Welcome back to the graduation edition of “Take It In.” Indeed, graduation season is upon us. To those of you who are finishing studies or have loved ones celebrating this milestone, congratulations. It really is a remarkable achievement. With this achievement, however, comes a lot to think about. You are probably asking “What’s next?” Allow me to offer some advice to new graduates, both at the high school and collegiate level. These are some things no one told me that I really wish someone would have.
- Don’t Rush Into Anything.
You’ve heard “everything happens in due season.” Really let this sink in. Rushing decisions and jumping into things can have some really bad consequences. Do not think you need to jump right in to college or grad school or take the first job you’re offered. Research your options. Weigh your prospects against what you want in a vocation. While you research, stay involved with your current job and volunteer for causes you are passionate about. Continue to cultivate and learn about yourself and the world as you take your next steps.
2. It’s Not All Sunshine and Roses.
Yeah, you probably already found this out. High school and college are hard work. It does not get any easier after. You have to grind and hustle to get the jobs you want. Stay proactive and never get complacent. Learning does not stop after school. Always be learning new skills relevant to your career path and to the job market in general. Sites like Monster and Glassdoor offer some great insight into job markets and give you the facts you need to know. In your journey, don’t lose heart and never give up. It will pay off.
3. Expect Things To Not Be As You Expected.
Things out in the world will shock and surprise you. The jobs you thought were available may not be there. The pay and benefits may not be what you expected. It may take longer than what you hoped to find a job in your field. You may not get a job in your field immediately. I studied biology and psychology yet here I am working in media. While I do not plan on this as a lifelong career, I enjoy my job a lot and it has taught me so much. Be open to new experiences and learning new things. Remember, it’s okay to get disappointed and frustrated when things are not going well. It’s not okay to shut down and lash out. It’s a process, just like getting through school was.
4. Credentials Get Jobs, Not Degrees.
Boy oh boy how I wish I knew this before I started out on my academic career. While degrees in certain fields help you to fare out better than others, employers want skills as demonstrated by credentials. Licensures, certifications and the like land you jobs. Pick up any you can. Some credentials like Google Analytics are free and are very valuable in the job market.
Do your research on what credentials employers in your field like to see and take financially responsible and sustainable steps to obtain them. I know some of them require advanced degrees, so proceed with caution. Look into available grants, scholarships and employers who help pay for continuing education. It will all help you a great deal in your post-grad job hunt. For my high school grads, look into the jobs related to your intended major and what they require. If you have not chosen a major, then just develop those universal job skills such as strong communication and interpersonal skills. If you are not going to college but rather a trade school or other path, still research what credentials you need and ways to fund it. Planning ahead pays dividends.
5. Keep In Touch With Loved Ones.
This is my last and perhaps most important piece of advice. We were not made to do life alone. We need loving , supportive people to be in for the ride with us. Life gets busy, but there is no greater priority than loving your loved ones. Stay connected to friends and family. Make time for them. We all make time for what is important to us whether it be down time or a trip. Nothing is more important than making time for God and the people he’s placed in your life. Love them, really love them. Be present in their lives just as you want them to be.
The road after graduation has many twists, turns and bumps. Hold steady and enjoy the journey. You successfully got through this part, you can and you will get through the next just as successfully. Here’s to the classes of 2019!
“Keep your head up in failure and your head down in success.” ~ Jerry Seinfeld