This article is meant for those that are about to graduate or are fresh graduates. Like a saying goes, “failure to plan is a planning to fail”.
Life after school can be very daunting and overwhelming for many students. While in school, most students get carried away by school fun, they only think of the moment, they seem not to care about life after school. This invariably makes them not to plan for the task ahead. This act on my Dawn’s on such students upon graduation. It is then they tend to realise life after school is not as rosy as they probably imagined. That is when “had I known” becomes the case.
Life after school is not as today and easy as most people envisage. Life after school is harder than life in school, when parents are there to provide virtually everything except in the case where as a student, you’re sponsoring your Education. Life after school is the real deal, it comes with challenges. In as much as life after school is challenging, not everyone is faced with this challenge due to prior preparation. Preparing for life after school is the only way out of challenging situations after school. Only those with foresight prepares for life after school.
Are you a student, this article will guide you, inform you and expose you to things you ought to do in preparation for life after school in order to avoid the mistakes other graduates made while still at the undergraduate level.
STEPS ON HOW TO PREPARE FOR LIFE AFTER SCHOOL OR COLLEGE
In preparing for life after school, what are the things you’re expected to do. Read on!!
1. WORK ON YOUR MINDSET
It is very common to see students making big plans before graduation. While I was an undergraduate I had beautiful plans. One of my plans was immediately after graduation, I will get a well paying job and start living living comfortable. After graduation, the reverse was the case. There was no forthcoming job. It looked as if my mate’s were doing better than I was in all ramifications.
Even if it feels like all your friends are sorted, they’re likely to be in a similar position as you.
It is completely normal to feel frustrated and tempted to start comparing yourself with others after graduation. Inorder to better handle this feeling, you have to prepare your mind ahead of time. While planning a beautiful life after graduation, also put into consideration, the possibility of these beautiful plans not working out as planned. Work of you mindset ahead of time because life after school is full of surprises. An emotionally unstable person cannot handle it. This is why some people get depressed and in some cases get suicidal.
Learning from failures. Students who have an awareness of this concept early on tend to have more of a positive mindset and this will help them hand challenges better. So work on your mindset and emotions in preparation for the task ahead.
2. BUILD NETWORKS
A lot of times, students take this for granted. They wait till after graduation before saving contacts.
This singular act is a terrible mistake. Have a cordial relationship with people you come in contact with at your undergraduate level. Don’t look down on anybody. That your coursemate might be of help in the future, that teacher, lecturer or even secretary can be of help tomorrow.
You can not build a strong network by being a bookworm and ignoring social gathering. Attend events, volunteer at events. This are places you can meet people and get contacts.
You may not be able to walk into the job of your dreams straight away. But if you make contacts and connections during your school year, you could start the process of getting there. I know the importance of making contacts and networking. It has really helped me a great deal. My first writing job was through the connection of my Secondary school class mate. Hope you can see the importance of building networks?
Graduate life can get lonely. As Buckley explains, it’s important to stay healthy and get the basics right. He advises a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, keeping fit and not abusing alcohol and drugs.
3. MONEY/CREDIT SMART
Life after school can be very frustrating without money. If you must get through this, you must be money smart, you must be financially intelligent. Not too many student think are financially intelligent. All they think of is spending the money as it comes in, they want to live large in school. They are concerned about the “now” and not the future”.
I think all students should be exposed to a course on personal finance or financial literacy. Students need to learn how to be responsible with money, how to save and how to pay bills. Students need to imbibe a saving habit in preparating for life after school.
4. ACQUIRE SKILLS
As a student, you have to know that what you studied and the grades you graduated with is not enough. School may not teach you this and you’ll end up finding out after graduation. If you have scale through the challenges that comes with life after school, acquire a skill(s). Skills however, can be Soft or hard skills.
Soft skills are skills that are either acquired from previous work experiences or self developed in the course of life. Examples of soft skills include, interpersonal skills, leadership, adaptability, communication skills etc, while hard skills are skills that are learned, mostly require training. They are mostly technical skills.
Examples of hard skills includes, coding ability, graphics designing, fashion designing, catering, etc.
Some top skills employers look for in graduates are;
- Interpersonal relationship skills
- Time management
- Decision making skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- Emotional intelligence
- Creative problem solving skill
- Good communication and writing skills.
A Business owner wants a graduate that possesses most if not all of these skills. An employer needs one who can add value to his organization If you are without such skills, the labour market will be so unfavourable.
Employers are after your skills as a graduate, they are not interested to know when and how you acquired it, especially hard skills. It is however wise and advisable to go extra miles as an undergraduate to acquire these skills.
Go for training, take up internship jobs, volunteer etc.These are the best ways to gain experience and acquire these skills before becoming a graduate. No lecturer will teach you this in school.
Can you cook? Sew? Do you know basic first-aid? These basic life skills will come in handy when when you enter the real world.
Bot acquiring a hard skill before graduation is one thing I regret everyday. This is why I enrolled for fashion designing after graduation. You don’t have to wait to graduate before acquiring a skill. It is extremely helpful after school.
5. TIME MANAGEMENT
If you failed at time management as a student, you will certainly fail as a graduate. After school, virtually everything you do requires to be conscious of time. If you’re a pathetic late comer there is no way you can meet up with interviews, there is no way you can meet up with deadlines. You learn to manage time while in school. Learning time management after school can be dangerous.
