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5 Things Nobody Tells you About Graduating from College

5 Things Nobody Tells you About Graduating from College

So you’re entering your final year in college and prepping to graduate. Now get a job, ya deadbeat! If you think reality TV is crazy, wait until you see reality. A career, home, family—you’re looking down the barrel of a lot of long-term commitments. You’ll hear a lot of motivational speeches during your graduation ceremony about how you should follow your dreams because the future of our world depends on you. I’m not here to fill your head with gum drop dreams of you becoming the next leader of the free world. I’m here to give it to you straight. Here are five things nobody tells you about graduating from college that you seriously need to understand…

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    1. Grades Don’t Matter

    You put your nose to the grindstone and got straight As throughout your schooling. That’ll get your foot in a couple of doors, but in six months, your grades will mean absolutely nothing. You’re not in school anymore. Nobody cares how many points you score in practice. When you go pro, you’re only as good as your last project. If you ruin a data import that pushes the company behind and costs millions of dollars, the 24-hour on-call IT and accounting managers who have to fix your problem aren’t interested in your ability to guess the right answer on true/false quizzes. Don’t rest on your laurels.

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    To counter this trapping, keep working harder. Don’t expect to get hired for an executive-level position straight out of college. You’re likely going to have to start at the bottom somewhere. Odds are you’ll be working for someone with a lesser degree than your own; don’t let it get to you. Keep working harder. People grade you in the real world by giving you their money. Keep doing your homework and reaching for those high grades, and you’ll eventually see a payout.

    2. You’re All, “A Loan…”

    Haha, you got ripped off, dude. First off, I hope you noticed the majority of your textbooks weren’t available on Kindle. When Reddit founder Aaron Swartz noticed educational information isn’t publicly available and attempted to correct the situation by downloading and releasing educational databases, he was prosecuted to the fullest extent of outdated digital laws. That’s a sign of a huge racket refusing to change. To make matters worse, you’re stuck with a $100 History of Ancient Rome textbook you’ll never crack open again because a new edition has been released with new information about something that happened 3000 years ago that’s relevant enough to necessitate the release of a new edition. If that’s not bad enough, you took out loans to pay for all of this insanity.

    Stafford and Sallie Mae are a disease transferred to your social security number when you were getting nailed by your school. The debt from financial aid never goes away, and it’s immune to bankruptcy. If you let it go untreated, your pay will be garnished to automatically pay for it (which may or may not leave you with enough left over to continue living your lifestyle). The only thing you can do is treat it with monthly payments.

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      3. You Should’ve Dropped Out

      I never got a degree myself. It’s not that I didn’t have enough credits or intelligence; I just never wanted to give credit for all of my future accomplishments to some university. The idea of being haunted for the rest of my life by letters from the alumni association asking for money was too much for me to handle. Despite dropping out, I’ve had a pretty good run thus far. At Bank of America, I was working alongside people with degrees. I even managed quite a few of those people. Since I left the bank, I worked to build a career as a writer, and my career was accomplished enough that nobody ever asked whether or not I have a degree.

      Anecdotes aside, plenty of people are successful without a college degree. You may not be Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, but you still have a lot more options without graduating than you do by graduating. Even if you don’t drop out completely forever, drop out for at least a year. It will only set you back a year up front, and you’ll more than make up for that in the long run with the experience and wisdom you gain by traveling, pursuing a dream career in the arts, and just living life. Once you’re ready to graduate, come back and get that albatross of a degree to hang around your neck. No harm, no foul.

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      4. Employment Isn’t Guaranteed

      Once you graduate, you’ll be placed in a position you like that’s related to your degree, and everything will work out. If you think that last sentence was true in any way, you’re wrong…but you’re not alone. A lot of us thought life worked that way at one point or another – I know people in their 50s and 60s who still feel entitled. It’s not your fault; people throughout the education system were feeding us the Kool-Aid, and we trust them because they’re educators. It turns out you can’t trust anyone in life.

      The National Association of Colleges and Employers estimates over 1.7 million people will earn a bachelor’s degree in 2013. You may have heard the term “one in a million” used to reference you in a good way, but when you’re one of the 1.7 million people clamoring for the same jobs, the odds are against you. You may have to accept a job you don’t like or feel is beneath you. Make sure you only do this if it’s related to your actual dream job. There’s no shame in a call center or manual labor position, but those “transition jobs” you take while waiting for your dream career can quickly drain your time. The next thing you know, you’re a career McManager. Be prepared, and be willing to look outside of your box. Learn more about how to effectively search for jobs with this Lifehack.

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        5. Don’t Forget Anything You Learned

        When you start your new job, someone will tell you to, “forget everything you hear.” What they’re trying to tell you is that your book learning isn’t going to help you in the real job. This is true to a point, but somewhat of a misnomer.

        It’s true that you’ll learn a lot of proprietary information in your job that you couldn’t possibly have learned in school. There are also classes (Computer, Accounting, etc.) you took once, twice, or even every year that you’ll never use. Just because you took an accounting class doesn’t mean any company in their right mind would allow you to touch their accounting data if you’re not an actual accountant. The thing is, what you learned in school is important, and you should be mindful of discrepancies.

        If you were working at Enron, Worldcom, Countrywide, etc. during the collapse of these companies, there’s a good chance you were unaware you were even doing anything illegal. Even if you were aware, you likely didn’t do anything to stop it. This is because you forgot what you learned in school. Ethics matter, and you’re not always going to learn them in the real world. All the basic foundational skills and facts you learned in school are extremely important; never forget that… no matter what anyone tells you.

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        Last Updated on July 13, 2020

        How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

        How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

        Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

        If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

        1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

        The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

        Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

        For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

        The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

        2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

        Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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        As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

        Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

        3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

        Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

          This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

          We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

          Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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          When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

          Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

          4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

          Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

          For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

          Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

          5. Make Decisions

          For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

          If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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          If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

          Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

          I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

          This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

          The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

          6. Take Some Form of Action

          Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

          The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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          It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

          Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

          The Bottom Line

          Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

          When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

          More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

          Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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