While that adventure called “life” looks different for every individual, there are some universals in life that apply to all of us. From the time you were a child, you were probably prompted to contemplate what your life might look like in the future. While some people have had a solid idea of what they wanted to be when they were little, others still struggle to find a vision for the future halfway through college. Regardless of what category you fall into, dear reader, do not despair! The future is always before us, and it is always daunting. Concerns pave the path ahead, and they are hard to neglect, especially as the college finish line looms in the distance. And, as soon as that race to earn that diploma finishes, the immediate worry is: “What will my potential career path look like?” Whether or not you want to be a veterinarian or a mathematical engineer, a ballet teacher or a New York Times Bestselling author, all of us have dreams—and more often than not, when we get engrossed in the endless cycle of midterms, finals, and homework, we lose sight of them. While it is important to remain grounded in reality, our dreams for our ideal future can shed a great light on what we should do once we have that diploma in hand, as they are often reflective of the skill sets we carry through life. Chances are, you have already thought about this at great length. So, what are some things you can do in the wake of graduation and preparing for the rest of your life? Here are three helpful tips to equip you as you prepare to enter the workforce and, keeping your goal—your dream job—ever at the forefront of your mind.
Remember that All Good Things Come in Time
Unfortunately, despite the fact that you may have had the greatest grades in your class, this will not guarantee that you will get your dream job right out of the gate. In fact, it has been statistically proven that most college graduates do not enter a job within their field right after graduation.
However, do not let this discourage you. Even if you aren’t in the ideal work situation, you can still find ways to utilize the skills that you have and bide your time until the right door opens for you. Remember that good things come to those who wait, so be sure to shine your brightest in whatever you do—even if you think you could be doing so much more than being a cashier at your local supermarket. Strive to excel at everything you do, and trust me, the right somebody will notice.
No Matter the Scenario, Anything and Everything Can be a Learning Experience
Potential employers love applicants to have had a vast array of work experience, but what they will love even more is a positive attitude. It’s a fact of life that most people in the work force have worked jobs they rather hated, and most of these jobs were obtained fresh out of college. The likelihood is that shiny diploma won’t be put to good use straight away, but this isn’t as bad a scenario as it might seem on the surface.
For instance, if you are a Communications major that has landed a cashiering position right out of college, it might be easy to feel discouraged that you are only stocking produce and ringing out customers in your hometown. However, what you might not realize is that being in retail can actually stretch your communication skills and help you effectively convey ideas to people with whom you’d typically not associate. This is a valuable tool to have—even if you aren’t a Communications major. Learning to converse with people from differing backgrounds, even if it’s not on a deep or spiritual topic like you might be accustomed to, can help you glean information about the world around you and make you sympathize with others and wish to aid them in any way you can once you do end up in your dream job. Ultimately, anywhere you go, you can always cultivate and grow your people skills!
Keep the Tools in Your Mental Toolbox Sharp
When you’re in your senior year of college, or even if you’re freshly graduated, it’s incredibly easy to continue the trend of neglecting to do what you love in lieu of keeping on top of “real life” stuff. However, it is important to remember that more often than not, what we love to do has a direct impact on how we function and best communicate with the world.
Even if it’s difficult, writers going to school for an English degree should set aside time each week to scribble down his or her thoughts onto paper, even if the thoughts or jumbled or rough, just to keep in the practice of the craft, so transitioning into being a novelist or a freelance journalist after school is over won’t be such a harsh change. Likewise, music majors should carve out time to keep their violin skills sharp or to bang on the drums in the garage over the weekend. If your goal is to become a church worship leader, you will need to keep your music skills up to par amidst the insanity of life and incorporate it into your daily life balance. In short, the key to practically preparing for your dream job doesn’t have to be in grandiose gestures or daily routines that will drain you. Rather, keep acting in the hope that you will eventually reach the point where your dream job will lie within your grasp, and do all within your power to ensure that you are ready and able when the time comes. Constantly look for opportunities to sharpen your most valuable skills, even if said opportunities are relatively small. But, most of all, do not be disheartened when less-than-ideal situations or trials of life temporarily delay you from getting you to where you want to be. Life is a journey full of detours, and it is up to us to stay sharp and learn the best from what God sends our way, and to hold close the ideals—and the people—that keep us on track to the destiny you have in store in your life. Written by Gabrielle A. Perron