Thus, students need to be taught how to create timelines of when upcoming work is due, while setting small, achievable goals along the way.
6. WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Being able to balance your work life with your social/home life is something that can prevent a great deal of stress in newly-graduating students. Students need to be taught a healthy way to balance their responsibilities at work, while at the same time, being able to enjoy their personal lives. However, you can learn this work/ life balance as a student by balancing studying/fun.
7. CAREER PLANNING
While this important and important information for every student, it is most important for students in their final academic year.
Job hunting, resumes, cover letters, interviews, these are the necessities that every student need to master in order to be successful after graduation. At this point try to attend more seminars and conferences.This ensures that students leave the class with some sort of career awareness, especially if they have not had the opportunity to take a career preparation course.
As you look forward to your final year, you might be more interested in having all the fun there is, attending all the parties and social gatherings as a last minute school experience. Nobody says you shouldn’t have fun after all it’s your last stage as a student but while getting involved with every activity, remember that while you’re saying goodbye to that phase of life, you’re stepping into the more serious phase of your life. The life after school.
Here are a few things to do at this stage:
8. PREPARE YOUR RESUME
This is where many graduates are getting it all wrong. Having a mind-blowing result and skill is good, but how do you present this information in your CV? Your CV/ Resumé is what presents you to any employer first, before you are invited for an interview.
Some graduates have searched for employment for years to no avail, your CV might just be your problem. Have a good and catchy CV, if you cannot construct one, employ the services of an expert to help you do so. You would not want your CV to be tossed aside when a business owner comes in contact with it.
You do not need to lie in your CV, just be professional about the information. This is another important aspect, business owners look out for in graduates.
So, do you have a resume yet? If so, it’s time to update it. If not, it’s time to create one. If you don’t know where to start, there are many places you can get it done. Include any jobs you’ve had as well as your education and other experiences that have make you a good candidate for the entry-level jobs you want. There are a lot of ways that your college experiences can boost your resume.
9. ACQUIRE EXPERIENCE
A business owner is after a graduate with experience. it is easier to see a graduate with ample working experience in foreign countries . Over there, students are given the opportunity to work while schooling but for those of us here in Africa, Nigeria precisely, finding a graduate with such experience business owners seek, is a herculean task but notwithstanding ,there are ways to get such experience, such includes taking up internship jobs,volunteering etc. Such avenues help an undergraduate to gain experience which will be highly useful when seeking for a job as a graduate. These experiences will help boost your CV.
10. BUILD A KILLER SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE
Why wait? LinkedIn is a powerful networking site for professionals on the web, and hiring managers and recruiters use it every day to assess applicants. You don’t want to just have a presence on LinkedIn, you want a strong, professional presence. There’s no reason you have to wait until you are out of school.
Same goes to your Facebook, Twitter and other accounts. Start thinking about your online presence. You may have had a lot of fun over the last few years no doubt. Chances are your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles are a digital record of a lot of those good times. Yet as you get ready to graduate and try to land your new career, it’s time to think about what types of things you have out there on the internet that might not look too flattering to a prospective employer.
The fact is that some employers visit social media profiles of prospective employees and trust me, no sane employer can consider hiring you after stumbling on a picture where you were seen smoking and getting tipsy.If you don’t think that hiring managers and recruiters look at those sites, you’re wrong.
Once your profile is in place, start actively using the website. Follow people and groups who are relevant to your field of study, connect with people you know, and ask for recommendations from those who have worked with you. Soon you’ll have a whole new network of possibilities on just one website.
11. THINK ABOUT INTERVIEWS AND PERFORMANCE
This is very important. Think about job interviews
If public speaking and interviewing is difficult for you, now is the time to try to find a class or help from your career center. There are even tech resources to help you out. A little bit of practice goes a long way.
A professional and well-constructed CV only offers you the opportunity for a scheduled interview. That is when you are given the opportunity to prove yourself. Right from the moment you step into the room, the employer has started observing, he pays attention to every detail, he wants to be sure you possess what is contained in your CV.
You may not know the answer to every question you’re asked, but try your best to convince your employer, show some confidence, high level of self confidence is expected from you in an interview session. So prepare for job interviews even before you graduate.
Your well-being comes first and learning to stay healthy is the key to a successful life. After school, you may find yourself in a totally different environment where there are family members. At this point your well-being is in your hands. To survive this, it all starts from when you are a student. If you were not able to take care of your health as a student, doing so as a graduate as a student might be difficult.
The mistake lots of people make is waiting to do the necessary things after school. You don’t need to wait till you graduate before you do the necessary things in preparation for life after school. If there any better time to prepare your CV, create a catchy online profile, acquire a skill, opt for internships and volunteering duties, build a strong network of people.
You don’t have to to wait till you graduate before having a savings. Many people you see today setting up small businesses after school got the capital from the money they saved while in school. If you must have a stress free life after school experience, you must learn to plan ahead of time, start the planning before graduation.
There is no better way to prepare for life after school than while in school.
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Chioma Oparah is a very talented and passionate freelance writer that has dedicated her skill in helping young minds to self-discovery. She has 4 years of experience in the field of content writing.