Graduation Day Prep: 10 Most Valuable Pieces of Advice for Fresh Grads
It’s graduating season once again. This means that there are a few more thousands of young adults joining the work force here in Manila! It wasn’t that long ago when I graduated from college myself. I still remember being 21 and feeling like I was ready to take on the world. I was optimistic, idealistic, driven and excited. It wasn’t very long until I realized that 4 years of college did not prepare me for the “real world” at all, either, though, and there are definitely a few things I know now that I wished I had known then to prepare me for what I was going to go through.
This article is not intended to scare the fresh grads, though; only to give you sound advice that you can take before you move on to the next chapter.
Graduation Day Prep
I figured everyone must have their own shoulda woulda coulda’s. So I asked around and compiled 10 of the most valuable pieces of advice that you can get as a fresh grad:
1. Don’t work right away. When you start working, especially for someone else, your vacation will be limited. I remember accepting my first job offer. I had an interview, got the job, and started working just a week after my graduation day. Why did I do that? I have no idea.
Fung Yu of 360journals.com suggests you should take a vacation instead. Give yourself a break after studying so hard. Don’t be in such a hurry to look for a job. You have the rest of your life to work, after all, so what’s the hurry? You can backpack around the Philippines, get to know your own country a little better, and along the way, maybe yourself, too.
2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
“Your calling in life is not set by your degree, live your own dream and not the ones set by someone else,” says Carlos Celdran. “Be mindful when making choices, but don’t worry too much about failure,” says Anne Torres. Anne is a great example. She has a degree in Business Economics, but her first interview was for a research job in TV. She has been working in the same industry for 20 years and she is now a TV producer for Bloomberg in New York! So: relax! I’ll let you in on a secret: everyone else is winging it, too! “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing” – John Powell.
3. Don’t be too choosy.
You can’t expect to be the boss right away – unless you start or work for your own company, that is. “You’ve got to be prepared to work from the bottom up, despite the school you graduated from or the honors you may have received,” says journalist Alex Alikpala of TV5. “Don’t get too cocky,” business persons Robert See and Girlie Cobiao reminds us. Even if you’re good at something, there will always be someone better than you.
4. Don’t do it for the money.
The major factor we consider before getting a job is the salary. If it’s your first job, though, don’t get blinded by the money. “Seek a job that is in-line with your long term career plan and will allow you to learn and grow at the same time,” says Alvin Kingson Tan of Chinoy TV. Meryll Yan, AVP for Corporate Communications of PBCOM has always believed that you have to work to learn, not just to earn.
5. Don’t stop learning.
“Take initiative on you want to achieve, either in the short term or the long term,” says Rusly Ngo, Senior Integration Consultant of Omgeo Singapore. It could be software the company uses or a creative skill that you want to hone. Take up extra courses or take part in mentorship programs. If it helps you become better, do it. Vince Golangco, founder of WheninManila.com also suggests working for free. He says the problem is a lot of great places are not willing to invest money into someone they are not familiar with or someone who does not have a lot to show in his/her portfolio. For example, if you want to be a writer, then start writing for free! Contribute to newspapers, magazines and websites (shameless plug: http://wheninmanila.com/contribute) where you’ll get all perks that can count for way more value than money in the long run!
6. Don’t forget to follow your heart.
Do what you love. This is the most offered piece of advice. Meryll also believes that one should only agree to do something that makes you feel fulfilled. Confucius said it best: “Choose a job you love and you never have to work a day in your life!” Owner of Van Gogh is Bipolar, Jetro Rafael reiterates how important it is to be genuine and truthful to who you are, too.
7. Don’t put off saving money.
“Start saving!” suggests Anne Torres. It doesn’t matter if you only put away PHP500 a month. Do not underestimate the power of compounding. You’ll be thankful for it! Elaine Eusebio Misa of Sun Life also stresses the importance of saving for your retirement. Before you know it, you’ll be 60 and wishing you had started 40 years ago.
8. Don’t be in a hurry.
If you’ve found love, good for you, but “put off the wedding for just a little bit,” says Reodel Masilungan, Global Education Specialist for DLSU’s International Center. It is really hard to figure out who you are and what you want if you factor someone else into the equation. Relationships work best if you both have your own individuality. There are things that are hard to discover when you are in a committed relationship.
9. Don’t mess up your reputation.
James Tiu, a venture capitalist and makeup artist Cherry Pacheco emphasize the importance of building your credibility. Keep your integrity to make sure nothing tarnishes your name; it would be difficult to recover from it.
10. Don’t lose faith. If something does not happen right away, it doesn’t mean it never will! “Patience and persistence can take you to your dream job; eventually, a door will open,” says Celia Mendoza, journalist for Voice of America.
If you’re lucky enough to know what you want, you’re already half way there. You’re never too old to chase your dream.
What’s your advice for the fresh grads? :) Share them below!