5 Things I Learned After Graduation

Written by: 

Taylor Castillo, PR Coordinator 

Graduating College was one of the most exciting experiences I have ever had. I was fortunate enough to walk across the stage and accept my diploma with some of my best friends and had my family there to cheer me on. I shook hands with faculty members which signified the end of my college career. The day was filled with so much excitement I almost forgot about the reality that was about to set in. I have to be an adult now. I never realized how much I would change and grow professionally just a year after graduating. Looking back on the year I’ve had no longer going to classes and turning in projects, I have learned a lot about myself and lessons on what being an adult with a full time job actually means, but here are the 5 that I am constantly reminded of:

  1. Set yourself up for success- One thing to know BEFORE you graduate is to get involved!! Step outside of your comfort zone and join a club or run for a leadership position. Do more than just what is required from you in class. No employer is going to care about the marketing report you wrote last Spring that you aced. They want to know about your internships and what kind of experience you have, whether it’s from an actual job or what you’ve learned while being the President of a volunteer club. Make yourself look good on paper, then wow them with your shining personality.
  2. You will learn SO much more out of the classroom- Once you’re out in the real world job searching, going through interviews, getting rejected, going on another interview, and finally landing a job (it doesn’t have to be your dream job, but a good starting point) that is when you really begin to realize your many strengths and weaknesses. This is a great time to make huge mistakes and learn from them. It’s also a time to keep learning new things. Just because you are a college graduate, doesn’t mean you magically know everything. Which brings me to my next point:
  3. Just because you have a degree, doesn’t mean you are guaranteed a job- There are thousands of other people out there who also just graduated and received their degree. What makes you stand out amongst all of them? The work isn’t done the second you finish your last exam during finals week or even once your actual degree shows up in the mail with your name on it. The work starts now. Everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t try to reach for the stars right away. Get your foot in the door at a good company or small start-up and gain some experience. Trust me, you’ll feel way more prepared for the bigger jobs after a year or two of hard work and dedication to expanding your network and knowledge. You can’t learn everything you need to know in a classroom, so get out there and learn it for yourself!
  4. Ellensburg is the BEST place to live- If you’re one of those people who can’t wait to graduate and move back home, well, good luck. Sure, you might be back with all your friends and your family, but what now? I was in no rush to leave Ellensburg after I graduated. One, because I love it here, and two, because I can afford to live here. It is very rare to land a job and instantly be making the big bucks like you’ve always dreamed of. That’ll happen, eventually, but for now be smart and take advantage of the perks that come with living in a small town. Sure you can move back in with your parents and save money on rent, but let’s be real, do you really want to do that?
  5. Paying student loans REALLY sucks- Be smart, work while you’re still in school and save up some money. If you can, try to pay for college on your own or take out the smallest loan possible. Once you see that huge number next to the words “remaining loan balance” you might start to question this whole college thing, but don’t get too stressed. At this point, almost everyone I know has student loan debt as if it’s just a way of life. You can always use it as an ice breaker when you meet new people: “Student loans suck, am I right?” No one will ever disagree with that statement!

Whether you are about to graduate in a couple weeks, just now starting college, or you’ve been graduated for a while and still haven’t found the right job that matches your degree, you’ll be okay. We all have to start somewhere and no matter where that may be, you are always learning something new about yourself or what you’re passionate about. If you feel as if you’re not learning anything valuable, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. You never know, the next big thing for you may just be here in Ellensburg.

A great place to discuss all of the above is at the upcoming YoPro Week events. Join us for three events this week celebrating and connecting young professionals in the community. Learn more by clicking HERE