The prospect of transitioning from the comfortable Lawrence University bubble into the real world may feel overwhelming. Here are some tips to keep in mind that may help you maintain perspective and achieve your goals as you get ready to leave school
1. Get out of denial. Think about your future.
Though it’s great to live in the moment as you celebrate the end of your college career, it’s important to pay attention to the calendar and realize that, eventually, the big party will be over. Getting mentally prepared for life after college is impossible if you think it’s never going to come. Keeping your graduation date on your calendar or in the back of your mind can be a good, regular reminder that a transition is coming and it’s time to get ready.
2. Know that college doesn’t prepare you for everything.
Many recent grads say they were totally unprepared for:
- The emphasis placed on teamwork
- The importance of working with all types of people and personalities
- Personal finance issues and budgeting
- Living on your own – or having to move back with your family
- Balancing work demands with family/friends/personal life
- Job-hunting skills, especially networking, interviewing, and salary negotiation
These are topics not always covered in your college courses but there are resources available to you to help you with these things. So…
3. Ask for Assistance!
The Career Center staff is happy to help you figure out what you want to do next and what life after LU may hold. Make an appointment with a Career Adviser by calling, emailing, or stopping by the Career Center while you’re still here at Lawrence. Also, attend “Seniors: R U Ready?” on May 13 in the Science Hall Atrium from 3:30 to 5 to learn about renting an apartment, buying a car, paying back student loans, taking care of your health, setting up a kitchen and more. (AND… win great prizes!) Also, remember that Career Center is a resource that will continue to be available to you as an alumnus.
4. Know that you have options.
Maybe the job you have lined up for after graduation isn’t your dream job. Or, maybe you get to graduate school and decide it’s not for you. Don’t panic if what you end up doing right after graduation does not perfectly fit into your plan. You can (and sometimes should!) try lots of different things before you decide on what your next step will be. And, remember that the plans you made at Lawrence shouldn’t limit what you do when you leave – your major or the classes you took at LU don’t dictate the type of job you can do, so keep an open mind.
5. Don’t look at graduation day like the edge of a cliff.
Maybe you’re one of the many college students who don’t have definite plans for life after Lawrence. Or, maybe you are planning to attend graduate school, have a job lined up, want to join the military, or are interning. Whatever is in your immediate future, don’t allow anxiety to build up too much or you’ll just make the transition harder. Get familiar with where you plan to be and what you plan to do and you’ll be less apprehensive as graduation day draws near.
6. Plan to maintain relationships.
It may be difficult to imagine your life without certain people in it everyday, but realizing you won’t be living down the hall from your best friend anymore can save you from a rude awakening when you leave campus. Plan for how you will maintain your important relationships – doing this can provide you with a feeling of security in those relationships that are most significant to you. Also, staying in touch with the Alumni Office can keep you connected with the goings-on at LU.