Navigating Post-Grad Life: Practical Advice for the Graduate

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advice for the graduate

For a lot of college seniors, May is a great month. They have the opportunity to walk across that stage and get their degree. The years of hard work have finally paid off. You are now a college graduate! Be proud of yourself. This is a significant time in your life. Today’s post will feature advice for the graduate. I wish I had a list back in 2008 when I graduated. I damn sure needed it.

Advice for the Graduate

Things Get Real

This might sound cliché, but it is the truth. Things do get real now. You’re a college graduate, and you’re officially an adult. There are a lot of decisions that you have to make now, such as your career or living arrangements. If you go to school in another city, do you stay there or go home? If you stay there, do you have an apartment yet? Will you have a roommate? Will the bills be in your name? Do you have the money if you need to put down a deposit? Those are just a few questions that new grads should ask themselves.

Student Loans

If you take out student loans, they will need to be repaid. You should get your first statement from your student loan lender about six months after you graduate. Do not look at that statement and throw it away. I know everyone isn’t able or ready to make that first payment, but at least try to work with them. Most loan companies will allow you to get a deferment or forbearance if you have financial difficulties. There is nothing wrong with having to do that. I’ve done it before. Just make sure you start paying something on the student loan, though.

It would help if you considered refinancing your student loans to lower your payment or interest rate. There are many lenders out there to choose from. I refinanced my private student loans with Earnest. I got a lower interest rate, and my payment was $28 cheaper. Earnest will give you a $200 bonus if you are approved for the new loan.

For more information about Earnest, visit their site here.

You Have The College Degree But…

You have a college degree, but what if you don’t have a full-time job yet? Many students don’t have full-time employment once they graduate. Don’t let that bother you. You will eventually get it if you keep applying. In the meantime, don’t be too arrogant or uppity to work an hourly job for $11- $12. Any money coming in to help you pay those bills off is good. Remember that the $11-$12 job is only temporary. Better days will be coming soon. As you earn enough professional experience, you can demand a higher salary when moving to another job. Another way to improve your rate is to go for a master’s degree. You should be able to take online courses while you keep your day job, such as a master’s degree or doctorate, whichever applies to you.

Don’t Become A Career Student

Only keep going to school if you know what you want to do. Getting multiple degrees and having a plan is one thing, but staying in school because you’re trying to keep your loans deferred or because you’re lost in life is another thing. Being a career student makes you have more debt. Eventually, you will have to graduate and do something with your life.

Make An Impact At Your New Job

If you have a job after graduation, make an impact early. Come to work on time every day. Make sure you do a good job on your work assignments. Be helpful. Those are the type of things that will get you noticed. It could lead to more income and more opportunities within the company.

Network With Alumni As Much As Possible

Next up on the list of advice for the graduate is to network. Your alum network can be crucial to your future. I wish I had looked into mines. Many alums have companies or are CEOs. They could help you get your foot in the door by contacting them. One way to meet alum is to see if your college has an alumni chapter in the city that you live in.

Don’t Be Afraid To Move Back With Your Parents

There is nothing wrong with moving back in with your parents for a little while after graduation. Times can be challenging. If they allow it, you could stay with them until you get on your feet. Staying with your parents will allow you to save money and get adjusted to life after college. I know that’s only an option for some, but if you have the opportunity, you should consider it.

Don’t Worry If You Don’t Have A Plan

If you don’t have a plan, don’t worry. Many people would like you to think that they always had a plan in life after college. Don’t get me wrong, some did, but a lot didn’t. Don’t feel sad or stressed out. Hell, I didn’t have a plan until a year or so after school. I was just happy to graduate.

Don’t Give Up!

Things might not always be the easiest for you once you graduate but keep going. For some, including myself going from college life to life after college was a major adjustment. There will be some bumps in the road. That shouldn’t deter you, though. Things will eventually work out for you.

Enjoy The Moment

The final item on this list of advice for the graduate is to enjoy the moment. Unless you decide to go to Grad school, this will probably be the last time you will graduate. Enjoy it! I went to Las Vegas, Florida, and New York the summer after I graduated. I had to live it up. College was challenging, so I wanted to celebrate the fact that I had received my degree. If you have the opportunity, take some time to travel and enjoy yourself before you have to start living in the “real world.” If you think it costs too much to travel, think again.

Check out: 15 Easy Ways to Save Money While Traveling

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Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.