I can not believe it has been a whole year since I graduated from college! If I’m being honest, it seems much longer. The past year has been an incredible time of growth and change for me, personally and professionally. I don’t think anyone or anything can prepare you for your first year out – But here are five things I’ve learned so far in the “real world.”
1.) Your first job probably won’t be your dream job
Yep. Even if you had all the right internships, at all the right places, that doesn’t mean you’re going to land your dream job at your dream company. Everyone has to pay their dues and get full-time experience under their belt in order to move up and move on. My advice is to work at that first job like it is your dream job and eventually you’ll get there. Experience is everything!
2.) Friendships will fade, and that’s OK
You may walk out of college with hundreds of friends (sorority girls I’m looking at you). But the truth is, over the course of your first year out you will find out which friendships were built to last and which ones were meant to stay in school. I’m not saying friendships will end, but they will fade, and that’s okay! Everyone is busy trying to build lives, moving away, making new friends, starting lives with significant others and trying to balance it all.
3.) This is the BEST time to be independent
You can literally go anywhere and do anything you want. Take a year off to travel, take the job across the country, start a business, start a career, focus on YOU. After all, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself and this is the ideal time to nurture it and be a little selfish.
4.) Learning never ends, and networking is crucial
Now at almost a year at my first “real,” job, I’ve learned there’s still so much about my industry I didn’t know, and couldn’t have learned in a classroom. I’ve discovered new things I want and need to learn to progress and have been inspired to try new things outside my comfort zone. And I know our professors drilled it into our minds that networking is critical, but it really REALLY is. It can get you your next job, client…Ok I’ll stop while I’m ahead.
5.) No one’s path is the same, go at your own pace
It’s hard not to compare ourselves to others, but it really is important to take everything at your own pace. If you see others progressing more quickly than you, personally or professionally, don’t feel rushed, let it fuel your fire. Everyone’s path is different! It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, it matters what YOU are doing.
Your turn! What did you learn your first year after graduating from college?