Advice for Recent Graduates Based on My Own Experiences

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We are taught from the moment we can talk that we can accomplish anything with our lives if we set our minds to it. If we ever have any doubt whether or not it’s possible, we are given shinning examples of what hard-work and determination can yield. Eventually, we create our own standards of achievement. Soon we’re in college trying to make our dreams come true to become like our role models. However, many of us suffer from instant gratification. In order to feel successful, we must see the fruits of our labor immediately. Because that’s what happened in the case of our role models right? Well, not quite. After graduating, I was struck with the reality that success in the form that I  imagined it is VERY difficult to obtain, and is often never obtained. Does that mean give up? On the contrary, it means that we have to realize that in a social media driven world where success is measured by the amount of respect or admiration we obtain, or the number of likes we have on Facebook, we have to approach our goals differently and remember to fight the good fight. Here are some tips that I have learned to cope with post grad reality.

1. Check Your Ego

When applying for jobs, I had to do a serious ego check. I thought that since I had leadership roles and excelled in university I would have no trouble rising above the pack and obtaining a job. I had a padded resume and a similarly padded ego. I was in for a reality check when I was still jobless after several months, just like many others. Graduating university is a big deal, and I don’t mean to de-legitimize that, however remember that there are MANY other people applying for the same jobs as you are. Many others with great credentials and personalities. If you think you deserve something more than someone else then you are setting yourself up for a huge emotional disaster if things don’t work out. So humble yourself. That way when you get a job, you’ll be genuinely grateful for it.

2. You Are Not Alone

I often found myself thinking that me being unable to find a job was my own fault. I must not be bright enough or charismatic enough. My shortcomings were because I was sub-par, as a result I began to feel very isolated and alone. What was wrong with me? Did I not deserve a job? My friends had gotten jobs just fine. When in reality others struggled with me. I phoned a few friends and they told me how they were in exactly the same conundrum as I was! Soon, I felt so much better knowing that I wasn’t alone. You never are alone in this issue. Thousands of recent grads are suffering with you and would love to share sentiments with you over a glass of wine.

3. Accept Failure 

Say it with me “I am going to fail before I succeed.” The sooner you embrace it, the happier you’ll be. I took a job right out of university and I thought it was such a huge accomplishment. But it turned out that that job was a huge disaster. The working conditions were poor and the management was trying to push me out. I ended up having to walk away from that job. I thought I was such a failure for having gone through that. However, I realized that my role models had to fail ALOT before becoming successful. What the media doesn’t show us is all the screw ups that led to the successful icon we see today. The success is great, but the failures are critical. You’re going to face rejection and screw ups before you see the light. Just keep at it!

4. Do What Makes You Happy 

We are taught that we must go to college to get a good job so that we can make money and live respected and comfortable lives. The things we care about and our job are often considered separate entities. I hate this ideology. If you really want to apply for some job that you know you will love, but you also feel you can’t get, apply any way! Who knows right? Always push to do what makes you happy. If you like to draw, draw and put your art online. Join a meetup group with other artists, and take some classes. Cultivate what you love, because when you have true passion for something often a career will create itself. If you’re like me, you can cultivate these things in your free-time and watch the opportunities unfold. I hear too often that people let ‘making a living’ detract from what they truly love in life. Explore these opportunities and just go with it!

5. Keep an Open Mind 

Like my mother would say, “You’re young! You have no kids! Live your life and explore.” In otherwords, be open to new opportunities even if they aren’t ideal or what your envisioned. Life is too short to shut doors on new things because of fear of the unknown. Take a chance and if it doesn’t work out then now ya know!

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