The Real World


Graduating college is one of the most exciting yet scary times of your life. It is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated but it also means that you will be thrust into the real world where you will be expected to cover your day to day expenses. Which includes paying back those monster student loans that you took out when you were just eighteen and had no idea what a high interest rate was. As a recent college grad myself I can fully relate to grads who felt more stressed out the day following graduation then they did during finals week. I was lucky enough to have a summer internship in my field lined up after graduation but there was a catch, it was unpaid. I was also lucky in the sense that i had been at a job for over a year so I was able to make my work schedule around my internship which left me with just enough money to cover my bills and go out once or twice a week.

But sadly many students are not as lucky as me and colleges are not making it any easier. My school offered a "career center" but it was never brought up by any of my professors in my three years there, I don't even remember learning about it when I went for a tour of the school. For my freshman orientation they made sure to wow us with all of the selections in the dining hall and fun events but they never once mentioned the career center. Even the on-campus recruiting is becoming pointless because in my experience if you are not in the top 10% of your class then they are frankly not interested in you. They will simply hand you a pamphlet, tell you to email them your resume (which you will) and then you will never hear from them again.

If you have recently graduated from college and have no job relax, you are not alone, 83% of college students don't have a job lined up after college and 32% of college grads say that they have never had a job. The first thing that you need to do is write a resume that highlights all of your strengths, don't add a reference from a previous job if you got fired for goofing off to much and don't put your mom down as your main reference. Both will make you look bad so instead put down a favorite professor of yours that you had a good connection with or maybe a coach that has helped shape you along the way. Next start sending your resume to any jobs that are even close to your field. Even if they are not exactly what you want everyone needs to start out somewhere and you never know what opportunities they may lead to.The job market is the best that it has been in ten years so the jobs are there you just need to know where to look, sites like indeed are the best because with one click you can apply to jobs in seconds.

A monthly budget is also extremely important in making sure that you don't drown yourself in debt your first few months as an "adult". Make sure you set aside enough money for your bills as well as food, gas, etc. Even though you may feel physically sick at the idea moving back in with your parents after graduation may be your best option financially. Apartments these days are expensive and you don't want to default on your student loans or car insurance because you are too proud to move back into your childhood bedroom. Instead embrace the home cooked meals that you once yearned for and the pink walls of your bedroom that you once begged your parents for. Whether you decide to go the apartment route or move back home do not make any major financial decisions until you have found a job and have been a the job for at least six months. Don't go out and purchase a new car or max out a credit card until you know what your annual salary will be. There is nothing fun about your new car getting towed away because of failure to pay or your credit card getting declined in front of all of your friends.  

Although finding a job after college may seem like an impossible task, its not. Take a deep breath, write a kick-ass resume and send it to as many people as possible. Don't get discouraged when you fail to hear back from employers that you thought you closed the deal with. Something will come up it just takes time.

By Kristen Catalano

Reflection Magazine