If college graduation bells are ringing for you, I’d like to suggest a reply: “Hold on! I’m coming!”
Yes, those are contradictory statements — and the title of a great song — but that’s intentional.
For most students, college is a wonderful experience, maybe the most fun you’ll have at any point in your life. The combination of people, events, opportunities — and the freedom to experience them all at whatever level you wish — is going to be very difficult to match.
So hold on! Take some time to walk around campus and remember where you were and who you were with when you did something, learned something, succeeded or failed at something.
Get in touch with the classmates, professors, office personnel, coaches or bartenders who contributed to your college experience, and thank them. Do it in person. If they really made a difference, bring them lunch or a beverage and ask if you can keep in touch.
That will help them remember you as much as you will remember them. If you haven’t discovered it yet, “who” you know is going to mean a lot more after college than “what” you know.
When that’s done, you can begin taking the serious steps needed to let the working world know “I’m coming!”
The Working World Needs You
Despite what you may have read or heard in whatever communication communities you visit, the working world wants you. A college degree is necessary for two-thirds of the jobs in America. You have one. Successful companies thrive on energy in the workplace. You bring some. Fresh ideas are gold currency for any company. You have some.
But, like everything, you have to prepare to succeed. There are small steps you need to take before you start your job search and running off to a full-time position.
Here are some suggestions, in no real order, of things that will help you prepare for life after college:
The last piece of advice I’d give is probably more important than anything I’ve written so far: Invite your parent(s) to dinner, and talk about your future.
Doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Find a quiet room with no waitresses, roommates or siblings there to disturb the conversation. Just the two or three of you … talking about you.
Nobody wants you to succeed more than they do. They shared in the struggles that got you to this point, so let them share in the joy of your accomplishment. Whether they went to college or not, they have life-changing experiences – your birth being one – that gives them knowledge you will find useful. They would love to share it. You’ll benefit from hearing it.
When dinner’s over, take them out to a place with an old-time jukebox. If you’re lucky, they’ll have a copy of “Hold On, I’m Comin” by Sam & Dave. Fire it up. It’ll give everyone a reason to celebrate!
Bill Fay is a writer for Debt.org. Bill has worked for newspapers, magazines and for public officials.
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