it’s not going to be automatic but that each job unattained is because something better will come along. Most of all, I’ve learned that you have to be extremely patient and unafraid of change and those curve balls life has inevitably waiting for all of us. Hope this helps!” – Francesca of Authentica By Francesca
Advice on Employment
“When I first graduated I looked for jobs that were kind of related to my field but high level, in the hopes that I might jag one, and I was really lucky that someone decided to take me on board and I succeeded, which paved the way for some really awesome opportunities in my career. So I guess my advice would be to aim high and challenge yourself.” – Dominique of Oh Beehave!
Advice on Stepping Up
“Pay your dues! Don’t complain and act entitled. It’s called work for a reason. Put in the hours and time, make connections, prove yourself, toil, hone your skill/craft. I made $23,400 out of college and worked my tail off to get where I am now 13 years later. I see too many people out of college expecting raises and promotions the first year just for doing your job. It doesn’t work that way! Do more than just your job, go above and beyond, take on extra projects, have a side hustle, show your passion” – Lauren of The Life That Broke
Advice on Following Your Passions and Trusting Your Instincts
“My dad said to me: ‘You can become whatever you want to be’. That really helped me. He never pushed me to become something or do something I’m not sure about. So I would tell a graduate ‘trust in your dreams and follow your heart. And don’t stress out over what people say.'”
“Follow your passion. People will try to dissuade you, but don’t listen to them. Trust your instincts and you will be happy.”
“Build your real world around your fun. Only go for your dreams. Follow your intuition. You will zag when 99% of your fellow graduates’ zig but it’s the zaggers and dreams and people who do things with love, following their passion, who make the greatest impact and who enjoy the ride.” – Ryan of Blogging From Paradise
“We were born to do more than pay bills and die.”