You’ve graduated from College? Now What?

Don’t panic; the fun is truly just beginning, if you let it.

Graduation is supposed to be this memorable moment in your life, but it can be staggering as well. Suddenly you start wondering what will happen next, since your college years were carefully planned out for you. Now life is just starting and you’re on your own – with your degree…and dreams.

Some of you will already have jobs lined up and others will take a year, or more to acquire that first job in the field. Others will go find new opportunities in something completely unexpected. Whichever path you choose, you will experience one thing for sure, self-doubt. So why am I telling you not to panic?

The years after college are as much an experiment as the several years you were in college. Take this as a new challenge, life will continue to be full of them. You will go through all the emotions, from being happy, enthusiastic, optimistic to apprehensive, scared and whatever else you can think of. The thing that frightened me the most was that the longer I was out of college, the further away from broadcasting I was. “Why did you go to school?” a voice said inside my head, “What a waste!” another voice said. In truth, everything I did in college has prepared me for the opportunities that were placed in front of me. It just took me some time to realize it. It wasn’t exactly broadcasting, but there were a lot more crossovers than I realized.

My skills as an athlete at Temple University have helped brand my career as a personal trainer and passion to coach other individuals to their goals. My skills as a broadcaster have made me a great communicator to my clients and speaker in front of group fitness classes of 30 and more students. I bring this up because it’s natural for all of us to validate our college accomplishments and education. I thought I was going to be a force in the industry. Four years later, I’ve discovered how much happier I am in a life structured by health and fitness and I would have never known it, if things had gone “according to plan.” The truth is the longer I’m in the health and fitness industry, the closer I am to incorporating my broadcasting into my career again. There are many ways for me to have both.

Back to our original point, don’t panic. College has ended, or the date is coming up soon. Here are some of the things you might be aware of to make that transition as smooth as possible…

1. Talk to Professors – find a Mentor
Seek advice from the people you trust and, or has made an impact on you. They have been in your “shoes” and they know what they are talking about. College is about learning and networking but keep in mind that the first professional years are still part of your learning process.

2. Your path is your own
Do not get caught up in what others are doing. You are not them and your situation is your own. It’s easy to get caught up in the success of others — be happy for them, but find your own path. You will find that other students may not be so friendly in trying to help you find your way, don’t take it personal — they are just as confused as you are. Passion is a key ingredient for success. You need to love what you are doing to generate continued success. Everybody has a talent – especially your peers who are showing off the same degree as you are. That piece of paper may give you the opportunity to get the interview, but afterwards it’s a matter of who will work harder and who will make the sacrifices.

3. Solidify living conditions
Are you considering moving back home, or stake territory somewhere else? Use your resources — moving back home isn’t a failure, saving money might be essential. However, don’t pass up a great opportunity to take a job that requires you to relocate — now is the time to take chances. As you get older, it gets harder to relocate and take chances.

4. Don’t get discouraged
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve felt discouraged in the last 10 years, I wouldn’t need to work. Keep working. Passion and drive will open doors for you, they just might not always be as clear as you think. Every single experience, bad or good, makes you grow. We all make mistakes and we all learn from them. Your wisdom and decision making will improve from these things. They will bring you that perspective that will lead you to your goals.

Don’t panic. Life is changing, but if you allow, it will continue to be an amazing ride.

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