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Post-Graduation: What in the World Comes Next?

Posted At: January 31, 2014 12:14 p.m.
by Devon Landman

After spending your life under your parents’ roof, moving away to college probably seemed like the most extreme lifestyle change you could make.

But fast-forward four years later. After graduating college, everything you’ve learned inside and outside of the classroom is put to the test as you approach your next big step in life.

There’s no longer going to be a lifestyle filled with non-stop studying, sleeping, eating and partying. For many students, transitioning from a full-time student to a full-time working adult is a difficult adjustment and a scary concept.

Most of us want to avoid being involved in the cliché, post-grad situation of having your independence taken away from you by moving back home. Recent alumni from The University of Alabama have tips for a student’s success after graduating from college.

1. Don’t expect to be offered a job that’s at the top of the career ladder right after graduating. “The real world is tough and sometimes it’s going to be hard, but everyone has been right where you are right now. Take it with a grain of salt and just work your butt off to get where you want to be,” said Jessica Martinez, who graduated from UA in fall 2013 and studied public relations with a minor in computer technology and applications.

2. If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. “This quote stuck out to me when I was job searching,” Martinez said. “You’re going to apply to a lot of jobs, and you may only get one call back. Don’t give up. Stick with it.”

3. Complete your résumé and cover letters, and start sending out applications as soon as possible. “It’s extremely competitive out in the real world and being ahead of the curve can go a long way,” said Chris Boyle, who graduated from UA in spring 2013 and studied finance with a minor in economics.

4. The energy and quality of work required to be successful in the “real world” needs to consistently be at a very high level. According to Boyle, the quality of work you put into college assignments and exams is very different than the quality of work you perform for your job. “A big mistake could cost you your job and the company some serious money, whereas in college a bad grade on an assignment is used as an evaluation method to further improve,” he said. Clearly, paying attention to detail is key for any type of career.

5. Make as many connections as you can because they can open up some amazing doors for you. Have you ever heard the expression, “It’s all about who you know”? It’s unfair, but true. A friend of mine was offered a job from a man he met at a garage sale. Point is, be open to meeting new people in any setting.

Along with the useful advice from these UA graduates, it is important to know that any student is fully capable of having a successful career as long as they work hard, listen to others, pay attention to details and refuse to shy away from the many challenges that await them. Yes, the real world seems like a far stretch from your current lifestyle, but having an open mind and patience will prepare you for what’s to come.


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    6. Don’t expect a job. That is a privilege that will require hard work and lots of interviews.
    7. You will most likely not make a lot of money…
    8. No wants to hear about who you are interviewing with… they want to hear where you are going to work.
    9. Don’t feel the need to constantly talk about your new job with your friends that don’t have a job.
    10. Let me repeat…there is nothing more annoying than people who get all wound up over an interview… act like they are already working there and then get declined. Save yourself the embarrassment and just say “I am interviewing for this position at XYZ company.”


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