Graduation can be a stressful occasion for any college student: especially when it comes early. As the end of fall semester gets closer, many students are feeling pressure to prepare for the real world. If you have the opportunity to graduate early, there is no need to panic; here are five tips for how to survive graduating early.
1. Start the Job Search ASAP
It is no surprise that graduating early means that you need to start job searching early. As soon as you find out your graduation date, it is time to be on the lookout for potential employers.
Though graduating early is a noteworthy achievement, it also means that you have less time for job hunting. This is where a majority of early-grads find their stress levels elevated.
“It can be a bit overwhelming to realize that you have less time for job searching than your friends do,” says Auburn University senior Cassie Geslak. “If you start job searching early you can take some of the pressure off yourself.”
Though entering the job force early can be nerve-racking, this is an opportunity for you to get ahead of the game. By the time many of your classmates enter the workforce, you can have five months of experience under your belt.
2. Take Advantage of the Networking Opportunity
An early graduation date is a great subject to use when networking. Reach out to potential employers and let them know the time frame you would like to start a position. This will allow you to mention that you will be graduating early. This fact shows the level of work and determination you have put into your studies in college.
A noteworthy achievement like graduating early can set you apart from other candidates and exemplifies your work ethic.
Graduating early is also an opportunity to reach back out to the professional connections you have already made. If you started networking early in your college career, update your resume with your new graduation date and send it out. Letting connections know that you are graduating early is the perfect excuse to re-establish relationships.
Getting the conversation started with a potential employer can be the first step toward landing a full-time position.
3. Make the Most of Your Last Semester
Every college student will say that it is important to make the most out of your final semester. While it is important to focus on your job hunt and finishing your classes, it’s also important to make memories that will last a lifetime
If you are graduating early, you are bound to miss out on some experiences that your friends will get to have. In order to combat any fear of missing out, you need to make your last semester unforgettable.
Take trips with your friends. Attend as many sporting events as possible. Go to a concert. Do whatever it is that will make your semester the best one yet.
At the end of the day, leaving college early won’t be easy. But if you go out knowing that you made the most out of every moment, you can at least look back with no regrets.
4. Decide Where You Want to Be Post Graduation
As is true with any job search, it is important to consider where you would like to live. When looking for a full-time position, think about what cities you would be happy moving to.
Think about whether you would like to be close to your family and if you want to know people beforehand or start completely fresh. Consider the cost of living and any other factors that are important to you.
This will help you narrow your job search and give you something to look forward to after graduation.
If you are excited about the city you plan on moving to it will be significantly easier to leave your college town.
5. Don’t Get Discouraged
Graduating early and finding your first job can be an extremely stressful life event. Remember to relax every now and then to ensure the stress doesn’t get you down.
It is important to keep in mind during this difficult time that you need to keep things in perspective. Rejection during your job search is bound to happen. Be sure not to take rejection personally and accept that some things don’t work out for a reason.
It is normal to envy others who get to live the college life after you graduate. Do not let the fact that you are entering the real world before some of your peers be negative. Remember that you worked hard to get where you are and should be proud of your accomplishment.
“It’s easy to get caught up in the graduation woes, especially when it’s coming early,” says Monique Willmer, a soon-to-graduate public relations student. “But even if you are graduating before your friends, don’t let graduating early be a bad thing.”
Don’t be discouraged if your entry-level position isn’t your dream job. We all have to start somewhere and most professionals can attest that your first job won’t be your last.
If you are graduating early, congratulations! As scary as it might seem, don’t forget that this is an event worth celebrating.
Above all, remember that life doesn’t end just because you get your diploma.