This summer, colleges all around the world are proceeding with commencement ceremonies, pushing students out of educational nest into the real world.
I remember this moment of life vividly and I can’t imagine another disruptive way to represent this rite of passage. After this event, you know that everything will change, from the clothes you used to buy to your bedtime and it won’t be always pretty.
Here below a list of things that I wish I’d known when I graduated.
It’s time to Grow Up
I have sadly to admit that you have to forget your former student identity: stay up late and party and perform at the office is not the best combo. You can’t have the best of both world because being prepared and engaged at 9 AM, five days a week is not possible with a hangover!
So, you should start taking small steps toward more adult behaviors, like getting enough sleep and eating food other than pizza and McDonald’s.
What I want to say is that you don’t have to change totally your habits or the way you are, the lesson here is that you will need to prioritize a little more. Gradually you’ll be able to change and balance your private life with your professional duty.
Forget the “Gold Stars”
Forget about grades and regular feedback, nobody will told you how you are doing. You are now responsible for paving your own way and there is no clear path to success. You will not recognized for every achievement and you won’t be evaluated by a simple system like grades.
This will push you to grow dramatically and it also will help you to realize how important it is to have professional mentors. They won’t give you a grade every semester, but they will be able to provide advice, guidance, and feedback when things become especially challenging.
Just as a family, we don’t generally get to pick our co-workers. So, you will spend 40-50 hours per week with a lot of people that probably are not like your typical friends or roommates.
Probably you won’t connect with them soon, but when you can learn a lot from them and it won’t be so bad have a coffee together. So, accept the occasional offer to attend a happy hour or birthday lunch, and over time, in order to start to fit with them.
Indeed, with a little work and an open mind, you’ll be surprised at how easy can be to build meaningful relationships at work.
When the going gets tough, life still goes on
I don’t want to sound melodramatic or your mother but life gets a lot harder after college and you are forced to grow up. Looking back, if I had known how much my life would change and all the obstacles I’d face after college, I probably packed up and moved to a remote island to avoid it all.
But despite all the ways I could have prepared and planned for my future, I think that the youthful optimism I had as a new grad was really all I needed. Moreover, the financial independence, the new opportunities, all the new people you’ll meet, will help you to enjoy your life outside your comfort zone, and change and grow as a person.
So, the message that I want to share with you and to all the new graduated is that it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be awesome!