6 TIPS TO EASE THE TRANSITION FROM COLLEGE TO FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT
Madeline Yaskowski, Senior Consultant, Actualize Consutling
I can't imagine how hard it is for seniors this year who had their plans cut short due to COVID-19. Life transitions are rarely easy, and when you throw a pandemic into the mix, it can be taxing on your mental health. While I can’t relate to having my senior year end abruptly, I do remember feeling bombarded with so many “endings” when I graduated. I was saying goodbye to the town I had grown to love over the past four years, the campus I used to walk across everyday going to my classes, and my friends who lived less than a half-block away. I was even saying goodbye to my parents, who - in a strange twist of fate - were moving away from home as I moved back. I truly felt like any sense of normality was being pulled out from under me.
Although navigating this feeling was hard, it was comforting for me to know that many recent college grads feel the same way. Adrian Mendieta, fellow Virginia Tech Alum and Senior Consultant at Actualize, felt a similar fish-out-of-water experience. After a conversation with him, I’ve compiled a few of our tips to help the class of 2020 soften the growing pains of this transition from college to a full-time job.
1. Focus on Gratitude: I was so focused on what I would no longer have that I couldn’t remember all that I did have. I was extremely lucky to have accepted a full-time offer from Actualize, who I had interned for two years leading up to my official start date. I was lucky to have a boss that encouraged me to take the summer off before starting, a place to live, extended family nearby, and so much more. As I began to focus on gratitude, it became clear to me that I needed to reframe this event in my life; it wasn’t an ending. It was a new chapter.
2. Ease into Your Schedule: Prior to his start date, Adrian shifted his schedule around his working hours. “I was used to having 2-3 classes per day and spending the rest of my time either doing work or studying,” he noted. “I needed to adjust my schedule around my new job.” He set his rhythm by waking up earlier and hitting the gym after or before core working hours.
3. Find a mentor: For both of us, having someone who was familiar with the tasks of our job was extremely helpful. When you’re new, there can be a major overload of information. It’s important to remember that everyone was new at some point! Find someone you can reach out to for help if you need it and don’t be ashamed for not understanding fresh material.
4. Set Goals: Just because you are out of school doesn’t mean that the learning stops. Challenge yourself to grow. “Begin writing down a list of specific, measurable and attainable goals that you would like to accomplish within the 1 – 2 months of starting work,” says Adrian. “You can track your progress and look back at all you’ve learned – it’s a good morale booster to see how far you’ve come.”
5. Take Breaks: In today’s culture, we value success above happiness. We think that we must always be hustling in order to achieve. Although it may sound counterintuitive, sometimes being unproductive is the most productive thing you can do. If you have vacation time, don’t be afraid to use it – you’ve earned it! You can come back to work more refreshed and less likely to burn out.
6. Have Hobbies Outside of Work: The workday should not last forever – protect your work/life balance by having hobbies that aren’t your 9-5. “Set time aside each day for activities that you enjoy – like exercising, spending time with family or catching up on your latest show,” says Adrian.
Recent college grads, how have you adjusted to full-time employment? What tips and tricks do you have for class of 2020 graduates?
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