Sunday, May 18, 2014

Encouragement for Recent Graduates

Happy Graduate, May 3, 2014
By Laurie Epps

Something I wasn’t prepared for when I graduated was the letdown post graduation. For the next ten days, I’d drop my daughter off at school, and go back to bed until 2 PM. That’s really out of character for me. I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of inadequacy, or for the feeling that I was lost and irrelevant.

When I spoke to other graduates, many of them felt the same way. Yet nobody talks about it, and I believe they should. Back in the good old days, students would receive bids for their talent, and often before graduation. But today, the graduate is in the drivers seat as conquerors of their own destiny. We’re placed in charge of the “what’s next” chapter of our lives. However, this is an area that college didn’t adequately prepare us for.

Typewriter Keys
So today, I’m going to let you on the inside of some little things that encouraged me to get out of bed and start looking for work. First and foremost, you’ll want to head over to your college career center. I know you just graduated, and the last thing you want to do is head back to your alma mater so soon, but it’s essential.

Not all career centers are created equal, but some questions you ask yourself before your visit can make all the difference. Some sample questions include:
  • What kind of work do I want to be doing ideally?
  •   What are my second and third choices career-wise?
  • Is there a particular type of industry within my major that I feel I’m well suited for? (This might answer 1 & 2 at the same time.)
  •  Where do I want to live, and why?
  •  What are the pros and cons of each location?
  •  Am I willing to relocate?
  • How much money do I need to make to survive, or support myself?
  • Where do I see myself in five years? Ten years?
  •  What type of benefits am I looking for? (Health, Vision, Dental, 401K, and Life Insurance, etc)
  • What unique qualities can I bring forth as an employee?

Then you’re ready to see your college’s career counselor. Make sure you ask him or her, how do I get signed up for the career center’s database. There are often jobs on your college’s website that don’t appear anywhere else, because frankly, there’s a lot of jobs that don’t want anybody without a degree.

If you really don’t know what you want to do at all, I learned that many college websites have a portal where you can find other applications for your major that you might not of thought of. It might just be the push to open up some job opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise.

If you’ve still not come up with anything, you might want to consider graduate school. But be prepared to ask your college career counselor how to get that started as well.

For me, the college career center is where I got my encouragement. She offered helpful tips, and taught me how to navigate the system. Together we even went into one of the portals and typed in some of the cities I’d like to relocate to. An example is Fort Lauderdale, FL. For Broward County alone there’s 2,395 just in the writing category. It made me realize that maybe my scribbling isn’t a complete waste of time, and that I might just be able to put that degree to use after all.

Laurie Epps is a recent graduate of Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet.  A seeker of beauty, her is dream is to travel the world one day and tell the many stories of those she meets. Columns include: Monday Morning Book Club, and Thoughtful Thursdays, a column dedicated to the fine art of poetry.

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