Life post-grad can be a mix of emotions. It’s normal to feel excited, scared, and uncertain. That’s surely the mix of emotions that we felt when graduating in 2020 with the added emotion of fear since it was during the middle of a pandemic. Although those emotions still carry on with us day to day, we do feel as though we have learned a lot throughout the years. Therefore, we wanted to share some tips that we learned as 2 years post-grads.
1) Learn to make efforts into friendships
In college, you might have taken for granted how easily you can hang out with a friend whether that’s studying at the library together, grabbing a meal together at dining halls, or going to parties together. When the proximity is so close, it makes it that much easier to keep up with the friendship. However, post-grad, you’ll see that a lot of your friends are everywhere now. Since they are no longer close to you proximity wise, you have to make sure you’re putting in efforts before you’re no longer closer friendship wise as well. You can set up a facetime call, create a plan to visit each other, or go old fashioned and even write letters to each other. Even if you find that most of your friends are close to you in distance, you’ll find out that everyone has busy lives. Therefore setting up dates for dinner, happy hour, or just a catch-up at a park will be very important to keeping a friendship alive.
2) Find a way to relieve your stress
I believe that stress is inevitable as we go through life, so it’s important to figure out an outlet where you can relieve your stress. This can be by going on a walk, chatting with a friend, or going to the gym. I personally found that going to yoga was a good space for me to only focus on the exercise without thinking about any other events happening in my life. I also always feel so good after the workout even if I didn’t want to go before. Therefore, I encourage everyone to find an outlet that can help you focus on just yourself and relieve the stress you have built up while going through life.
3) Find a mentor
In terms of career, I found it important to meet someone that you can look up to as a mentor. Through this person, you can learn a lot of different skills that you did not have before and help you motivate yourself as you move forward with your career. I found that a good mentor for me was someone who was willing to teach me skills I was curious about and someone who encouraged me to ask questions instead of shutting me down.
4) Find a hobby
This is very broad but I believe having a hobby is very important. I personally find my hobbies to be a way to express my creative side of me. For example, I really enjoy doing crafts, filming/editing, and cooking as my hobbies. However, your hobbies can be completely different from mine. I think the only thing I want to mention is that I believe social media made a huge emphasis on making hobbies into a second source of income. Although that’s great if that’s genuinely what you want to pursue, I don’t think there needs to be that pressure added. I believe that finding hobbies you enjoy just for the sake of your joy is a good enough reason.
5) Be open
I learned post-grad that everyone is truly on different journeys in life. Throughout the system of school, everyone seemed to be at the same level and same journey for the most part. However, you’ll realize that it’s completely different post-grad. Therefore, I want to put an emphasis not to compare yourself with others and just focus on your own journey. Be open to where your journey will take you and be open to where your friends are in their journey in life.
6) Your first job isn’t your last job
I remember there was so much pressure to not only find a job right after graduation, but a ‘good’ job. I truly feel lucky to have landed a job relevant to my interests, but now almost 2 years later -- so many people I know (and myself included) have switched roles or companies. I want to shed a light that no matter where you land, know that it is a good next step for where you want to be in the future! Your first role post grad doesn’t have to be your end game.
Looking back, I wish I asked earlier! Whether it was job searching, landing an opportunity, to making difficult life decisions, financial literacy, homebuying, and so much more -- I had varied questions going through my mind as I graduated. There was so much I wanted to do and I didn’t have the answers. Growing up the way I did, I wasn’t familiar with asking people who aren’t my family. But literally, just ask. You’d be surprised at how many people out there are open to helping if you just ask!
8) It’s okay to grow apart
Just as it’s important to put effort into keeping up friendships (tip #1), it ‘s also okay to grow apart. Post-grad is such an interesting time period where everyone is at different life stages. It’s okay to feel like you're not the same person you were back in college, or that when reconnecting with a friend you realize you both have grown apart. Time is so sacred as we grow older. I couldn’t keep up with every single person, especially to those who I no longer felt like I really connected with -- and while it was tough to drift, I also wanted to acknowledge that it is okay to grow apart from people too.
9) My framework for making tough career decisions:
Leadership, Role/Opportunity Scope, People
This tip is a bit different and much more specific. This past year I’ve had the privilege to choose between different roles and had to really reflect on my decision making process. When I was in undergrad, I will shamelessly say I went after brand names and salary. Now that I’ve been working post-grad I learned more about myself and what I value, and when I was given different opportunities, how does one make a decision when the salaries are so similar? To me, I think making a job change is a big deal, after all I’m spending at least 8 hours a day and 5 days a week on this. Here’s a framework I follow when choosing my next role in hopes it’s helpful to you too., 1) Leadership (what type of leader will I be under? Is this someone I can learn from and look up to?) 2) Role/Opportunity Scope (What exactly will I get to do in this role, will I be growing and learning, how does this compare against my current role?) 3) People (Do I see myself enjoying working alongside these people?).
10) Life is tough, but so are you!
You have gone through a lot of challenges to get to where you are today and you will only continue to go through more challenges postgrad. This is cliche, but don’t give up because as tough as life can be, I know you are tough too! Life postgrad isn’t just tough, but you can also have some of the best life changing experiences. I’m so excited for you and rooting you on as you embark on this journey!
We hope you enjoyed learning more about our postgrad experiences and found these 10 tips helpful, no matter where you are at in your journey. Life postgrad can mean a lot of things and you can feel varying emotions. We really feel for you when it comes to the challenging moments, and when it comes to the exciting parts, we couldn’t be more ecstatic for you. We wish you all the best and do keep us posted on how it’s going. Here’s to life post grad.
Chat soon next Thursday,
Jin and Stephanie