If you’re graduating or just graduated, you’ve most likely spent the last few years planning, studying, cramming, writing, crying, reporting and cramming some more, and now it’s finishing – you should be EXCITED! You’re moving onto this new, unexplored chapter in your life and you should be raring to go. This is a great attitude to have; it promotes confidence and implies a state of readiness. However, the chances are you’re not quite as ready as you think.
This isn’t meant in the sense of “you’re not ready and you’re going to fail”, but more in the sense of there are things that you may not have processed yet that can help you on your journey into the working world.
Unless you are Dan Bilzerian, there are always going to be ‘boring’ aspects of adult life that you need to deal with, and even then, the chances are that even he has had some dull moments leading up to his recent explosion of living life to the fullest. Unfortunately, there are some things that you just can’t avoid. But at the same time, there are things that you should be looking forward to doing.
First Things FirstMoney, the route of all evil as they say. If you have any kind of immediate debt (we’re not talking student loans here, that’s a whole other barrel of fish) make sure you’re getting the right deal. We’re talking credit cards here, or even overdrafts, which are more common for students than you may think. You need to assure that you’re getting the best deal because if you aren’t, then you’re going to have some problems down the line.
Do your research, find the best possible option - which at the time, isn’t always necessarily the cheapest. Look further down the line: hidden costs and rate inflation can cause havoc later on and you need to make sure you’re taking the appropriate steps in preventing such disasters. Use sites such as Moneyfacts: they do this research for you. They don’t actually sell any products, they just give you the stripped down, to the point facts. If you come across a financial product with such ‘endorsement’, for example; the chances are it is a very viable option..
After dealing with any immediate issues, longer term priorities need to come into place. Make a budget. Know what is coming in and what is going out and save accordingly. Saving is important but is often overlooked by young people on the cusp of graduating. So, find a high interest savings accounts and give in to adulthood and responsibility. These savings should go towards retirement funds - that’s right, saving for retirement starts now! Also, establish an emergency fund. You never know what is going to happen and you don’t want to be using your credit card or taking out a loan for these kind of things.
If you aren’t sorted financially then there is a good chance of you taking any job in order to pay the bills. That isn’t what you want, and you should definitely make sure it doesn’t happen.
Give Your Future a Health CheckIf you are reading this, then it can be assumed that you have graduated or are close to it and in turn have at least a pretty good idea of what path you would like to take career wise. If you don’t, then you seriously need to start thinking about it, but for the moment we’ll assume that you do.
Advancements in industry and technology, especially the internet, have opened so many new doors when it comes to career possibilities. Jobs that didn’t exist just a short time ago such as web designers and developers are now sought after by the masses. A plethora of careers are available in markets such as social media when just 10 years ago, social media wasn’t even a thing. A study from The Princeton Review shows that ‘Computer and Information Science’ type majors are now within the top ten most popular chosen degrees, and understandably so.
While the people who have studied and gained skillsets in these particular markets will most likely find themselves with an ocean of possibilities, others may not. Traditional marketers may find that the only jobs available when they graduate are in digital marketing, which may sound the same, but really isn’t. Financiers might find that their degree is now redundant due a new ‘automated statistical algorithmic model’ that has been designed to approve or reject finance applications.
This is the way advancement works; needs are created and someone will find a way of meeting them - make sure that you are still going to be relevant in you choice of career 10 years from now, or at least know how you will adapt to changes that are inevitably around the corner. If you aren’t sure of either of these, then perhaps you should be looking at taking a different career path.
Enjoy Being a Student While You Still CanA student finishing their last day of college then starting their job the next day is almost unheard of. If you are in this unlikely situation, then this next section is not for you - at least not directly.
As previously stated, finishing college and graduating is definitely an exciting time and it should be enjoyed. While you need to be undertaking the aforementioned advice, there is still plenty that you can do to make this transition an enjoyable one.
Celebrate your graduation - throw a party, or go to someone else’s. Not only are these enjoyable (and deserved) they can act as a platform to begin the networking that you’re inevitably going to have to do throughout your career. You might meet someone who is planning on going into the same business as yourself - swap numbers, add them on Facebook, you never know what they are going to achieve and how they could possibly help you in the future.
Others may have advice regarding another point made in this article, they might know something that you don’t about a certain industry or position. Better yet, if you’re still looking for a job then you might someone who can help you find one. Making friends and networking is a big part of becoming successful, it is best to start early and enjoy yourself in the process.
As mentioned, student status doesn’t end on the exact date you finish college, so how else can you use this to your advantage? The answer would be student discounts. You’re probably not going to have a great deal of money - because the majority of it will be in your savings account, right? So, student discounts can be your best friend at this point. You can get discounts on a new suit or formal dress for example - you need to look your best for upcoming interviews etc.
Computer software is another example, it costs less to purchase the student version of Microsoft Office than it would be to subscribe to the full (and essentially identical) version. These are just a couple of examples, use the internet to find exactly what you can get a student discount on and how you can use them to further yourself and save some money at the same time.
Summing UpA lot of the things mentioned in this article can be construed as common sense, and this would be correct. It’s essential that you don’t let the excitement of completion and moving on mist your priorities when graduating and moving forward into a career.
While the advice given is obviously pertinent right now, as you are graduating, it is also going to be relevant in the future. Finances are always going to be a priority; your job and status is always going to be a major aspect of your life; but at the same time, enjoying yourself and making sure you are actually living life is always going to be as equally as important.
Have you forgot to do something from this article? How are you going to change it? Or have you managed to check all the necessary boxes when it comes to graduating?
My name is Chris and I like to give out advice to students ranging from their finances to their careers. I also write about sports if that kind of thing interests you. You can find me on my blog Spend It Like Beckham or follow me on Twitter @officialsilb.