With finals winding down and graduation ceremonies starting up, there is about to be a crowd of fresh faces hitting the workforce and applying for jobs. Congratulations to those of you that have recently finished your college career and are on to land that first big job or internship. While it is perfectly normal to want to spend some time gathering your thoughts and planning for the next chapter of your life (the ‘exhale period’), it is important that you make a point to remain mentally active to ensure that you don’t form any habits that can put you behind the curve.
1) Create and maintain a summer routine: Whether this includes working out, reading a book, or making a point to send out a few resumes each day, you should develop some constants in your life that will keep you in the groove and force you to remain accountable for yourself. It is much easier to transition from your college routine into something you have fabricated for yourself if you start this right away. Don’t wait until the end of summer to start working on you- it will take much more effort to come back from a 3 month break.
2) Be humble and ask for help building your resume: If you are part of the smaller group that already has something lined up in your chosen field, then congrats to you and feel free to skip to the next bullet. However, if you are left scratching your head after the ‘exhale period,’ then the first step you need to take is developing or polishing off whatever semblance of a resume that you may have lurking around on your hard drive. Remember to ask around for advice as far as wording, style, and format. Identify a friend or acquaintance that is further along in their career and ask for them to take a look at what you have!
3) Seriously, start saving your money: While this may be easier said than done for some of you, try and save whenever you can and don’t be embarrassed to be thrifty. A very common way that young people end up in financial trouble is feeling external pressure to leave their parents’ home before they can really afford it. Sure, you may be making enough money from your part-time gig to cover rent and bills for a new place with your friends—but are you saving anything? If the answer is no, then you should seriously reconsider moving out.
4) Keep your head up: Life after college can take some getting used to, particularly the whole “no more syllabus” part. There isn’t a predefined checklist of things that you have to accomplish by a certain date. You are no longer receiving grades that reflect areas where you are succeeding (and inversely, failing). This simple fact can be both liberating and absolutely anxiety-inducing. Even once you are gainfully employed, your superiors are far more likely to let you know if you are doing something wrong then they are to pat you on the back for completing tasks that you are supposed to be doing. Realize this, and stick to the routine that you are continually maintaining and updating too keep yourself grounded as you move into the next exciting phase in your life.