Hey everyone! In case you haven’t heard, I’m a fully employed adult-human now!
Recently, I found out that it’s August. This means that I have officially survived year one of adulthood, and I’ve decided to write about what it’s been like as a college grad starting a career. (The following has been edited and exaggerated to make me seem cool.)
Accepting the unpaid internship, crying, moving on.
Today’s “entry-level” job is incontestably the unpaid intern. While none of us are completely over the moon about this type of
slave labor unpaid experience, it’s a rite of passage for young professionals. Unfortunately, not all internships are created equal, and some are just god-awful, so it’s best to quickly discern the highlights of your experience and learn how to talk those up to any future employers. Fortunately for me, my internships enabled me to learn more about my industry than I thought to be possible at such an early stage in my career. As far as life outside of the internship goes, most of us will have to work at least one (and sometimes two) part-time jobs to pay the bills. In my case, I worked two part-time jobs in addition to my internships. I do not miss that life.
Something that recent grads tend to struggle with is the fact that you will have friends that get job offers as soon as they graduate. DO NOT LET THIS GET TO YOU. It’s extremely important to remember that people navigate through life on their own paths. Your personal measure of growth should never be based on the events taking place in someone else’s journey.
Tips: Be curious, dress well, go the extra mile and make time to build solid, professional relationships.
The apartment hunt struggle!
Looking for an apartment on a college-grad budget in a city where you know absolutely no one is the WORST. If you’re moving without a job already in place, like I did, trying to convince a landlord to rent to you is like pulling teeth – or herding cats. Actually, yes, it’s like herding cats. It’s HARD. Many people just don’t feel comfortable leasing to someone in their early twenties, and they’ll usually ask for a co-signer. I think I toured about nine different properties that didn’t work out. I eventually turned to Craigslist and found a really nice studio in one of Philly’s best neighborhoods for young professionals. (Manayunk, in case you’re wondering.) Also, this is a totally acceptable circumstance in which to use Craigslist. You’ll find that it’s a great tool in larger cities. Just be smart about it.
And yes, getting to style your new place is just as much fun as you think it is.
Tip: Save as much money before your move as you can, landlords are a lot more willing to work with you when you can put down a bigger $ecurity depo$it.
Okay great, where is that again?
You’re a diploma-wielding fish out of water who can’t figure out where anything is – and that’s totally okay! Exploring and experiencing the unfamiliar neighborhoods, restaurants, cafes and hidden gems in your city are all a part of what makes this transition interesting. I allowed myself a month of using my GPS to get around, and then I forced myself to learn the lay of the land. (I got lost, frequently.) However, I will say that getting lost never frustrated me too much. Each wrong turn put me in front of something that I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. It didn’t hurt that Philly is like the Portland of Pennsylvania. Everything is beautiful and weird and it’s amazing.
Tip: Get out and visit a part of the city that you’ve never seen before. Staying indoors with your Netflix account and crushing self-doubt gets really old, really quick.
Making the most of every moment.
At times you’ll have an entire month of bad days, you’ll doubt every single choice you’ve made up until this point, you’ll lose touch with friends back home and you’ll think that no one else in the world is a stressed out as you are right now. Guess what? That’s life. We’re all going through same things together. Nothing worthwhile happens overnight. Not a career, not a relationship and certainly not understanding your purpose in life. Things take time, and as long as you have faith and determination, you will get there. I promise.
It took me a while to accept this, and once I chose to stop fighting it, my outlook on things did a 180. I’m young, healthy, educated and I have an enormous network of friends and family who support me.
The past year has been a lesson in humility, personal growth and gratitude.
“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides.”
–Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver