A reflection on graduation and preparing yourself for the future

12/21/2009 at 3:17 PM Leave a comment

Graduation was sort of a bittersweet moment for me.  Sure it’s great to be done with school and to celebrate with your family, but isn’t it disheartening to think that you won’t be going back to school next week, or even next semester?  The sense of finality really hits you when you least expect it.

The real question is what do you do now?  Find a job? Apply for grad school? Take a break? Travel?

While I was sitting in a sea of purple last Saturday waiting for my turn to walk the stage, I thought about what I did right and wrong throughout my time at TCU.  I am thankful that I am going to have a job fresh out of college, but some are not so fortunate. Here are some things you can do to future-proof yourself.

Networking: As much as I hate to do this, it actually does work.  Meeting as many people related to your industry increases your chances of being recognized for a position. Meeting people, however, is half the battle — you have to present yourself as if you are interviewing for a job, because  you never know what’s going to happen; the person you are speaking to could be considering you for a job, or knows someone who might.

Do your best in the classroom: Students, take notice of who is doing the best work in your classes.   A good work ethic and reputation can take you a long way.  Kelsey, the director here at Zag, was a colleague of mine  before my time here and decided to bring me on because she knew the type of work I could produce.  People are always watching and your reputation is on the line, so do your best — no matter what you’re doing.

Plan it out: Many people don’t like to look into the future, but you kind of have to when college is starting to wind down.  Go to job or graduate school fairs — anything that has to do with the next step. Don’t stress yourself though; if the job market just isn’t cutting it to you, there is always grad school.  In some instances grad school is a better option than entering the real world, especially with the state of our economy.  Two years down the road, the job market might turn around and you would be making a lot more than if you would have entered the workforce straight out of college. There are always options, so plan accordingly.

Either way, don’t wait until the last minute to plan your next move.  Most graduates have loans to pay and that grace period can come and go faster than you think.

The key is being prepared, knowing that you have options and doing your best.  If you do this, you can’t go wrong.  Congratulations to the Class of 2009!

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