As many Boston University students know firsthand, transitions can be difficult. The transition from high school to college, for example, can be daunting – getting adjusted to a new type of schedule, managing your time between your coursework, your social life, maybe even an on-campus job. When college students finally do get settled, they can often forget how big the adjustment once seemed to be, especially by the time graduation rolls around. With the end of your undergraduate career, however, comes a whole new adjustment – from student (and student employee) to post-grad life and working full time.
Luckily, as a BU graduate myself, I can say that BU does a great job preparing their students for the “real” world, especially through the resources provided by the Center for Career Development and Educational Resource Center. That being said, the transition is a lot for anyone – here are my tips on making it through.
I know you’ve heard it in your time at BU, but trust me, organization doesn’t end after college. Make sure to keep updating your paper or online calendar and planner, and keep note of things you need to do and buy (think: groceries, toiletries, laundry, and errands). Trello is a great online tool that I used throughout college as a BU employee, and I still use it today, in my professional and personal life. Consider whether you want your work calendar synced with your professional calendar – I personally, find it useful, having everything in one place, but I have friends that do it differently, and I can see the benefits of both.
Be Realistic About Your Time
One of the best things about being out of undergrad is the extra time you now have, that you previously spent on studying, homework, and writing papers. Use this time wisely. If you’re like me, and work 9-5, that means getting used to working nearly eight hours straight, with a quick break for lunch. After years of fitting in study breaks, naps, and social time in between classes, this can be quite the adjustment. That being said, thanks to no homework, after 5:00 pm, the evening is yours to do as you will!
Keep in mind, however, that you will need more sleep than you did in college (yes, really). It will be a different kind of tired, but you’ll get worn down very easily if you don’t prioritize getting the rest your body and mind needs. You’ll want to go to bed at a consistent time each night, and allow for at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
And yes, you can finally dig out your cookbook and make the meals you never could with your BU Micro-Fridge, but meal prep takes time. Everything from boiling water to cutting up vegetables can be time consuming, so, to make sure you’re not sitting down to eat every night at 9:00 pm, I recommend meal prepping on the weekends, and being honest with yourself about what you’re going to make.
This is a big one. You hear it mentioned all the time, and its incredibly important whether you’re an entry-level employee or the the CEO of a large company. You can have the best job in the world – but you won’t feel like its the best job in the world if you don’t make time for yourself, and your life outside of work. This means something different for each person.
I recommend leaving the office for lunch, whether you’re paid hourly or otherwise. You’ll find that the longer you work, its easier and easier to stay in your office, and eat while you work. This isn’t always a bad thing, and there are days where you may have to work through lunch. But I make it a priority to leave my building and get some fresh air (and see a different environment!) for at least one day each week. The weather (at least in Boston) can be tricky too – take advantage of it when it’s nice! Sit and eat your lunch outside!
Additionally, you should prepare to put up some boundaries regarding work, while you’re not in the office. Does this mean not checking your work email when you’re at home? Responding outside work hours only in an emergency? Not having your professional project management apps on your phone? Whatever works for you – but abide by your rule. As millennials and Generation Z in the workforce, we are especially familiar with having phones and tech constantly at our fingertips, even more than other generations. We live and breathe constant communication. Keep in mind that this means it may be harder for you to “turn off” work when you’re not there, and really push yourself to enjoy time being “disconnected.” You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
Think About the Future
Here at the Center for Career Development, we say it all the time; career development is a journey, not a destination. Discovery and exploration of careers and new pathways doesn’t end when college does. Take some time to update your resume, check Handshake, and set up some informational interviews with coworkers or other departments at your job! You’ll be amazed how much you can learn from the people who work right near you every day.
Also, consider where you want to go next. Whether this means looking into grad school programs or attending conferences and other professional development opportunities, keep in mind that learning and growing never stops It is important to challenge ourselves and think about what is next.
This also means taking time for yourself. What would you like to use your extra time for? Join that club or pick up that hobby you always meant to, pick a day each week where you go to the library to pick up a book for your commute, make plans to stay in touch with your friends from college moving to another coast. Thinking about your future is more than just grad school and other jobs – it also involves thinking about what you want from the future, and the person you want to be.
Best of luck with your Post-BU adventures, Terriers! And remember, the Center for Career Development is here to help you, even as an alum. We’d love to hear from you – please keep in touch!