4 post-graduation lessons

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Exactly 54 days ago I graduated from the University of South Carolina. Honestly, in a way it feels like yesterday, but it also feels like ages ago. I've practically set LinkedIn as my browser's home page and I've sent out resumes out to some great companies. I have a part time job with the organization I've interned with for years, and I've gotten to travel.

I've also been, to be completely transparent, stressed out of my mind. My lease ends at the end of July, so I'm preparing to move back into my family's house, and my sister is moving back in at the beginning of August too. I knew that I was going to learn a lot after graduating, but I didn't quite know what.

Before graduating I imagined that I would get a job within a month of leaving college, move to a cool city, and begin the life I've been working for and preparing for for years. Now? I've learned some really helpful lessons.

Not getting a job immediately after graduating isn't the worst thing in the world. Before graduation my dad gave me some great insight. He said not to hurry into the first job available just because it's there. I'm so, so grateful he told me that, because since I didn't want to work in some industries that may have been easy for me to transfer into, I needed that comfort and support. When I send out job applications now I send them to companies I truly love are passionate about the same things I am. I have a little time and I'm lucky that my parents are giving me a safety net, because I won't have that in the future. I savor the mornings I don't have to wake up at 6:00 AM and I love the afternoons I can go for a walk with my dog.

Reach out to anyone and everyone you can. When I graduated I chatted with my coworkers, friends, and family members about my employment outlook, but I didn't take advantage of all the contacts I have. Family friends? Check. Former employers? Yes. Get the word out about what you want to do, what field you want to be in, and your skills to anyone who will listen. I can't tell you how many people have offered to help me in more ways than I could have asked for as soon as I mentioned my job search goals.

As hard as it can be, don't compare yourself to your peers. The majority of my friends had jobs when I graduated. I graduated from a great business school, so to be one of the few who was immediately unemployed was a little daunting. A lot of people I knew moved to Atlanta, some to Nashville, and a few to Los Angeles and New York. To say I felt a little down on myself would hit the nail on the head. I had done well in school and worked three jobs during my senior year! How could I have no job? I put on a brave face and told myself that I needed to take it easy and don't stress myself out because I would eventually find a perfect fit, but that didn't stop me from wallowing when I saw my peers succeed. Comparison is something I still struggle with, but I'm on the way to wherever I'm supposed to be.

Take a deep breath and don't stress. This one is a constant struggle for me. As a type A planner and worrier it's easy for me to get into a spiraling pit of stress when I feel like I don't have control in my situation. I hate not being able to work harder to see progress. Sometimes, though, I try to remind myself to take a step back and remember that stress won't solve anything, as hard as it may be to stop. Of course, when I have these moments, a cup of tea and an episode of Friends normally helps!

Any extra nuggets of wisdom? I'd love to hear any advice on post-graduation plans from any readers who know what I'm (we're?) going through! :)


  1. Everyone says the first year of post-grad life is the most stressful (which I believe after just one month. Oh man!). These are great tips! Definitely something I know I needed to be reminded of.

  2. Ah, I have one year to go but this gave me a better outlook! Thanks for sharing!

    - Adriana Renee

  3. Congratulations on graduating! That's a HUGE step. I'm a 2013 graduate so I feel like I was just in your shoes. Your advice is so astute - especially the part about not hurrying into your first job. I wish more people understood that!


    1. Also - this is my post on the things I wish I knew when I graduated. Hopefully something resonates with you!


  4. best of luck post graduation! :) you'll do great