Transitioning from College Into the Real World

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It’s official. I’ve been out in the working world for over a year. And from bills and waking up early to juggling priorities and finding a place to live, I feel I have grown and changed immensely. 

Here are my top three pieces of advice for any grad embarking on their first year out of college:

  1. Manage Your Money. Transitioning into the real world and learning how to manage a budget for rent, groceries, utilities, and “spending money” can be a real wake-up call. Keep track of your monthly income and where you spend your money, especially if you intend to start saving (and you should). Take advantage of phone apps that track monthly spending and then figure out a savings plan. If your company offers a 401k, do it. No, seriously, do it.
  2. Wear Many Hats. Starting a new job, you’re going to be asked to do many things. It’s affectionately called “wearing many hats.” And when you’re fresh out of school, there will be some tasks that you’ll be asked to do that you don’t know how to do. Or, quite frankly, that you don’t particularly want to do. Cold calling, networking, excel spreadsheets— these might be on your “I don’t think I like/get this” list.

Here’s what’s happening. Your manager wants to see what you are capable of and how willing you are to take on new challenges. Don’t be intimidated. Keep your eyes on the prize. This is the most malleable stage of your professional career. Some new things you might hate, but others you will love. Take direction and push your limits everyday. You’re building a solid foundation for your professional success and figuring out where your strengths lie.

  1. Own It.Your first year out of school, you will make a lot of mistakes. Own them, learn from them, and move on. And do your best not to make the same mistake twice. Owning mistakes makes you a better coworker, and just plain better. You will earn the respect and trust of colleagues if you can accept a mistake and demonstrate that you are smarter because of it.

So, good luck to anyone starting their first post-grad year! Take in every fun, crazy, challenging, exciting minute of it!