It’s that time of year again. Graduation is right around the corner and most of us are preparing to either walk across that stage (living room for us virtual people), or we’re preparing to say goodbye to our friends and watch them move onto bigger and (hopefully so many) better things. Graduation from college is typically a huge deal. It symbolizes a final move into adulthood and how we are now in an extremely important point in life where we get to decide what we now want to do and how we want to live.
The only thing about graduating is the lack of know-how that comes with it. Professors, friends, family, they all try to prepare you for the real world without actually preparing you for it. There seems to be a lack of teaching the important things, like how to successfully nail an interview or buy a house, or how to pay student loans off. Students seem to get thrown to the wolves and have to seek out help for things that could have been shown to them.
Graduation also comes with the possibility of regret. The possible regret for those who wish they had done more than they actually did. Students often look back on their college years with fondness but also a bit of remorse for all the things they always thought about doing and never actually did. Things like Greek Life, clubs, and organizations, even taking advantage of office hours with a professor that could’ve become a great ally.
After speaking with a few college graduates here what some of them had to say:
“I wish I had taken advantage of study abroad and that someone had told me to keep in touch with your favorite professors, even after the class is over because they can be great friends and/or networking opportunities.” Says UNM graduate Kyle Browder. “I wish I had participated more in classes and clubs on campus.” Her advice: “Don’t be afraid to reach out to your favorite teachers, even after you graduate/leave their class. Just telling them you appreciate them, or you loved their class really makes their day. Also, if you don’t know what you’re going to do after you graduate, don’t panic, because it’s okay. Not everyone does.”
A graduate from UNM says, “Don’t let people bully you out of doing what you want to do cause it’s your life and no one else’s.”
“I wish I had a better end game plan. Ended up not using the degree I earned.” Says another graduate.
Graduate Madison Sawyer wishes she had learned a little more about how to make your resume noticeable to potential employers. “How to make your resume bypass ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and resume sorting systems.” She says that it’s simple to do yourself once you learn and not something to pay a professional hundreds of dollars for. She also spoke about something she wishes she had done after graduating. “Also, I wish I would’ve taken my best college work and put it in a folder so I could find it for my portfolio work for employers. Sorting through four years of chaos after I graduated was not fun.”
A graduate of the University of Denver says to “forget everything they taught you about “real life.” Take away the core knowledge and lose all the BS they shoved down your throat.”
Personally, I wish that I had a better idea of what I’m going to do after graduation. So many people ask the same question of what I want to do and what I’m looking for and truthfully, I have no clue. I know what I’m good at, but I fear that won’t translate to a real-world job. I wish this were something college did help with, the anxiety of finding a job and figuring out what exactly you can bring to a workplace. My advice, as a senior getting ready for graduation, is to go with the flow and work your way to where you want to be. Don’t be afraid to quit a job and move somewhere else to get a better fit. Trust yourself to make the best decision for you.
Congratulations to the graduating class of 2021, we’ve earned it.