For most of my friends, it’s second semester of senior year. Holy sh*t. IT’S ALL HAPPENING. And for those who aren’t second semester seniors, your day will arrive before you even have time to hand down your fake ID so hang in there.
Because I’m actually 35 on the inside, I set a goal for myself to graduate college early. So a little over a month ago, I walked across that stage, smiling and low-key fighting back tears, shook hands with the Klein College president, and snatched that Temple University envelope that held my fake degree (still waiting for mine to arrive in the mail… tick, tock, Temple).
But alas, I like to think I’ve acquired some wisdom from my unusual college experience, and especially from that final semester, so here we go:
First and most importantly, your timing is not your professor’s, roommate’s, friends’, classmate’s, or parents’. And sometimes, your timing isn’t even God’s timing. Going into my senior semester, I had this preconceived notion that because career-oriented things had always come relatively easily to me, I would have a job offer by the end of November. LOL. No. August, September, October, and November came and went. I’d spent hours looking for and applying to dozens of jobs I genuinely wanted. I had one interview the day before graduation. Graduation came and went – not quite that quickly, but you get it. Point being here, it’s good to set goals for yourself, but don’t freak out too much if things out of your control don’t come together like you expected. There is a greater plan in the works.
Second, find people who believe in you and cling to them like your life depends on it – while your life will probably be okay, your sanity sometimes does depend on these people. They bring you back to Earth and keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Surround yourself with friends, professors, and mentors who are willing to go to bat for you. And when you can, give to others in the same way your friends and mentors gave to you.
Save yourself a hangover and skip the weeknight bar for a networking event or panel discussion one evening. Networking doesn’t have to be about forcing an impression on someone or even vying for a job – Just form relationships with people! Talk to the people who do what you want to do, the people who inspire you; and create a connection with them. It doesn’t have to be this weird, forced, awkward professional interaction. Be yourself!!!!
Okay now things are about to get real. STOP wasting money on liters of Svedka and mini skirts from Forever 21, and start investing in yourself and your future. You’ll thank yourself later. Trust me, shitty vodka and mini skirts are not gonna get you any job you actually want.
Don’t try to plan things that can’t be planned. I’m so guilty here… I’ve planned budgets for salaries I didn’t yet have; Created Pinterest boards and shopped IKEA and Overstock.com for an apartment I also didn’t yet have. It’s a problem okay, I get it. Life will happen, whether we plan and prepare or not. Let things come in their own time.
Please remember that your first job is not your forever job. Choose wisely and do something you enjoy, but don’t freak out if it’s not exactly what you expected. Your first job is exactly that: your first. job. Take a year or two and learn as much as you, save as much as you can, and then move on! Life goes on.
Now savor the moment! You only graduate undergrad once. Soak it in, walk around campus smiling like an idiot because you know I did! Take as many pictures as you damn well please because you know I also did that. Ain’t no shame in the game, folks. This is a BIG deal, whether you did it in three, four, or six years! Don’t let anyone or anything degrade this accomplishment.
AND CONGRATS! Let’s go change the world!!!