I know all you 20 something year olds think you are smarter than us old timers, but I have some news for you. I been where you have been and felt the anxiety you probably feel at this very moment, so my insight may actually help you. Regardless if you are employed or unemployed, being pushed out into the real world and transitioning out of college can be a challenge. At the end of the day, the best piece of advice I can offer you is: work your butt off in your 20’s, the rest of your life will thank you later.
So you are looking for a job…
The way I look at it, the job market has a lot more ups and downs than it did in my time. Although you have access to the internet and platforms like LinkedIn, there is also a ton of competition out there. On the other hand, one thing that hasn’t changed is that the best candidate always wins, so in order to beat everyone out you must go in with a strategy. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses so that when you are called out for them in an interview you know how to respond.
The best experience I can share with you guys is my first job interview after college. My boss very bluntly said, “My main concern with you is that you lack experience. How do you expect to perform to our high standard when you don’t really know what you are doing?” I simply replied, “I think what I lack in experience I make up for in my hunger to learn and excel, and I think my academic standing speaks for that.” Interviews are our society’s version of survival of the fittest, so go into each and every interview ready to prove yourself.
So you have a job…
Congratulations, few things feel better than graduating and having a diploma in one hand and a job offer in the other! It is a very exciting time in your life… but it can also be a lonely time. For many graduates, they quickly realize that their peers go from being young, carefree college students to older individuals who are frankly in different stages of life. Whether that means most of your coworkers are married or have kids, the chances of you being the odd ball out are likely.
Don’t let this get you down! Making friends in your 20’s can be hard, but it is not impossible. Get involved in organizations or clubs that interest you like local churches or volunteering programs. Me? I decided to learn a new skill (that interestingly enough led me to meeting my future wife) – salsa dancing. It was definitely weird at first, but it grew to be a fun way for me to exercise, make friends, and relieve my stress. So take a risk, they will pay off.
The most important part of transitioning from a college student to an adult is to not feel alone. Everyone experiences this, it is not just you. So ask your family, friends, or coworkers for advice because, chances are, they will have some nuggets of wisdom for you.