You’ve landed the internships, done the part-time jobs, and finished your degree – a full-time job can’t be that much different, can it? Yes, yes it can. Maybe it’s the more serious mentality, or the stressful transition into adulthood, but it seems like nothing can truly prepare recent college grads for that first step into the working world. As is the case with any true challenge, you just need to be thrown into it and learn from there.
As you’re preparing for that big first day, here are some truths to remember when you need perspective:
- This first job will not be your forever job. You’re quite literally starting from the bottom, and the only way to go is up. While this means that your first job probably won’t be your dream job, it does mean that the options are endless beyond this starting point.
- You will make mistakes, and that’s okay. Even if you graduated at the top of your class and have a perfect resume, you WILL mess up at some point. When it does happen, it won’t be because you’re stupid or unworthy of the job, it’ll be because you’re human. Accept these mistakes as they come and learn from them – doing so will ensure you don’t make them again.
- Go in with an open mind, especially if you find yourself in a field you didn’t expect. Everyone has to start somewhere, and plenty of college grads land a job they didn’t plan to. Maybe you won’t love what you do right away, but you’ll gain experience that can allow you to move on to something else that does excite you. Or maybe you’ll discover that you do enjoy this unplanned venture and want to continue. Either way, there are endless routes your career will take to get you to where you end up.
- Be nice to yourself. Working a 40+ hour work week is a major change from organized semesters of classes and social events. It’s easy to feel as though your whole identity is wrapped up in your job, so prioritize time to do what you WANT to do, whether it be going out with friends, traveling on the weekends, or just reading a book at the end of the day.
- Everyone else feels a bit lost too. It’s a rare person who knows exactly what she wants at 22. No matter what social media tells you, everyone else is navigating the same murky waters of uncertainty as you. It’s all trial and error right now, making any comparisons between yourself and others wildly unfair. Rather than feeling competitive, take comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone in this weird growing pain phase.