Hands up if you have been told university will be ‘the best time in your life’.
Now hands up again if you can admit to feeling scared now that your time in school is almost over.
Graduation 101: Are you emotionally prepared to graduate?
It is hard not to feel scared. You had to answer ‘So what will you do after you graduate?’ questions from well-meaning relatives. You had to say goodbye to some of your helpful seniors who graduated before you (you are now the senior!). You count the days until you had to give up your student discounts.
However, you are pulling yourself together. Time doesn’t stop for no (wo)man, you tell yourself, and you plan to be as prepared as possible when you finally say goodbye to your alma mater. Here are 6 things you should prepare in advance before you graduate and enter the real world.
Graduation 101: Network with all your classmates and professors
Planning to use your education to further your career? That is exactly what your fellow classmates plan to do with their education as well. If you haven’t, get to know them. Years down the line, you might want to work or get help from some of them. As for professors, some companies get their help to refer students as potential employee candidates for their establishments. It would be a shame to miss out on that opportunity.
Some people are naturally good at networking, some people are not. If you belong to the latter category, it would be best to at least personally introduce yourself to all of your classmates and professors. Ask if you can add them on Facebook or LinkedIn – it is not uncommon to want to keep in touch, even if you were never close.
Here are some networking tips for women you can use.
Graduation 101: Learn how to make friends on your own
It is easy to take friendship for granted in university. After all, all of you had a common enemy: exams. Plus, you see each other all the time – lecture hall, cafeteria, hallways – so you will always have something in common to talk about.
Finding friendship post-graduation is slightly trickier. You have to look for people with shared interests, and you have to plan social activities on your own (i.e. no more convenient hangout session between classes).
If you have always been a shy person, or rarely hang out with people outside your group during all your four years in school, pre-graduation is the perfect time to learn how to make new friends. Not only this will help you to do some minor networking, but it will also give you the opportunity to re-learn how to make friends, just in time to apply the skill after you graduate.
Overwhelmed? Try making friends through one (or more) of these networking communities for women, especially if you are a budding entrepreneur.
How To Get A Job Using Social Media When You Aren’t Looking For One
Graduation 101: Have a job
‘We want candidates with no job experience’ – said no employer ever.
Fresh graduates with working experience are highly appealing to employers – it indicates the candidate is good at time management, not afraid of working hard, and can transition smoothly into working life without much hand-holding.
Beyond traditional part-time job options (such as working at fast food joints), there are many other ways to hold jobs, such as managing an online store, or offering microservices (to startups providing on-demand delivery services, for example).
The extra money wouldn’t hurt, too!
Don’t know where to start? Here are some ways you can use.
Graduation 101: Have a professional-looking niche website/blog
Any (respectable) university should offer free internet access to its students. You can easily choose a topic and start a website or a blog about it.
There are many reasons why we suggest you work on a professional-looking niche website or blog. One reason is for you to apply (and improve) your skills in a website development project – a practical know-how appreciated by many companies. The skills can include writing, designing, social media management, SEO (search engine optimisation), copywriting, and many others.
Secondly, niche websites tend to do better than general websites, due to oversaturation of information available online. For example, if you are passionate about travelling, you might want to consider a website about quirky souvenirs to get instead of a run-of-the-mill ‘my travel experience’- a type of website. These niche websites can double as a source of income if you get a high enough traffic.
Treat your website like a business. Check out the 5 stages of online marketing to make your website popular.
Graduation 101: Know the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’
For a student, budgeting is already a way of life. However, do you admit that you once used up your whole allowance to get that cute party dress? You had to skimp on lunches for a whole month, remember?
If there is one budget-related thing you can work on before you graduate, this is it: know the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. It might be easy to say you ‘need’ that pair of shoes now, but if you keep on the habit, you might be the type to always be late on your rent money once you get out in the real world.
If you have to spend a lot of ‘wants’ in search for instant gratification, check out this post for a reality check.
Graduation 101: Have a heart-to-heart discussion with your parents
Your parents won’t tell you this (bless their hearts), but they will be secretly relieved when you finally graduate. They actually look forward to your working life, because then they can continue building up their retirement savings instead of contributing to your education cost.
Share your post-graduation plans with your parents. If you need extra financial support while you look for work, they deserve to know. If you are an entrepreneur at heart and will be starting your own business, let them know when you can expect to be profitable (you should have this information in your business plan anyway). If you plan to pursue further education, find out if your family can actually afford it (some digging will be required – your parents might support you blindly out of their love for you).
Find it hard to talk to your parents? Here is some advice on maintaining a healthy relationship with them as a young adult.
You have been in the ‘preparatory’ stage for a long time – now, the ‘official’ learning process will be over, but the catch is that learning never really stops. You should look forward to the real world – deciding your life’s trajectory without others telling you what to do is a hard, but fun process all around. By using the tips above to prepare for your life after you graduate, you will be better prepared to face new challenges head-on.
All the best!
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