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7 Things You Should Know About Life After College

Most students have to work hard and be ready to produce an excellent essay in a couple of hours, read a book by famous authors in one evening and come up with five excellent research questions on the spot. A good student is a great paper writer, a public speaker, and, most importantly, a learner.

Still, as challenging as it may be to write a paper, student life is actually easier compared to the adult world where graduates transition to. Hopefully, these tips help.

#1 Your Classes Could Have Done Better

Many professors keep saying that their class is a true gift you cannot possibly live without once you graduate. Sure, some of them are right, but most are not. Oftentimes, professors keep teaching years after leaving the practice. They find a convenient spot at a college and forget how fast life actually is outside.

As a result, once you graduate and enter the labor market, you may suddenly realize that the things you were taught are not that useful. If your professors lacked recent practical experience, their approach might be dated and useless in today’s ever-changing business environment. If this is the case, you will basically have to start anew and learn everything on the job.

#2 Getting Someone to Give Honest Feedback Is a Struggle

This is a big one. Throughout our formal education, we are constantly receiving feedback from experts in the field. Years after year, we get our essays and labs back with comments from a teacher on what to change to make them better. Many famous poets didn’t turn in their paper the first time. Professors’ guidance makes academic writing a constant work in progress. Polishing one’s work based on constructive criticism is something most students take for granted.

Sadly, once you graduate from college, getting someone to tell you the truth about your work in a constructive manner will not be easy. In an ideal world, this should be one of the first things all managers are taught how to do, but it is not. If you are not lucky, you may even want to ask your supervisor for feedback, which is something not everyone is comfortable doing.

#3 Friends for Life Are Not Always for Life

Sharing a dorm room or a tiny apartment together, helping each other study using flashcards, getting hammered after a successfully passed exam, being each other’s wingmate at a bar – all of these are things that make college friends dear to heart and central to the entire college experience. It is not surprising that we expect to stay friends with them for the rest of our life.

The truth is, you will see most of your college friends once a year (or five) at a reunion night, but nothing else. A couple of them, with whom you had a truly special bond, may stay in your life for decades to come, especially if they live nearby. Bust most will eventually disappear.

#4 You Need to Keep Learning

Many people are excited to graduate because they are tired of learning. Indeed, most spend twelve years at school, then three to five years more at a college (more for aspiring medical professionals).

Over the years, students are learning everything, including how to make a good presentation, combine studying while having a job, and survive an all-nighter. Not everyone enjoys learning new things, so it is okay to be excited at the idea of finally completing the education.

Except learning will not really be over. First, colleges are not always great at preparing students for the real-life scenarios they will face at the job. Also, they often struggle to stay relevant because of how fast everything is changing now. Finally, colleges cannot possibly anticipate everything that a future professional might need. You will keep studying at least until retiring.

#5 Teamwork Is No Walk in the Park

Students get to experience the pitfalls of teamwork while still in college. However, group projects are rare, and the stakes are rarely as high as they are in the professional environment. Teamwork may well be the most important and difficult thing to master after graduating. Beware of the following problems you may face:

  • Conflict because of different visions and ambitions
  • Unclear instructions from a team leader
  • Teammates’ inability to take even constructive criticism
  • Teammates’ low engagement
  • Lack of transparency and ineffective communication overall

This list may go on and on, which is why asking the HR practitioner at a new workplace for at least basic teamwork training for everyone is a good idea.

#6 A Perfect Job is Still a Job

It is important to remember that while college is challenging, so is work. College students may think that once they graduate and no longer have to search for the best educational app ever, everything is going to be amazing. They envision finding the job of their dreams on the first try and smiling every morning at the thought of seeing their colleagues and office.

This is not how it works. No matter how amazing the company and position are, work is still working. It means there will be days when you will feel frustrated or even wish you were still in college. Just hang on – it gets better.

#7 Friday Nights in Can Be Cool

Not all students are party monsters. But it is generally accepted that spending a Friday night at home with Netflix is almost pathetic. Every student has a friend (or five) who keeps asking to join them for yet another house party at a friend’s of a friend’s.

This may sound surprising, but a Friday night in can actually be very enjoyable. Busy work schedule and daily stress often call for a relaxing bath instead of a pub crawl, and there is nothing wrong with it. If your friends still shame you for being a couch potato even after graduating, maybe, it is time for them to go.

Final Thoughts

Handling the transition from college to work is much easier if you know what to expect. Be ready to keep learning, do not cry over lost college friends, do not expect to enjoy your work every moment of every day, and prepare to discover the difficulties of teamwork. If you keep your expectations in check and are okay with keeping educating yourself, the transition will be quite smooth.