Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Getting Ready for Graduation

Hello, beautiful! I wanted to make a post that's extra-special. What makes it extra-special, you might ask? Well, I'm finally taking the opportunity - for the first time in a long time here on HMB - to open up about my anxieties. Specifically, my anxieties about the future.

I am one of those people who can't stand unwelcome surprises, someone who likes to have every detail of her day planned out from the minute I wake up to the second I go to sleep. So, naturally, the thought of graduating a year earlier than expected gives me serious anxiety. (Like, the kind of anxiety that makes you want to scream, cry and throw up all at the same time! Soon-to-be-grads, you know what I'm talking about...)

There's a lot of facets to consider when thinking about your life post-graduation: for instance, what kind of job do you want? Where do you want to live? Who do you want to spend it with?

I'm not promising the answers to any of these questions - but I can say with some certainty that you should do these six things before you graduate from college. That way, you'll be uber-prepared for the next chapter of your life, and won't be able to stop thinking about this exciting new leaf!

1. Save a Nest Egg

Think of your life after graduation as an investment - and like any good investment, you want to be prepared to give as much to it as you hope to get out of it later.

That's why I recommend saving a couple thou before graduating from college. You'll have a nest egg to begin your new life on, and to invest in things like paying rent, meeting with a career coach (more on this later) and a professional wardrobe to get you started in the real world.

2. Revamp Your Wardrobe

Secondly, if you're going to begin a new life as a "grown-up," you'll need to start dressing the part. The fact is that you simply can't get away with wearing your old college sweats to the office the way you could in your 8 AM lectures!

I've done several posts on building a professional wardrobe on the cheap (click here or here to check them out) here on Haley Marie Blog - but for starters, here are ten basic items I think every college girl needs to stock up on for post-grad life:
  1. Tailored blazer
  2. Pinstripe button-up
  3. Classic pencil skirt
  4. Slim cropped pants
  5. Sheer bow blouse
  6. Wool peacoat
  7. Sturdy shift dress
  8. The perfect bag
  9. Chelsea boots
  10. Sophisticated nude pumps

3. Set Relationship Boundaries

Good relationships need boundaries. Period. Take it from a girl who has been in two long-term relationships that each ended: neither relationship met my needs or matched up with the boundaries I had set for myself. It's especially important to reassess your relationships and boundaries prior to graduation, as this is a huge period of change, where many couples either get serious or decide to end the relationship!

For me, setting boundaries means getting really honest upfront about what you're looking for in a relationship. I personally would not recommend getting involved in a serious relationship if you're single prior to graduation - but I'm also not the type of girl who "just hooks up," either. And I make sure to let every single date I go on know that, so these boundaries are established from the beginning and don't become a gray area later.

4. Enjoy Your "Lasts"

There's a first and last time for everything - and as a college student getting ready to leave behind the place you've called home for the past 3-5 years, you're likely to face a lot of lasts before you graduate. Last first day of classes, last fall formal, last performance or trip with a club....the list goes on and on. And probably on some more.

Graduation can certainly make you busy - sometimes so busy that you say no to hanging out with friends, going to club activities or going out as often as you used to. But here's my advice: try saying yes more often! Chances are, you'll look back on these times and regret not enjoying those firsts and lasts while you had the opportunity. So, live your college experience to the fullest, and spend it with those who are most important to you. End of story.

5. Tune Out Haters

...and by "haters," I mean anyone who tries to tell you what you should be doing with your life, where you need to live after graduation, what your starting salary needs to be or what kind of job you need to get. Because yikes.

Seriously, though: this life is yours and yours ALONE! And it's yours for the taking. So, don't say no to your dream job or the perfect opportunity because it doesn't match up with someone else's idea of what you ought to do with your life (sorry, Dad, but it's true!). Live your life for yourself! 

6. Reach Out to Employers

Last but not least, ending on another career-focused note, you really should be reaching out to potential employers before graduation - not after! After all, wouldn't you rather be the girl with a stellar gig lined up for after graduation than the girl who's stuck in her parents' house for another long year?

From the fall of your graduation year onward, you should be reaching out to potential employers via email, submitting resumes and cover letters and messaging people you admire on LinkedIn. Like, nonstop! (Or until you finally get a job, that is.) It might seem extreme, but I truly believe that putting yourself out there is the only way to find real success. So, put yourself out there, girl! I know you can do it ;)

What's your best tip for soon-to-be college grads? LMK in the comments below or Tweet it @haleymarieblog!