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5 Life Lessons You Don’t Learn Until You Graduate

I graduated with my bachelor’s degree over a year ago now. It seems like it was just yesterday, and since I am in graduate school to receive my master’s of Social Work, it doesn’t really feel like I’m a real adult quite yet. Well, I am now about to graduate again with my masters - done with school for good. It’s time to venture out into the real world - the job market, real estate, mortgages????? There are so many life lessons I’ve learned in the past year since I graduated, and I am going to shed some light for you in this article.

1. First and foremost, your college friends are invaluable.

They may move to different parts of the country and the world, but you know they will always be the people who know you best. My group of college best friends saw me in my best and my worst. They saw me through my highs and lows, and nothing will ever compare to that. Lean on them. Don’t take the time you live in the same city for granted. Tell them how important they are to you. Love them.

2. Keep learning.

There is always more to learn and ways to grow in your expertise. For example, I was a Spanish major during my undergraduate career. I was basically fluent by the time I graduated with my bachelor’s in Spanish Language. Now, 13 months later, I attempted to translate for a client at work and embarrassed myself at how elementary-level my Spanish was. I am now making sure that I continue to practice, read, and learn more about Spanish so I can keep the skills I learned in college.

3. Don’t take it for granted.

Thankfully, I am in graduate school at the same university that I went to for undergrad, but I have really started to realize how many resources there are available on my college campus that I won’t have once I graduate. I have access to a gym, huge libraries full of endless information and knowledge, the Career Center with highly qualified career counselors, free psychological counseling through the Center for Psychological Services, etc. There’s an endless list of resources that universities offer that will all be out of your reach once you have that diploma - use them!

4. Make connections.

You can go to all of the career fairs that you want, but you have the best networking connections standing at the front of your lecture hall. Make relationships with your professors. I currently have a professor who has worked in the exact field and career position that I want to go into. I have formed such a great relationship with her and she is helping me tremendously to plan for the job application process and what life will look like in the field. Your professors are experts on the field, and can be such great networking resources.

5. Have fun!

Everyone is correct when they say college is the most fun time of your life. Live up some Thursday nights at the bar (even when you have a 9 a.m. the next day), take road trips with your friends to see nearby towns and festivals, go on that date with the guy in your Sociology class (dating is hard once you aren’t on a college campus). Join a club that peaks your interest - you may just make some lifelong friends there. Study hard, because education is important, but have fun and make some amazing memories. Life is too short to spend all of your time in a library.

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