Relearning the ABC’s After College

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It is common knowledge that college is the time for learning. It is the time to explore your interests. It is the time to redefine your boundaries. In short, it is about learning about yourself and where you fit into the context of the wider world.

But once you walk across that stage in your cap and gown to get your diploma, learning does not stop. Learning is a life long process that continues even beyond college, even after you’ve landed that amazing job at a Fortune 500 company.

I can even argue that the six months after college graduation is even more vital than the entire four years put together. Yes, you are learning essential skills in college. But after college, when you are thrown out into the real world, you have to put those skills into practice.

You’ve probably landed an internship, a freelance gig, or an entry level position. This is the time when you have to not only use the skills that you’ve gained, but continue to build upon them. Knowledge isĀ never stagnant. Knowledge will continue to build upon itself, in almost every field.

With that said, after college, you will find yourself going ‘back to basics.’ Essentially, you will relearn the ABCs:

Affirm your desires.

College was about figuring out what you wanted to major in. Post-college (and sometimes even before) is about figuring out how you want to use your degree. Once you know what you want to do, then go for it. Knowing what you want is the easiest part. Let the knowledge of what you want fill every bone in your body. Embody confidence that you will do well and that that will be your calling.

Brand yourself.

Whether you are prepping for that job interview or working on your social media presence, make sure that you are conveying your best self. Be honest and authentic. Be intelligent and creative. Add a little bit of spontaneity. Be professional and relatable in your communication style. Be truer than your best self.

Continue to enhance.

So, you might not be successful at that job interview. Perhaps it wasn’t a good fit. Whatever the reason, don’t give up. The six months after college are the most important months. Keep applying to jobs. Seek out assistance from the career office at your alma mater. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with industry experts and get new job leads. Become an entrepreneur. Start a blog. Write. Create YouTube videos. Host Periscope videos. Become an expert in your field. Keep practicing your skills. Eventually, the right job will find you.

Where are you in your job search? Or, if you’ve landed that perfect job (kudos!), any words of advice that you’d like to share?

 

4 Organizational Tips for the Online Student

As an online student, it is important to be organized. Being organized can make your educational experience less painful and stressful. Your homework can seem less daunting. And when you are calm and not stressed, then your work will reflect that.

4 Organizational Tips for the Online Student

1. Use binders!

20150515_212301At the end of every term, I get two binders and fill them with loose leaf paper. I then log onto Blackboard and put out the syllabus, rubrics and any other required reading, such as an article. I punch holes in them with my handy pink hole puncher. The paperwork goes inside the binder.

It’s not very fancy. It is pretty simple. But it works for me. What is most important is that my two classes are kept separate and all resources are printed out for further perusal.

2. Use a filing system!

Filing SystemAt the completion of every term, I take everything out of the binders. I file all of my school papers into a filing system. This way, my school papers are easy to access. I’m the kind of person who does not like to throw away school stuff and textbooks. Just in case I need it if a fellow student had a question about a course that I already took.

3. Use a to-do list!

to-do listTo-do lists are amazing for keeping life organized. When I have a lot of things I’ve got to do (which is often) I grab a piece of paper and write down everything I need to get done. As I complete each task, I cross it off my list. This is also an effective time management tool.

4. Use color!

HighlightersBrighten up your life with some color! Use highlighters! I highlight my rubrics and textbooks. It’s a great way to make important words pop out.

Comment below and tell me what you use to organize your life.

Being Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

A very wise person once told me that I need to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I did not understand what he meant then.

But eventually, it hit me. It means that I need to take risks. I need to be comfortable doing things that I don’t like to do out of fear or some other reason. I need to put myself out there.

Doing the same things over and over again in a very repetitious manner can be boring. But it can also be comfortable. We like things that are safe. Being safe ensures survival. But when we constantly are engaging in safe things, then there is no opportunity for growth.

Recently, I hosted a Google Hangout with some of my friends at my school. As you may already know, I attend college online. One thing that I’ve been missing is the face-to-face interactions that are the norm at traditional colleges. Now, the Google Hangout was a very casual exchange. It was equivalent to a group of friends meeting in the dining hall for lunch on campus.

But I’m not going to lie. I was pretty terrified prior to the meeting. I have a fear of public speaking, and it seems to increase in an online environment.

But instead of letting this fear define me or hold me back, I confronted it head on. I hosted a Google Hangout meeting because I wanted to get comfortable with video conferencing.

I’m not going to say that I’m a pro at video conferencing now. I would need more exposure before I’m really truly comfortable. But it was a start. And I felt proud of myself for taking this risk and confronting my fear.