Congratulations to the class of 2018 and to all graduates! The time at a college or university is unexplainable. It is hard to map out someone’s journey but when the diploma comes there is a sense of relief and anxiety. The relief that school is now a past time. The anxiety of what will happen next. This is the first time where there is no timeline of when classes will start again, no set schedule, and friends will scatter all over. There are some things people don’t prepare you for; hopefully my experience will give some insight.
I knew that things would change when I graduated but I was not prepared for the anxiety and stress I felt the days counting down to graduation. Everyone is giving their congratulations but there is the fear of the unknown. The first time my day to day was not planned out. I had total control or lack of control. I had a job lined up right after graduation in another state. The company would pay for my move, finally afford a cute apartment, and have a plan. Unfortunately, things do not always go as planned. A series of unfortunate events happened and I was no longer moving. Numerous sleepless nights and uneasy days, I spent applying to jobs. I was drinking an iced coffee everyday at Starbucks for hours on career websites. It was emotionally draining.
Everything I did that was not related to job applications, I felt guilty. I just wanted to start my career and have a steady adult income. Independence is a key to the adult world. Independence is something I highly value. Companies contacted me and I had numerous phone interviews. There was not a steady wave of places reaching out but peaks and dips. Some days it was silent. Others it was like Tetris, trying to fit the puzzle pieces together as quickly as possible. People would say, “everything will work out”, “you’ll find something”, or “you will be okay”. Those words never put me at ease but I felt even more stressed. Now other people are expecting you to be okay.
After a few offers in Boston, San Antonio, and The Bay Area, I chose the job that offered me the most money but it was teaching, when I knew I did not want to teach. After some self-talk I convinced others and myself this was a good choice. I moved to the Bay Area with a weeks notice. My friends and family gave me such sweet goodbyes. People were excited for my journey. When I got there I stayed with my cousin who was a two-hour commute from my new job. My boss told me the day before training that they changed my position and that I basically had no choice. I already moved everything I owned. When I started my position I realized my boss was a tyrant. She was condescending and never took ownership of any mistakes. Questions would lead to more work. I was working 12-hour days during the week and come in on the weekends. I also for the first time started to lose weight instead of the other way around.
I thought about things I learned along the way and hopefully they can help a recent graduate.
- When you interview, make sure YOU like the person who is interviewing you. Chances are if they are not giving you good vibes, they won’t at the work place either
- Connect with everyone who is in the industry you want to be in and if there are any openings. It does not hurt to have a conversation with them
- Negotiate the offer, (Women: We are less likely to negotiate but do it because we’re worth it)
- Accept the offer, you can always decline it later
- Put yourself before the company, they’re protecting their assets at the end of the day, not yours
- Ask people you know for resume and cover letter advice, they will give you a new perspective (don’t be embarrassed, they’ll most likely be happy to help)
- New friends are hard to make and chose them wisely
- Don’t rely on others whether it is someone in your life or your job for your happiness
- Say no and you don’t always have to explain yourself
- Set career goals and make sure your position is in trajectory with that goal
Lastly, take all advice with a grain of salt. Every person’s journey is different. I am still on mine.