Before Tossing Your Cap – Here are 5 Takeaways For Graduating Seniors

Flowers aren’t the only things that bloom in May… for college seniors, it’s a time to bloom out of school and into the real world.

There is no doubt that the hype around graduating can be exciting and a little scary at the same time. For many students, concerns consist of landing a good paying job in their career field, paying off student loans, and taking on the responsibilities of adulthood. For seniors in college, read on for five must-know takeaways before stepping past the finish line.

1. Take Advantage of Your Professors/Career Center

“No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks”! Do you remember that childhood rhyme or is it just me?

Growing up, I remember when school was coming to an end and summer was approaching. This meant that I would no longer have to see some of my most annoying teachers. At times, I hoped not to see them and their “dirty looks” again the following year. However, thinking back on it, particularly my college years, I wish I stayed in contact with my professors.

Professors are a great resource as it pertains to specific jobs that may be open in your career field. They often know exactly who to connect you to. With that being said, ask questions, seek their guidance, and advice. After all, it’s not what you know so much nowadays, but who you know. Additionally, utilize your career center at school. They offer tons of support such as resume and cover letter writing, mock interviews, and computer access for job searching.

2. Job Rejection Is Tough… But You’re Tougher

Every no you receive in your life leads you closer to your yes. The overwhelming desire to land a job in your field of study immediately after college can be challenging. The most important thing to remember is how to handle the rejection. Use rejection to dissect and learn from. There are many factors resulting in rejection that may be out of your control, such as an overlooked or misplaced application.

Although it can be discouraging, try to learn and grow through every disappointment and never give up. Perhaps, you may have to temporarily take a job that’s different from your career field or the position offered doesn’t pay that well.

// Related Article: Dealing With Rejection //

3. Six Months No Interest?

I don’t know a single person that looks forward to paying back student loans. Fortunately, for the first six months, you have what is called a grace period. This means you are free of paying back any student loans for up to six months. More importantly, no interest is accrued during the grace period for subsidized loans. Pretty nice, right? I’ll say.

Essentially, this helps alleviate interest capitalization. Interest capitalization is when the interest that accrued during the grace period is added to the loan principal when the repayment period begins. With that said, if you’re in the position to start paying off your student loans prior to the grace period ending, you should do it.

For some of you grads, you may be reading this and thinking I’m crazy for even suggesting this at a time when you’re trying to secure work and other adult responsibilities. But even if you can’t pay on your loans early, you should try to pay them off when the repayment period begins so that a 10-year repayment plan doesn’t turn into a 20-year plan. Be sure to stay educated and know your repayment plan ahead of time before you start to make payments. For more information on student loans visit: StudentLoanBorrowerAssistance.org

4. Network Network Network

As I mentioned prior, in today’s society it’s not so much what you know but who you know. This is why networking is so important. Let people know you are searching for work, internships, or career advising.  You’ll be surprised how much of a plug they can be and who they can recommend you to.

Furthermore, say yes to networking events or events in general. Put yourself in a position to talk and interact with other people. It will surely pay off in the long run.

// Related Article: Networking Starter Kit //

via @hercampus

5. Have Fun!

Seriously grads, have fun! Before graduation hits, turn up with your friends. Hit up all the hot spots on and surrounding your college campus. Don’t miss out. Live in the moment and embrace this chapter in your life before it ends. Soon everything will just be memories. You’ll be focusing more on securing a job and maneuvering the adult responsibilities that you’ll be hit within the real world. With that being said, go out, laugh, maybe plan a mini road trip, and take lots of pictures before life gets too serious. And trust me, it will!

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