Blare June is back today to offer insight into the age-old question: How do we go about making the transition from school to our first real job? Blare’s tips below show you how to do it with both grace and professionalism!
Applying to colleges and selecting a major—all while trying to discover what you actually want to be when you ‘grow up’—are distinct periods of time when we are expected to make difficult decisions. Although these decisions are important and are often decided after much thought, they can feel overwhelming and provoke anxiety. As much as the shift from grade school to college can be challenging, the transition from college into the working world can feel like a complete standstill. For many, the transition from college to career is the first time in one’s life where the next path isn’t so clear.
You have your degree, you achieved high grades and you may have even earned meaningful experience through a great internship position along the way. Now what? What’s next? As you await your hoped-for grad school acceptance letter, upgrade your classes for program eligibility, or go to every job interview posted online, it is important to stay calm and keep your eye on the prize. Declined acceptance to a program or not being selected for a job can be stressful and can lead to feeling defeated and wanting to give up, but this is when you need to push through!
Below are five ways you can conquer the pressure and anxiety that comes with the unknown as you transition from college into your eventual dream job.
The first step in getting through any situation of unknown is acceptance. As much as you may feel alone and the only one not ‘conquering the world,’ the reality is that your current situation is normal. Yes, there are individuals who finish college and go straight into a professional program or land a job they will likely have for years to come, but that is not the case for the majority. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find work or get into a program, even for the most qualified candidates. As stressful as it is, it’s a challenge you can take on. Acceptance of these truths is the first step in moving forward.
Alright, so you received the declined acceptance to medical school and the research position you had your eye on has already been filled. That doesn’t translate into a gap year to party! Many acceptance committees and employers are looking for perseverance, commitment and what you can accomplish through adversity. This is the perfect time to show them what you are made of. Upgrade your classes, gain volunteer experience in the field or step outside the box and show how much you can grow as an individual in a year. Show them that you aren’t going to give up, and you’re more likely be chosen in the next round.
Embrace The Perks
Although the perks of non-acceptance may not be on your radar when you receive rejection, there are some perks to soak in. As discussed, staying productive is vital in order to be competitive in the next round of applications or the next job interview cycle. At the same time, this may be the perfect time to tick off a thing or two on that bucket list. This may include traveling if funds are available or learning a new hobby. Use this time to try new things and become more well-rounded.
Seek Out Mentorship
As much as you feel alone in this transition period, I can guarantee you that many others are or have been in a similar situation. Mentorship is incredibly useful to bounce your ideas off of someone and share your feelings. The process of finding a mentor, however, should be organic. I suggest emailing someone locally with the credentials you are hoping to earn requesting to meet up for a coffee or quick meeting. Most people, if time permits, are happy to help those younger than them who are hoping to follow a similar path. Just reach out because the worst-case scenario is that they don’t reply or they say “no”!
Keep On Truckin’
If there is one thing you must do during this transition period, it is to keep on truckin’ and never give up. Giving in is easy, but those who continue to seek their dream will find success. Keep your eye on the prize, work hard and great things will be accomplished!