10 Tips for New Graduates

10 tips for new graduatesFor a lot of college seniors, May is a great month. They have the opportunity to walk across that stage and get their degree. The years of hard work have finally paid off. You are now a college graduate! Be proud of yourselves. This is a very important time in your life. I want to share 10 tips for new graduates. I wish I had a list back in 2008 when I graduated.

Things get real.

This might sound cliché, but it is the truth. Things really do get real now. You’re a college graduate, and you’re officially an adult. There are a lot of decisions that you have to make now such as your living arrangements.  If you went to school in another city do you stay there or go home? If you stay there, do you have an apartment yet? Will you have a roommate? Will the bills be in your name? Do you have the money if you need to put down a deposit? Those are just a few of the questions that new grads should ask themselves.

Student Loans.

If you took out student loans, they will need to be repaid. Around November you should get your first statement from your lender. Do not look at that bill and throw it away. I know everyone isn’t able to make that first payment, but at least try to work with them. Most loan companies will allow you to get a deferment or forbearance if you are having financial difficulties. There is nothing wrong with having to do that. I’ve done it before. Just make sure you start applying something to the student loan, though.

You have the college degree but….

You have the college degree, but now you don’t have a full-time job. You will eventually get it if you keep applying. In the meantime don’t be too arrogant or uppity to work a $9 – $10 an hour job. Any money coming in to help you pay those bills off is good. Remember that the $9-$10 job is only temporary. Better days will be coming soon.

Don’t become a career student.

Don’t just keep going to school if you don’t know what you want to do. Getting multiple degrees and having a plan is one thing, but staying in school because you’re trying to keep your loans deferred or because you’re lost in life is another thing. Being a career student makes you have more debt. Eventually, you will have to graduate and do something with your life.

Make an impact at your new job.

If you have a job after graduation, make an impact early. Come to work on time every day. Make sure you do a good job on your work assignments. Be helpful. Those are the type of things that will get you noticed. It could lead to more income and more opportunities within the company.

Network with alumni as much as possible.

Your alumni network can be crucial to your future. I wish I would have looked into mines. Many alumni have companies or are CEO’s. By contacting them, they could help you get your foot in the door.

Move back with your parents.

There is nothing wrong with moving back in with your parents for a little while after graduation. Times can be tough. If they allow it, you could stay with them until you get on your feet.  Staying with your parents will allow you to save money and get adjusted to life after college.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a plan.

If you don’t have a plan, don’t worry. A lot of people would like for you to think that they always had a plan in life after college. Don’t get me wrong some did, but a lot didn’t. Don’t feel sad or stressed out. Hell, I didn’t have a plan until a year or so after school. I was just happy to graduate 🙂 .

Don’t give up!

Things might not always be the easiest for you once you graduate, but don’t give up. For some including myself going from college life to life after college was a major adjustment. There will be some bumps in the road. That shouldn’t deter you, though. Things will eventually work out for you.

Enjoy the moment.

The final item on this list is to enjoy the moment. Unless you decide to go to Grad school, this will probably be the last time that you will ever graduate. Enjoy it! The summer after I graduated I went to Las Vegas, Florida and New York. I had to live it up. College wasn’t easy, so I wanted to celebrate the fact that I received my degree. If you have the opportunity take some time to travel and enjoy yourself before you have to start life in the “real world.” If you think it costs too much to travel, think again. This article gives you tips on how to travel on a budget. If traveling isn’t your thing find a different method, but make sure you enjoy the moment.

There you have it. Those were 10 tips for new graduates. Did I miss anything? What one thing do you wish you would have known when you 1st graduated?

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  1. I think “Don’t Give Up” is a great tip for new college students. Most people don’t realize just how difficult life can be for a recent grad. Jobs aren’t always easy to come by, and landing your first job is the most difficult of all.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…5 Reasons I decided to get my MBAMy Profile

    • It’s not easy out there for a lot of them. I just want them to be mentally ready. A lot of college grads (including myself) thought it was going to be easy to get that first job. Boy was I wrong.

  2. Great post Jason and I wish I had known these tips when I graduated. I’m off to share with my young adults.
    Bola recently posted…Did you know it all started a year ago?My Profile

  3. Ha! Things DO get real, don’t they? Great suggestion to network with alumni! I wish I had thought of that!
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Motherless Mother’s Day… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

  4. Networking has helped me so much in my career. Keeping in touch with people can seriously go such a long way. When I was in between jobs, it was incredible to see just how many people were willing to connect me to their contacts.
    Anum @Current on Currency recently posted…30 Best Stocks for Long Term Investment 2015My Profile

  5. An important point is that new college graduates shouldn’t think too highly of themselves. Some kids these days think they should be making $60k a year just because they have that degree. Work your way up slowly and steadily, unless you want to take the entrepreneurial path.
    Tony @ Inequality Today recently posted…3 Reasons Why This Bull Market in U.S. Stocks Isn’t OverMy Profile

  6. Being a career student can indeed keep the loan debt growing by leaps and bounds, but the major the student has picked and employment forecast for that major also matters quite a bit. I kept studying literature due to numerous scholarships. If I had to take out loans, I probably wouldn’t have went to graduate school.
    Jeri recently posted…#Editor: Reader Report SampleMy Profile

    • I know a lot of people who graduated and now wish that they would have majored in something different. Its kind of same.

  7. I think the other one you should mention is not to be limited in seeking job opportunities. Some graduates just want a job in their field, which is understandable, but they can wait too long looking for it, and their degree is no longer as valuable as it once was.
    I go an AS in Criminal Justice when I was in the military, never planned on using it beyond that. After I received my BS in Communication Arts, I could not find a job. I ended up being a Private Detective by necessity, then in Child Support Enforcement.
    Eventually, I got a very nice job with my state in Child Support. They needed someone who could write business requirement documents, but also had experience in the field, basically I was the only candidate qualified for the position. So sometimes the experience you get at a job you did not want helps you land the job you do.
    William Rusho recently posted…Money, Drugs Companies and your DoctorMy Profile

  8. Ten great tips! I hope that young people see and appreciate this post. I hope that jobs are becoming more plentiful for new grads. And I’m glad you included the advice to enjoy the moment.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…How to Get Started When You’re StuckMy Profile

  9. Great advice for the college graduate. Accepting lower-paying than expected jobs and moving back with parents may not be what the college grad hoped for, but in getting real and starting on a good path for the future, it may be the best short-term solution.
    Donna Janke recently posted…Winnipeg Fun FactsMy Profile

  10. This is really good advice Jason. I’m impressed with your post and I could have used somebody to put this in front of me when I got out of college. The point about the student loan is particularly important. Sounds simple but a lot of graduates just aren’t focused enough on making those payments or understanding the implications on not paying.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…Techonomy Policy Conference: Two Senators and a Geek Make the Case Against RegulationMy Profile

    • Unfortunately I know 1st hand about the student loan situation. I don’t want new grads to have the same thoughts about it that I did.