The transition from college to the “real-world” can be hard, confusing, and especially demanding. You’ve always been asked, “what’s next”? In order to answer that question, here is some advice for college graduates.

Take Advantage of Your Network

Take advantage of UMBC’s alumni network. Reach out to these connections and see what you can learn. Rather than directly asking for a job, ask them for career stories and advice regarding them, their company, and what you can do. Don’t be afraid to connect to successful alumni working in the field that interests you.

On that Note, Meet New People!

Meeting new people is scary, but it’s also exciting. This can lead to expanding your network. It can also help you be more comfortable with talking to strangers, which can boost your confidence in the workplace and help you grow your professional network.

Make Time for Important Things

Post-grad-work-life balance is difficult! Having a balance of these things will not only help your adjustment into the real world easier, but it will also make you happy. Starting a new job is exciting, but don’t forget about your life outside of work. Make time for your friends, family, and what makes you happy.

Learn New Skills

Your first job after college may or may not be your dream job. Either way, take advantage of whatever you’re doing. Answering phone calls? Writing emails? Making spreadsheets? Master those skills. They can strengthen your resume.

Move at Your Own Pace

Even though you and your friends have graduated in the same class, you’re all at different points in your life. Don’t compare yourself to your peers. Find what’s right for you, doing exactly what you want to do, not what you “should” be doing. Grow through what you go through and take whatever time you need to do that to become the best professional you can be.

Discover Your Likes and Dislikes

This is the perfect time for you to figure out exactly what it is you want to do. Trust your intuition in recognizing what’s right for you. At the same time, don’t quit your job when you’re just a week in because it’s not what you want to do. Give it some time so you can have the right data and experiences to help with such a decision.

Become a Boss at Budgeting

Getting your first “real” paycheck is one of the best feelings. Do not spend it all. Take care of your bills and financial obligations first and then feel free to indulge in that purse or suit you’ve always wanted. The greatest piece of advice I’ve read is to “use your newfound independence to try the things you’ve always wanted to, and most importantly, embrace the uncertainty of “the real world.”

Live in the Moment

Don’t stress out too much. Everything will fall into place. Live your life. Be in the moment. Enjoy this chapter in your life. You can’t fully control what’s going to happen in the future, so be present.


If you’re looking to take your career to the next level, consider one of our applied professional master’s or graduate certificate programs at UMBC.

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