You Graduated College - What's Next?

Blog Author Tyler Baccus

Written by: Tyler Baccus, Application Support Specialist, E-Services

Published: June 8, 2016

Found in: News/Press

Student loans. Pay 'em if ya got 'em, so you can transition from a broke college student to a broke adult. All joking aside, this is the type of debt you do not want following you for the rest of your life. Contact your student loan servicer if you are having difficulty making payments, most will be able to work with you based on your current employment status or income level. Whatever you do, do not let them go delinquent. If you just cannot make payments a deferment may be available to you, this postpones your payments but your loans still accrue interest.

Learn to budget and organize your debt. This is a key skill and knowing how to minimize your spending or organize where your money is going will pay off in the long run. Once you have a budget, stick to it. This includes getting a 401(k) and consolidating any loans. Don't forget to alert your lenders of any address changes. Your first student loan payment will be due 6 months after graduation.

It's okay to move back home. 40% of us end up doing it. There is no shame in moving back in with your parental units - this is one of the most fiscally responsible decisions you can make post-graduation, especially if you are paying back your student loans. Hopefully while you are at home, you will not be burdened the expenses of living on your own. Use this time wisely and make extra principle payments, if you can.

Use your network. The friendships and connections you made during your time getting a higher education can be used to build your career. This includes professors, TAs, or fellow alumni you may have never met. You never know, some of those alumni might be in a position to land you an interview. This ties in with my next point.

Focusing on YOUR success is imperative. Someone in your network/circle of friends might make it big; don't let that discourage you. Comparison traps are dangerous. Success and happiness are not mutually exclusive. After all, the education you received is for you.

Sell back your textbooks. Companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble will buy your old textbooks and depending on how you acquired them you may end making some money back. This is also giving a current college student the chance to save some money on textbooks by buying your old ones. You can also remove the middle man; most colleges have a buy/sell message board so you can sell directly to your fellow *insert college mascot*.

Resumes and interviews. If you were not taking the opportunity as a teen to hone your job hunting skills, now is the time to do it. Having a good interview and resume can make up for lack of experience in some cases. What about that shiny new college degree? Does that mean something? It does, but you may not like what I am about to tell you.

Starve the ego. A college degree does not entitle you to a job; most employers will not be as impressed as you are with your education and grades. This is the harsh reality of our times. However, this does not apply to all majors and degrees. A college degree does open up doors for interviews you never would have been able to get without it. Your education and experience are what you make of them and it is simply not enough to have the tools. You need to know how to use them.

Learn to negotiate. This goes beyond salary negotiation or attempting to get a raise at work. We negotiate almost every day, from lowering a bill to conflict resolution. Keep in mind it is not about getting what you want; it is about compromise and seeking a win-win outcome for all involved.

Lastly, do not forget to breathe. This may seem like an obvious statement; however, today's college graduates are faced with less opportunity and more debt than their parents - this IS overwhelming no matter who you are. Sometimes taking a step back to just breathe puts things in perspective and will enable you to make a smarter decision.

Tyler Baccus