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8 Things Every Recent Graduate Needs to Hear

If you’re currently avoiding your phone because it’s filled with texts from people asking if you got a job yet, or maybe you’re hiding from your mom because she “can’t believe the best four years of your life are over,” read this instead: Eight pieces of advice that every recent graduate and twentysomething needs to hear, from journalist and author Amy Odell

You have talent and you should be paid for it.

“Get as much money as you can, in whatever field you’re going into. I feel like women in general feel like they’re lucky to get their first job, and luck is a factor but it’s also because you have talent and you should be paid for it. What you start a job at is going to be the biggest indicator to where you end up with your salary. I chose to be a journalist, which doesn’t pay well at all, so I didn’t get into it because I wanted money. But even at my first job, I didn’t negotiate at all and I wish I had asked for a little bit more money. They might have said no, but I wish that I at least asked.”

Work is lucky to have you.

“I never hired for any position — and I’ve hired for quite a few positions — where I felt like it was easy to find someone, even the entry level positions. Yes there is some luck factored into everyone’s success and especially if it’s a job you really want. But I also think places are really lucky to have you.”

Listen and learn. 

“If someone asks you to do something that’s not in your job description, you should do it. That doesn’t mean you should put up with harassment or bad treatment, but be humble and come with the attitude that you can learn from people versus you know things. Because, you probably don’t know as much as you think you know.”

Outgrowing your friends will happen, and everything will be fine when it does.

“Your friends are going to change throughout periods of your life. There’s several significant friend changes from 18 to 30. When you go to college, you’ll lose touch with your high school friends. Then you’ll start a new job and you might live in a different place from your college friends, or you’ll end up in different industries and you’ll have nothing to talk about. You might have friends who party a lot and you don’t do that anymore, and that’s fine because you’ll find new friends at your job, or wherever you spend your time. And then you might become a mom and your friends will change again because you’re looking for people who have kids the same age as your kids. I think that’s life, and that is just fine.”

Don’t waste time obsessing over your appearance. 

“I realize it’s hard to understand this until you’re looking back. For me, I used to worry about how I looked and how thin I was and then when I got older I didn’t really know why I cared. Your life is not really that different whether you’re a size four or a size two, or a size eight or a size six. At the end of the day when you look back at how you spent your time how will you have wanted to spend it? “

Seriously, just date nice people. 

“Don’t date dicks. Date people who are nice and who care about you, and don’t date people who treat you like crap. No one’s looks are enough to offset them saying something mean to you in front of your friends.” 

Remember that finding a job is a full time job.

“You have to be prepared for that. And I see a lot of people, even people I know now, most of the jobs they apply for they get a rejection. That’s just how the world is and it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you because someone rejects you it just means you weren’t a good fit for that company.”

Be kind to yourself. 

“It’s a tough transition so be easy on yourself. It’s not easy coming from college and going to work every day. Whatever hours you have all day every day, it comes as a shock. Be kind to yourself and accept that it’s going to be tired, and boring, and maybe uncomfortable but you’ll get used to it.”


Amy Odell is a journalist and author. She served formerly as the editor of Cosmopolitan.com, which became one of the most popular and award-winning sites for millennial women during her tenure. ​Amy is a media columnist for Business of Fashion and career advice columnist for Well and Good. 

Danielle was previously the Deputy Editor at Her Campus, where she oversaw social and content strategy, lifestyle, beauty, fashion, news, and entertainment. Prior to joining Her Campus, Danielle worked at House Beautiful as Senior Lifestyle Editor, directing and producing feature videos and stories. Danielle also served as Snapchat Editor at Cosmopolitan, overseeing the brands daily Snapchat Discover channel. In 2016, she launched Cosmo Bites — which is now the official food and beverage vertical at Cosmopolitan. That same year, Danielle was named as a Rising Star in the digital media industry by FOLIO Magazine. Danielle got her start in digital media by launching the Her Campus chapter at Fairfield University in 2014, where she acted as Campus Correspondent for 2.5 years, before graduating with a degree in English and creative writing. She enjoys wine, food, and long walks through HomeGoods. Follow Danielle on Instagram!