Dear New Grads: Transitioning from School Life to Work Life

My sister is graduating from the Alberta College of Art and Design this very month of May 2017! I am so proud of her and excited for her … and I was inspired to talk about what I learned in the transition from school life to work life.  Click on the photo to watch the video on YouTube or read the blog-version below:

Isabel Valoria Rao VideoYouTube link: https://youtu.be/YHLx6WiWxnc

It’s been a while now since I’ve graduated university in 2012 and I spent 6 years in school. I did not go on a “Dean’s Vacation” or take a gap year or anything. That’s another story for another blog. So by the end of the 6 years, I was so happy to finish.

It is a whole a different ball game coming from school life to work life. First of all, your weekends are finally free to do whatever you wish instead of homework or studying or the dreaded group project. It is such a relief to be done school and hopefully you’ve got yourself a fancy new grad job to start making some real money. No more penny pinching, no more starving student life … you’re ready “ball ‘til the day you fall.”

But anyway, let’s start with tip #1, Do not burn bridges in school. This is especially important if you are in niche field or you’re in a small city. It is a small world and you’re guaranteed to run into old classmates during your work life. AND you may not know when you need them. Either their services or information or you may end up trying to sell them something. Try to leave all your school relationships amicably; all types of relationship, whether it’s romantic or friends or acquaintances. Stay connected through social media especially Linked In. You never know when you’d see or need them again.

#2 If you experience a quarter life crisis, don’t panic. Almost everybody goes through it although some are more dramatic than others. Maybe you find out that whatever you went to school for isn’t really what you want to do in life and that’s OK. Go back to school, get another job, or volunteer at something similar to what you think you want to do professionally and explore. Your career path is NOT set in stone and you are allowed to change your mind.

#3 Beware of burnouts. I am EXHAUSTED by the end of the work week and I have to use most of the weekend to recharge. I’m thinking back at EVERYTHING I used to do during university and I cannot remember how I did it all. I had my engineering school, my business minor, my extra curricular activities like random dance classes oh and going to the bar, and all my volunteer work … HOW?! But now that I think of it, I never took spring or summer classes so I always had a nice long 4 month summer vacation almost every year. Even though I was working for most of those summers, it was still a break compared to school. So for 8 months of the year, I was operating at 110%. Then for 4 months, I’d be at like 50% capacity, just having fun vacationing, on some sort of weight loss program or a summer internship, but nothing as exhausting as school. When I graduated, I quickly learned that operating at 110% for the entire year is not sustainable. I don’t get that sweet, sweet 4 month summer vacation anymore and I just burn OUT. And I mean DAYS of binge watching Netflix. SO I’ve learned that to keep me from dangerously burning out is to operate at like a 90 or even 80%. Now it’s kind of hard for me to admit it being a Type A, over achiever personality, but I wanted to share this lesson with you so that you can avoid the dangerous and very unproductive burnout phase.

And last but not least, #4 It is OK to fail. Another difficult thing for me to say but failing is NOT the end of the world. It may have felt like the end of the world during school because so much depends on your GPA nor did you want to go on the Dean’s Vacation after failing a lot of your courses. Now I am talking specifically in a work-life context. This does not apply to life-threatening activities like sky diving or even rock climbing. But if you fail at a task at work, it’s not the end of the world. Look at what went wrong, learn from it, do better next time. If you fail at your job or get laid off, it’s very unfortunate of course, but after some downtime, get back on that horse and find something else! Everybody fails and it’s OK. Don’t let it get you down and don’t give up on your dreams. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. So stay strong and stay YOU.

So those are some major life lessons I learned from the working world that I hope can help you, especially if you’re a new grad transitioning from school life to work life. Now if you have any tips or want to expand on something that I said, I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by!

❤ Isabel

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3 thoughts on “Dear New Grads: Transitioning from School Life to Work Life

    • Hi Jay! Thanks for your comment 🙂 the biggest challenge for me is definitely avoiding and dealing with burnouts. I have the tendency to take on any opportunity that comes my way before considering my current workload. So I am still working on finding a balance 🙂 what about yourself??

      Liked by 1 person

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