Monday, April 13, 2015

things I wish I knew my last semester of college

It's absolutely crazy that I am about a month short of being two years out of college. While college was easily the best 4 years of my life I always say I wish I could go back and do a few things differently. There are a few things that I wish someone had told me, and really made me listen, during my last semester. They always say hindsight is 20/20 and that honestly could not be more true. So today I wanted to share a few things I wish I'd known my last semester of college.

1. Enjoy your free time - You have the rest of your life to take naps and binge watch Netflix, don't waste now. Use this time to really take advantage of where you are and who you're there with. Attend an event you've never been to whether it be a random sporting event, visiting professor lecture, or a concert, these are things you won't have the chance to experience again. Or maybe you just want to spend afternoons by the pool with your girlfriends, that's fine too. The point is whatever you do resist the temptation to stay in your bed and do nothing.

2. Make a bucket list - You know that really nice restaurant with the famous chef or that's written up about in travel magazines, go there. I went to school in a small college town and there are still restaurants that I regret never going to. I thought they were too expensive or fancy and never felt it was worth the price for a "just because" meal, but now I realize that 'because I'm about to graduate" was really all the reason I ever needed. Make a list of all these places and visit them!

3. Decorate your cap - I decorated mine and I'm so so thankful I did! Not only did it make it easy for my family to find me in the crowd, but it was a big hit with photographers. My cap made our state wide newspaper and my university's home webpage. Word to the wise though, don't wait until the night before when you're supposed to be packing to work on yours

And now some career advice

4. Take advantage of the career center - My one and only visit to the career center was at 4:45 the day before I received my diploma. Maybe I was dumb or too cocky or too proud, but for whatever reason I thought it was only for people who couldn't write a resume. I had no idea that they do so much more there. Now I'm sure every career center is different, but I'm willing to bet yours probably has some things that you should take advantage of. Mine not only helped with resumes and cover letters, but they also did extensive interview prep, including mock phone and skype interviews. And the best part is this service is totally free to students. I've even heard of some people who really connected with their career center counselor who then directly recomended them for jobs.

5. Think outside the box - I feel like most people think the options after graduation are either some sort of graduate/medical/law school or a job in their field, but really there are so many different choices. One thing I wish I would have looked into more seriously was post graduate travel. I knew I didn't have parents who could financially support me in taking a gap year traveling around Europe, but now I realize I probably could have supported myself. There are so many programs that allow you to teach or nanny in a foreign country. I know everyone has different experiences with this, but it's something I wish I would have considered. At the very least I wish I would have taken the summer right after graduation to go stay with family living somewhere else. This is probably the last time in your life you'll have this much time and this few obligations; while I certainly have more money to travel now I don't have the time off from work.

6. Don't be too proud - I'm sure you've worked really hard these past four years, but unfortunately all that knowledge and gained skills leaves us feeling entitled. I had what I thought was a really great resume and knew that I had what it takes to be a really kick butt employee, which lead me to being a little too prideful in looking for opportunities. I thought I was too good to take an internship or find a job in my hometown. This pride lead me to graduating without even having been offered an interview for a job. This quickly spiraled into me losing self confidence, which lead to me writing this blog so maybe not all bad, and absolutely hating every part of the job search. I ended up taking the first job I was offered which I rather quickly realized was a bad fit, but had to tough out so I didn't look like someone who couldn't hold a job. I have no doubt that had I been open to internships immediately, I would have landed one that summer which would have resulted in a better fitting full time job.

And while we're on the subject of graduation, anyone have a graduation gift suggestion for a boy? My brother graduates next month and then will be heading to Medical school in August and I need to figure out something to get him.

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  1. I definitely agree about the career center! As a post-grad looking back I realized I had all these professionals at my fingertips for free to help craft my resume, interview skills, and network with. FOR FREE. Now that stuff costs you. It just would've been a smart move.

  2. This is great advice, girlie. Seriously! I wouldn't have my job if I didn't go to a career fair, which I heard about through my career center :) My life would be totally different!

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