Ready for the Real World?

5 Nov

From the first few weeks of college, while cramming for exams and pulling all-nighters to finish those annoying 15 page papers, you say to yourself, “Man, I can’t wait to graduate.”  But a couple years later when that time finally comes, do you still feel that way?  Chicago College Life is here to share some real opinions from some Chicago college seniors who are (almost) ready to enter the “real world” and see if all that hard work was worth it.

You're almost done with undergrad, now what?

Graduating from college is not as easy as taking all of the required classes for your major and getting your diploma.  Each college and major have different requirements for finals projects, interviews and seminar classes that senior students are required to complete prior to graduation.  Whitney, a Secondary Math Education major from DePaul University, explained,

“On top of having to get through my last set of classes this quarter while searching for a job, I also have to complete an exit interview for my honors program.  I knew the interview was coming, I just wasn’t ready to cram one more thing into my crazy schedule.”

You can learn from Whitney’s struggle with time management by meeting with an academic advisor or counselor at least once every quarter or semester to make sure that you are on track with your classes and well-aware of any your major’s graduation requirements you have to complete before getting that diploma.

“Full Time Job?  Oh, yeah!  I better get one of those!”  joked Mike, a Civil Engineering major from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“I can’t believe I’m already a senior and graduating in a couple of weeks.  It’s hard to believe that I’m going to have to give up the college lifestyle that I’ve learned to love and have to turn into a responsible adult with a nine to five job.”

When asked how he is preparing to enter the real world, Mike explained, “I’ve been sending out my resume to potential employers in the city and suburbs, and so far I only have one interview lined up.  Cross your fingers I get it!”

Be prepared with an updated resume and cover letter!

Make sure to have an updated resume and cover letter that is prepared to be sent out and make sure to revise them for each application so they complement the job requirements and description.  Many Universities offer career services that help you create a unique resume and cover letter, and they will even assist in editing these documents!

Don't worry, this won't be you during your first interview!

Interview seminars may also be offered by your college, many of which conduct mock interviews to help you learn how to prepare for and execute the first nerve-wrecking interviews with potential employers.  Another way to prepare for graduation is to attend the job fairs that may be held at your school and in the Chicago area.  It’s a great opportunity to show off your networking skills and see what jobs are available so you can determine what type of company or organization that you’re interested in working for.

“I never thought I would be saying this after 16 years of school, but I’m going to grad school.  I think it’s the smartest move for me right now,”

explained Josie, an English major from Loyola University Chicago.   “The job market is growing, but I’m still sure that getting a job won’t be easy.  I figure, why not stay in school and get my Master’s Degree?  What’s two more years of school anyway?”

If you are like Josie and would like to pursue another degree, be sure to check out grad school fairs both at your university and in the Chicago area, ask your professors about programs they recommend and conduct your own online research to find programs that interest you and will help you transition into a career after completing graduate school.

Although undergraduates are excited to receive their diplomas and start their professional careers, entering the work force can be intimidating and unpredictable.  Chicago College Life understands the insecurities associated with change and that is why we created a check list for how to prepare yourself for the transition from college student to young professional or graduate student.

What's your next move?

Take advantage of the career resources offered by your university and don’t hesitate to explore all of your options post graduation!  Ready or not Chicago, here come a new group of young professionals!




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