10 things college graduates need to remember after they get their degree
college is a time where you find out so much about yourself. you make friends, you lose friends, and then you make new friends again. you’re tested on every side as you tackle grades, extra-curricular activities, family back home, relationships and a lit social life. but what happens when you cross the stage and are thrown into life after graduation? God knows you’ve already spent the last however many years getting acclimated to college, which is a different world within itself. and now, it’s time for you to enter a different kinda world yet again…the real world. with any luck, whether you're a recent grad or a seasoned grad, this list of reminders will make the process a little less daunting.
10). don’t compromise.
i’m sure you already know a lot of people that have jobs in a field that is completely different from what they went to school for. for some people, they may have been pressured by their parents or grandparents to go to school for something they weren’t remotely interested in. for others, they may have found out that their chosen field actually wasn’t as good of a fit for them as they originally thought it would be. for those of you that fall into either of these aforementioned categories, it’s understandable why you would want to reroute toward another direction. however, don’t let one of the following reasons be the cause of you working in a field that has nothing to do with what you went to school for:
my field is too competitive. ok, so what? guess that means you better put your game face on, huh? in everything you do, you should operate in excellence. and if you’re always working toward being the very best version of yourself, you shouldn’t have an issue.
my field doesn’t make a lot of money. first of all, you shouldn’t make a life decision off of money alone because despite popular opinion,money doesn’t always lead to happiness. you could end up with a good paying job that you hate because it stresses you out and cuts down the amount of time you’re able to spend with your family. if you picked your major because it was something you were passionate about, you need to stick with that. you’ll never work a day in your life if your job is legitimately tied to your passion.
9). don’t allow other people to belittle your degree.
you worked hard for that degree. and whether it is an associate, bachelor, or doctoral degree, it took a lot of time, energy, money and sacrifice on your end; and you need to be proud of that. people get so caught up in titles and educational backgrounds that they sometimes allow those things to consume them and define who they are. i’ll let you in on a secret though. your educational background doesn’t define who you are. you’re already a pretty dope individual (think about all your best traits). getting an education only enhanced who you already were, it didn’t make you who you are. so, whatever school you chose to earn the degree you obtained in the field of study you were passionate about – you need to own that. love it. respect it. and make sure that others do the same at all times.
8). don’t get dismayed when these corporations try to play you on the experience tip.
ya’ll know that one line of the song that says, “it’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how i keep from going under”? that’s kinda how life after graduation is. you’ve spent years earning your degree, you’ve established a considerable amount of debt, you’ve graduated and now are ready to take the world by storm. and what does the world say to you? “you don’t have enough experience”, “thank you for your interest, but we’ve decided to go with another candidate at this time”, and all this other nonsense. but you can’t be dismayed. finding an ideal job in your chosen field isn’t always the easiest thing to do – but you have got to stick with it. you’ve come too far to only come this far. you didn’t buckle when you had 12 hours to do that 10-page paper and you won’t buckle now. you didn’t run away when early warning grades came out less than favorable, and you won’t be running away now. and if nothing else, remember this: it’s not as much about acquiring more experience as it is about creatively leveraging the experience you already have, which brings me to my next point….
7). you are qualified.
when looking for a job, it’s so easy to be reminded of all of the experience you feel like you lack. but what about all the experience you do have? who cares that the job description says you need 3-5 years of experience and you only have two? apply anyway. Who cares that the job requires a master’s degree and you have a bachelor’s. apply anyway. there’s no perfect algorithm to determining who the perfect candidate is for any job. job descriptions are just a company’s generic way of setting parameters for who they think they want – and sometimes, the best candidates come from the unlikeliest of places. you never know… you could be the employee they didn’t even know they needed. why? because you’re lit.
6). understand that things don’t always go as planned.
i was once the person who planned everything down to the second. i wanted to be done with school by this time, be in my career by that time, get married and have kids by this time, and retire by that time. needless to say, i quickly learned that life isn’t one of those things that can be planned like that. it’s fine to have goals and dreams, but just make sure your life’s plan is fluid and not concrete. the moment you begin to look at your plans as absolute, you leave little to no room for the unexpected. and what’s more is, you’re gonna end up being hella stressed over things that really aren’t even that deep. you gotta trust the natural order of things and know that God’s plan for your life is greater than the plan you’ve set for yourself. and if this is something that’s hard for you to grasp, don’t trip. life has a way of teaching us the hard way when necessary.
5). don’t jump on the grad school bandwagon.
with all of the social media posts about grad school on your timeline, it’s not surprising that you may end up thinking to yourself, “maybe I should go to grad school.” but just as quickly as the thought crosses your mind, you also need to realize that grad school isn’t something to do “just because.” if it’s not required for your field of study, don’t go. if it won’t legitimately make you more competitive in pursuit of the job you want, don’t go. it’s too many people out here going to grad school just because they think it’s the next thing to do. they’ve gotten so caught up in jargon like, “the bachelor’s is the new high school diploma” that they’re just going to protect their own ego – and in reality, they didn’t even need to go. it makes no sense going to get a master’s and beyond for a job that you could’ve done successfully with your bachelor’s. save money. save time.
4). everything doesn’t have to go on social media.
stop putting your life on social media, folks. nobody cares what you ate or whose hand that was on the table. realize that you don’t have to post on social media just for the sake of posting. exercise both discernment and discretion on what you choose to display to the public. and for God’s sake make sure words are spelled correctly before you post it, please. know the difference between there, they’re and their and stop blaming your grammatical errors on your phone’s autocorrect. real talk.
3). you’re not above people who do not have a degree.
college isn’t for everyone. and for those that do decide to go to college, they don’t always finish in four years—and that’s ok. but what’s not ok is you thinking you’re better than the next person because you went to college (got a degree) and they didn’t. you need to treat everyone with the same level of respect, regardless of who they are and what they have. treating people specific types of ways based on your perceived appraisal of their life is not only rude, it’s low key narcissistic. get over yourself.
2). don’t try to play sallie mae.
listen, we’ve all heard horror stories about sallie mae, navient or whatever it is she goes by these days. and although you may feel like it’s not important to set up repayment plans for your loans – it definitely is. and honestly, it’s really not that bad. there’s a lot of different options out there intended to help you -- don’t be out here ignoring sallie’s call and then get mad when you can’t get an apartment, car or a house because your credit score is shot. you made the decision to take the money for school, she just wants you to pay it back – just as you would expect someone to do that you leant money to. and don’t try to hit me with the “education should be free” because that’s a different argument for a different day. ain’t nothing free these days but salvation. and at the end of the day, sallie gon’ get her money one way or the other so don’t tweak.
1). the learning never stops.
if you think that you’re done learning after you graduate, you’re mistaken. the term, “graduate” is defined as “a person who has successfully completed a course of study or a training.” and now that you’ve graduated from your institution, you are now released into the real world, where we are constantly trained and we graduate every single day. every time you lay your head down with more knowledge than you did when you rose that morning – congratulations, you’ve graduated. each day you take tragedy and turn it into triumph – congratulations, you’ve graduated. for all the people you still show respect toward even though they insist on harlem shaking on your last good nerve – congratulations, you’ve graduated. life has a way of teaching us things we didn’t know we needed to learn while using people we least expected. you just gotta be open to listening, understanding and accepting a perspective other than your own all the time.