Life After College: The Real World

By: Mariah Brooks

You have been waiting for this and it is finally here. It’s graduation day. You have prepared for this day for the past four or five years and now reality is about to hit you in the face. College is over and it’s time to step into the real world.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) – It seems just like yesterday you were walking into the admissions office going to orientation. Everything was so new and exciting, these were the first steps to your collegiate career. Although college wasn’t all studying, there was some playing involved. The toga parties, beer pong, reading day parties, and spring break will be memories you will  never forget.

Adapting to the social life after college could  be difficult. Friends start to leave and you may outgrow the college scene. Figuring out a new social scene could be challenging but you should be open to trying new things and making new friends. WebsiteS like eCampus offer advice on how to adapt to life after college. The article suggest ways to shed your college habits and embrace a new type of lifestyle.

This is where it all begins

Although some students are anticipating graduation, others like Brandon Dunlap are nervous and pressured to make a decision about what to do with his life.  Although Brandon doesn’t go to UTC, the senior from Nashville said ,“ My parents are constantly pressuring me to make a plan and stick with it, but I just don’t know what I want to do.” This isn’t uncommon for most students, who feel the pressure from family and friends to make a decision. However there  are ways students can get guidance to figure out what they want  to do.

At UTC ,the career counseling center in the University Center provides students with assistance to getting on the right track. There are also websites like the Stepcase Lifehack that give advice for college students who are about to graduate. I think the best advice the website gives is to network. Networking is  such an influential part in making your way into the world and something that will help get your foot in the door.

Go here for guidance

Another way to prepare for the real world is to make sure to have a good resume. All my professors have stressed how important it is to have a good resume.  The resume is the first thing an employer sees before they even look at you. This is your shot to show your future employer that you have the credentials and skills to do the job. Everything from the paper, font, style, and the wording has to be perfect. There are plenty of books and websites that offer advice for having a good resume. I also suggest asking one of your professors to go over your resume before going on an interview.

Time is winding down and it is time to enter the real world. However do you feel prepared? Are you ready? These may be some of the questions you ask yourself, and i’ts okay not feel ready. For four or five years now, we have been on a mission to graduate. It’s finally over. It’s time to move on to the next mission.

The new mission starts with entering the  job market. The job market for college graduates can be kind of tricky. The advice that I have been getting from graduates recent and old is to start applying now, and do a lot of internships. Internship are very important in developing contacts and getting a job. There are some occasion your internship will offer you a job, if they have a position open upon your graduation.

Hanging out in the student center

We are now on the hunt for a job; however, there are some things we must prepare for and that is the expected pay.  The average salary for college graduates in Chattanooga,Tenn is $40,000 according to the Simply Hired website. The average salary for Nashville, Tenn is $43,000. All of this is dependent on experience and the type of job. The website also provides average salaries for different salaries in different cities.

Another reason it is so important to find a job after graduation is student loan debt.Our parents and family are not the only ones waiting for the day we graduate. After graduation we have around  six months until we have to start paying our students loans. Yep we have debt and although it was a good investment, somebody has to pay it back. Student loans can take many years to pay back. Look at this article on MSN to prepare yourself for the next few years. There are also websites such as Kiplinger’s financial advice that provides advice and other websites to manage your student loan debt along with other life finances.

We have spent four or five years studying our major, but unfortunately for some of us, this major will not matter. A lot of college graduates face this dilemma. Many employers don’t care if you graduated with business finance degree, or communication degree. What they want to see is skill and experience.

Therefore many of us will have to settle for an entry level job.It would be nice  to have our dream job coming out of college but chances of this happening are very unlikely. Many college graduates are on a mission to having a career versus a job.  Most jobs coming out of college are the stepping stones to attaining a career.

It has been a couple of months and you still haven’t heard back from any jobs. This isn’t uncommon for many college graduates. In fact,  jobs are scarce no matter how many degrees you have. The economy has negatively affected the job market and this isn’t good for recent graduates. Some advice students may be getting is going ahead to grad school after college .

Some students are furthering their education and going ahead to grad school. Considering the current job market this doesn’t sound like a bad idea. Although some students are considering the possibility of grad school, there is still some worrying about the job experience.  However there are some employers that encourage and  pay for employees that are interested in furthering their education. This is a good way to gain job experience and go to grad school.

Your competition is inside this building

Congratulations to making it this far and I will see you on the hunt for a job.