Dos and Don'ts for the First Year After Graduation From CollegeBy David Thompson, UniversityHerald Reporter
Graduating from college is an exhilarating experience. It's possible that for the first time that you can remember, you are no longer a student. You may feel excited about what life has in store for you, anxious about the future or some combination of these things. It's important to remember that you can bounce back from most things. Success in adulthood is not about always making the right step and never failing but about trying different things and not getting discouraged when one of them doesn't work out. At the same time, there are some things that you can do or avoid doing that will make this first year easier and more rewarding.
Don't Run Up Credit Card Debt
This can be a temptation in the first year after graduation. You might be trying to furnish your apartment or build a professional work wardrobe. You might simply be so excited that you're no longer having to live as a student that you're overspending on things like entertainment and vacations. You might also encounter unexpected expenses that seem easiest to deal with by putting them on the card.
Whatever the reason, it can be easy to whip out the plastic as a solution, but in the long run, this really creates more problems than it solves. Unless you can pay off your balance each month, interest can mount up quickly. It's better to wait and save for things that you want. For unexpected costs, work on building an emergency savings fund that will eventually contain the equivalent of a few months of basic expenses.
Do Consider Consolidating Students Loans
If you have multiple student loans, consolidation can be a good idea. You won't have to juggle multiple due dates, and you may end up with a better payment plan. At the same time, you should understand what is involved in this consolidation. You don't want seeking a consolidation to negatively affect your credit score, and for this reason, you need to know whether the lenders you are considering working with will perform a soft or hard credit inquiry in order to give you a rate estimate. You can review a guide on the differences to help you better understand how this can affect you.
Don't Rush Into Graduate School
Some people may feel tempted to attend graduate school, often because they aren't sure what else to do. It's important to understand that graduate school isn't a great solution for someone who is unfocused. Even if you need to attend graduate school as part of your career path, right after finishing your undergraduate degree may not be the best time.
You may benefit from the perspective that a few years out of school provides you. This is one reason that top MBA programs generally want candidates who have a few years of work experience under their belts. There are people for whom going on to graduate school immediately is the right choice but think carefully about your options before you commit.
Do Find a Routine
If you land a job fresh out of college, it can be tough to adjust to a regular 40-hours or more per week work schedule. On the other hand, if you don't graduate with a job, it can be easy to let the days start slipping by without getting much accomplished. In both situations, it's necessary to find a routine and adjust to it.
In the former situation, much of your routine is laid out for you, and your challenge will be getting used to it and finding time to have a social life, hobbies, and other activities around it. In the latter situation, you need to establish a job-hunting routine that is much like having a job itself. Have a set time that you wake up each day. Set goals for yourself, such as applying for a certain number of jobs. This will help you stay motivated and in a better position to find employment.