Navigating Life After College: 7 Tips

When you graduate from college, life changes very quickly. Here are some tips to help recent graduates navigate life after college.

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[vc_empty_space height=”20px”]Congrats! You’re almost done with college, and it’s an exciting time in your life. In fact, it may be the most exciting time in your life. You’re at the forefront of your future career, and you have the option to choose so many things. 

Take a look at each of these factors and see just how you can plan for your future—including the stuff that no one tells you about. 

The Stuff No One Tells You About

Before college, folks are heavy-handed with the advice. They come in telling you how great school will be, all that you can learn, and more. But there’s much they don’t tell you about how it is once it all ends.

Sure, going into college is fun and exciting. But then what? What do you do once you graduate or if you decide to end your tenure early? College isn’t for everyone, and some find that out by attending classes for themselves. 

This is the stuff that no one tells you about. And somehow, there isn’t widespread advice about what to expect after college. Take a look at these much-needed tips and allow them to propel you forward into post-graduation success. 

1. Go With the Flow

Leaving college is hard at any age. Whether you attend for a year or get multiple degrees, it’s hard. It means making decisions and determining what’s next in your life. Like where you’ll live, where you’ll work, how to pay bills on your own (perhaps from your own account or without the help of roommates or financial aid), and what your goals may be.

If you’ve never stopped to look at what you want to do after graduation, this can come as a harsh reality. 

Give yourself some grace and go with the flow. Decide what it is that you want and work toward it. But if something doesn’t pan out, that’s ok. Career paths take many varied routes, and one of the best ways to reach them is to make it your own. 

That goes for your personal life as well, with relationships, landlords, and more. 

2. Network and Network Some More

Get in the habit of talking to people about who you are and what you want to do early on. Introduce yourself and talk about your career goals. This might just seem like good people skills, but in reality, it’s a way to connect with others. Let them know what you want, and you will never know who can get you in touch with the right person. 

This is also a great way to make new friends in your field or who enjoy the same things as you. Consider this when moving to a new town after college especially. 

3. Don’t Get Too Big for Your Background

Sometimes you have to start small or in a gig that isn’t exactly what you had in mind. But don’t pass up an opportunity just because it deviates from your end goal. Take good opportunities as they arise, and give them your best effort.

You may meet a potential boss along the way or work your way up into something even better. You never know who’s looking. Start in the job that you are given and continue to do your best. 

The same goes with friends. You’re in a new situation with new people, very likely in a new town. Give others the benefit of the doubt, and don’t overreact before you have all of the information. This is a lesson you will hold onto for life. It will also get easier the older you get. For the time being, remember to add maturity and patience to your personality, especially if they don’t exist there on their own. 

4. Continue To Learn

Never stop learning. Whether you read, watch, or explore, there is much to take on in the world just by paying attention. Choose the medium that most speaks to you and make it your own. If you like to read, go to the local library, borrow books, or find free libraries around your town. 

If you prefer to listen, check out podcasts or audiobooks. Then there are videos to watch, such as YouTube, documentaries, and so much more. 

Those are only a few examples of ways you can learn. The more you take in, the more qualified an employee you will be for any type of job, just by taking on new skills and understanding more of how the world works. 

Keep this in mind if a friend invites you to something that isn’t your normal cup of tea. Go with them to learn something new and to appease your friend with their thing. Next time they can check out yours. 

5. Respect Will Get You Far in Life

No one wants to hire the disrespectful kid. They certainly won’t hire the 20-something (or older) who’s disrespectful. Even if others aren’t kind to you in your place of work, that’s no reason to talk to them in an unkind way.

Remain respectful at work. This is one of the best ways to prove your worth and include yourself as a valuable team player in any type of job. 

Of course, this isn’t just a rule for work. Being rude or unkind won’t earn you friends or acquaintances of any kind. Be nice to the masses and earn the respect that you get back. As for those who are rude back, just think how unpleasant they are and how you don’t want to be the person causing that level of unpleasantness. 

It’s a simple rule that so many fail to get right. Don’t be that person. 

6. Respect the Culture

Each place of work will have its own set of nuances. Pay attention to how people there work and take note as to how you should proceed. If a company has lunch together, consider the camaraderie. If they work long hours, take note of the schedule. 

You may find that, for whatever reason, a place of work isn’t for you. Maybe it’s a town, and you just don’t jive with their vibe. That doesn’t mean you can change the entire culture, but you should find a better fit for your personality and workflow preferences. 

7. Ask for Help When You Need It

You don’t always have to be the person with the answers. When you don’t know, it’s ok to ask for help. In fact, you should ask for help. This is true if you need help finding a job, an apartment, a date on Saturday, and more. You may just get everything you need, and have a positive experience with others while you’re at it. 

Your network is there to help you—just like you’ll help them. Many times this is a great ice breaker to talk with someone new. Ask when you need something, then don’t be afraid to give back to others. 

Onward and Upward

There is much in life that will come as a surprise after finishing college. As much advice as you got before going to college, the same simply isn’t true in preparation for graduation or leaving college. That’s one of the cruel facts of life.

For many, this can mean stress and fear about what lies ahead. They simply don’t know what to expect, or they never considered what was next and are left without answers only once it’s too late to do anything about it. They’re left on their own with big decisions. 

There’s no class to prepare you for the real world, either. That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself and understand what’s ahead. Take on the world head-on and move toward success with your career and in your personal life. 

Use these proven tips about creating a better path for yourself post-college. This includes steps in your professional life and finding the job of your dreams, all while keeping it and moving up to better, bigger jobs. In your personal life, aim to have good relationships with friends, perhaps a partner, and live in a town you enjoy. 

Use all of these tips to create a better, more well-rounded life for yourself in the future. To learn more about what’s ahead, take a look at past blogs




Life After College: What to Do After Graduation | Time

Life after college is weird. This can help. | NY Times

10 Tips for Surviving Life After College | Business Insider 

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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