5 Ways College Graduates Can Transition to the Real World

You just spent the last 13, 17, or 21 years of your life in school. You’ve graduated; you’re finished. Now what?! As much as most people look forward to this change, this rite of passage, it can be a major stressor that leaves many graduates feeling lost, depressed, overwhelmed, or afraid.
Some may not have looked forward to the “real world” and continued in school, at least partially to avoid this phase of life. For some people, school was just what they were expected to do, whether it was an expectation they handed to themselves or was handed to them by others. It is easy to feel lost when you don’t have a game plan or know what the next step is.
Here are five ways a college graduate can transition to the real world:
1. Be Realistic. Sometimes graduates place too much expectation on themselves to immediately achieve. Although some have immediate luck, it can take months to find your first professional job. Have a plan, but make your goals realistic.
2. Dress the Part. If you want to be taken seriously, dress for the job you want. If you want to be a professional and not a college student, people will only see you that way if you do not dress like a college student.
3. Get Connected. Rather than being the networker that is always attending events and handing out business cards to everyone they meet, discover the network you already have.
4. Be Productive. If you haven’t landed your post-graduate job yet, don’t sit idly by waiting for an offer. Make use of this “free” time by joining professional organizations in your preferred industry, travel, learn a new language, work off that college weight gain, or consider an internship.
5. Make a Budget. Make a financial plan or budget and stick to it. Live within your means and avoid the temptation of credit cards.
By Brooke Randolph, LMHC for