How to Prepare Yourself For the Real World
As exciting as college and university can be, you cannot stay there forever. Once your graduation is over, you need to think about entering the real world. But, starting your professional life is not always so straightforward, which is why many graduates experience a state of flux where they aren’t sure what they want to do.
And this is becoming more and more common. University graduates are educated but seem unable to get a job, especially in their chosen field. They might be told to suck it up and get any job, at least for now, but that isn’t the point. Grads can still feel woefully underprepared for the real world, so how about these tips to help you leave your graduation ceremony knowing what’s coming next?
Savings are an integral part of preparing yourself for the real world, and it’s best to start saving anything as soon as you get a job. You don’t need to save a ton of money, especially since you’ll need cash for other activities and essentials, but a percentage of your post-university wage should go towards an account you do not touch.
While it might not seem like much now, doing the same thing for many paychecks can build up a dependable fund for essentials and emergencies. This means you should always be able to afford something and have enough funds to fall back on in a pinch.
Build Your Credit
Many students struggle with a poor credit rating, but this isn’t because they are necessarily bad with money (although some are). Instead, it’s because they may not have much evidence of how good they are at borrowing and paying back the money.
While it may not seem like a big deal straight after university, a poor credit rating can make it challenging to enjoy things people consider essential in life. From your phone contract to car purchases or financing and putting down an offer on a property, an excellent credit rating will improve your chances. Start making small purchases on your credit card and pay them off on time to gradually build your credit rating.
Pick Up Useful Skills
The post-university job market can feel like the wild west. Many overeducated individuals are battling for a small number of jobs, so you need to make yourself stand out. This is why picking up skills can give you an edge over others. Even if you aren’t getting into customer-facing roles, researching CPR classes near me can help you boost your resume to make you more employable.
But, you can also think about general skills. Hopefully, you’ve gained a modicum of self-sufficiency during your time at university, so knowing how to cook, clean, and take care of yourself should be easy.
Stay In Touch With Coursemates
Everyone makes great friends at university, with many of them found in your course. Since they have gone through the same experiences, they may also have connections that could help you kickstart your career.
Even if you don’t get into the same industry as them, they can still be a crucial crutch that will help you adjust to post-college life. The real world is wildly different from the relaxed life of your college days, and a little support from people experiencing the same thing can help ground you and give you someone to turn to if you encounter any struggles.
Find the Best Place to Live
Many peop[le will move back in with their parents after university. This is a great way to save money and take a few months to consider what you want to do next if you don’t have anything set in stone. It can also help you reconnect with your family after living away for the last few years.
However, this approach could also hinder your next steps and delay your professional progress. If you know what you want to do, it’s worth thinking about where you want to live and how this gives you the best chance of thriving in your industry. The cities with the best connections could be more appealing, but only if you can afford to live there or have a job set up.
Clean Up Your Accounts
Social media changes rapidly. Back in the early 2010s, people posted whatever they wanted online, and no one cared because everyone did it. They didn’t consider how future employers might judge it. Since then, internet users have become savvier. They are more careful about what they post, but things still fall through the cracks.
If you want to ensure no skeletons are lurking in your online closet, cleaning up your accounts by removing embarrassing photos and posts will save you a lot of grief. You may even want to create new accounts for a complete refresh too.
Fix Your Finances
If you’re anything like thousands of other millennials, you may feel like your finances are in a mess. This isn’t totally your fault because no one taught you how to budget or how interest rates and investments work. But don't worry, because there is still time to fix it.
At the very least, you should establish a budget once you know how much money you will make straight out of university. This can save you from overspending and help you live a modest life. As time goes on and you continue to save, you’ll feel more comfortable in your financial future.
Get Some Proper Work Experience
It can be tricky to get a job without any experience, so it’s always worth searching for proper work experience as soon as possible. If you interned during university, you could even take on a paid role, even if it’s just a few times a week.
You also need money. So, you may as well apply to any job to ensure you have some money coming in. At the very least, this will help you earn real money, and you don’t need to worry about moving back in with your parents. You can also get an idea of workplace dynamics so you can feel more prepared. If you have skills that people will pay for, freelancing is also an option.
The real world is scary and can be tricky to navigate if you go out alone. Even if you have plenty of self-confidence, you don’t have the experience to learn how to manage roadblocks that university may not have prepared you to overcome.
Seeking mentorship can change all of this. College professors and lecturers may be able to guide you through the first months and years of your post-college life. You can also find managers happy to take you under their wing and help you discover who you are while offering crucial advice to ensure you reach (and even exceed) your potential.
Take Advantage Of Student Discounts
Even though you’re no longer a student, you can use the financial costs of the real world by taking advantage of whatever discounts you can until your student card expires. This is a great way to get cheap clothes, food and drink, especially if you’re living alone or trying to balance your budget as quickly as possible. You won’t be able to enjoy these benefits forever, so you may as well make the most of them while you still can.
Have a Little Fun
It seems almost cliche to encourage graduates to have fun after university, and some may even consider it redundant since they were having plenty of fun during their college years. But, post-college fun is much different. Since there is a small window before you need to get your act together, you should find something to do and just have fun.
Many grads choose to go traveling and see the world, especially if they don’t know what to do after they get their diploma. You’d much rather get out of town, especially if you need to move back home, so why not travel and see what the rest of the world has to offer?
Don’t Rush Things
It’s tempting to feel like you are moving at a much slower pace than the rest of your friends or peers from university. You might see them in excellent jobs or even already putting down payments on a house. This can make you feel like you’re not achieving as much.
But everyone moves at their own pace, and if you have other things you want to do, you should always prioritize yourself. Don’t force yourself to do the same thing as everyone else because that might not be what’s right for you. Even if it takes some time, you’ll get to where you need to be eventually.
The Real World
Entering the real world after the early halcyon days of college can be scary, but it’s also like diving into an ice-cold pool. The sooner you get it over with, the sooner you realize that there wasn’t much to worry about. As long as you know what you want to do and take the right steps to get things in order, you’ll feel prepared for the real world.