Five Things I Wish I’d Known as a New College Graduate

As a new graduating class prepares to leave Auburn for a bright future, I remember my own college graduation. I felt unsure about what to do next as I faced life after college. Here are five things I wish I’d known when I first entered the “real world,” bachelor degree in hand.

1. You still might have no idea what you’re doing. And that’s ok.
Imagine that your best friend just landed his dream job, a position directly related to his major (and one he’s dreamed about since he was eight years old). You’re terrified because you majored in something you really liked, but have no idea what you’re doing next. Does this scenario sound familiar to you? Don’t worry, because here’s a secret your friend doesn’t know: Almost everyone changes their career path every five years. This means that even if you try out a new job and hate it, it’s likely you won’t be there that long. That said…

2. One opportunity leads to another.
You will have choices to make in your personal and professional life. Lots and lots of choices—even if it seems that you’re facing a dead-end, career-wise. You may not be able to use Jedi mind tricks to force a potential employer to offer you an interview, but you do have the power to get to know the people at your current position, volunteer at an organization you care about, or request an informational interview. Be wise about your choices—because you’re making career choices all the time. How to be wise about choices…? Well…

3. You should get to know yourself.
Now is a perfect time to assess about your values (I know, you just want to know what you should do for a job. But trust me, you can (and should!) get to know yourself at the same time). What, in your opinion, constitutes a life well-lived? What professionals do you admire and why? What do you like doing? What makes you feel alive? Use this data to guide your choices. Say “yes” to assignments, positions, and relationships that bring you a little closer to fulfilling a value. Understand that you might have to make some compromises along the way because…

4. There is no such thing as the perfect career (or life). 
Once you start getting to know yourself, you’ll discover that there is no way you can have everything you want out of life, both personally and professionally. This is an unalterable fact. This is why it is important to not only discover your values, but intentionally prioritize your values and then act accordingly.


5. The Career Center Isn’t Just for Resumes
At the end of my senior year, I visited the career center just once. I wanted to learn how to write a resume. Little did I know there was so much more that university career centers have to offer! We can teach you how to reach out to professionals, show you online job search tools you may not have heard of, facilitate a discussion about prioritizing your values, and help you practice interview skills. We serve alumni up to five years after graduation, so now is the time to begin using our services (if you haven’t already!).

Congratulations on your graduation from Auburn! 

Post Submitted By:
Shari Black
Counseling Psychology PhD Student
Career Center Graduate Assistant

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