Ask Loretta: How do I prepare for life after graduation?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities,  and to the most special places your heart has ever known. " ~Author Unknown

During my under graduate ceremony I sat in my seat praying that I wouldn't fall (I tripped...hard) and wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I had imagined that day since I was a kid and now it was here! I felt an overwhelming sense of hope but I was also nervous about that comes next. The president of my college gave a speech titled "you'll be fine" and just like that my fear was lifted and I knew that he was right, I would be fine.

If you are feeling a little uneasy on what to do now that graduation is approaching here are a few tips on how to make the transition from college life a little easier!

1. Network (I like to call it net werking).
In the months leading up to graduation, the primary concern is landing your dream job. If it doesn't happen right away don't be discouraged or settle for a path you are not happy with. The first place to start when looking for a job is with professional contacts you've made through out the years, whether that means emailing people you have interned with, former professors, or previous employers it won't hurt to contact them and set aside time to meet for coffee or dinner and discuss job opportunities. It's beneficial to make bonds with people and let them know what type of job you are in search for. If your contacts don't have job openings right away leave an updated copy of your resume with them and politely ask them to contact you if anything becomes available.
2. Brush up on your interview skills.
Master your 30 second pitch and practice your answers to basic interview questions. If you are extra nervous, video tape your self in a mock interview and ask your guidance counselor to give you constrictive criticism (you'll never guess how many time you say "um" in one minute) 

3. Update your resume / portfolio.
Now is the time to make sure all of your contact information, graduation dates, and skill sets are current. If you aren't sure where you are going to live in the next few months rent out a P.O. Box or use a relatives address who has lived in the same location for a long period of time. Looking back over all of your accomplishments will help you see how far you've come and give potential employers a realistic view into who you are!

4. Say thank you.
Send hand written thank you cards to family, friends, former professors and previous employers for their support and helping you on your journey. Being in college is stressful and we can't make it without support from others so be sure to acknowledge those that helped you and pushed you to reaching your goals! (I thanked my mom for continually waking me up right before I spilled soda on myself during midnight cram sessions!)

5. Congratulate yourself: The hours of studying and stressing over school has finally paid off! During my under graduate ceremony, I sat next to a girl who slept during the entire thing! I just kept thinking to myself what a big day we are having and she is spending it sleep. Take a moment to let everything sink in and to be happy for yourself!

Remember, it's perfectly normal to be nervous about the next chapter in your life. Now is the time to be confident, hopeful, and excited for your future!
Relax and remember that you'll be fine! Congrats!


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