Challenges Faced by Fresh College Graduates ~ Congratulations! Your college graduation is approaching. With a degree under your belt, it’s time to tackle the world head-on. But while you may be better situated than many individuals your age, chances are that you don’t have the easiest of roads ahead.
A Must-Read: What to Wear to a College Interview
Don’t get us wrong—your college diploma is sure to help you out in numerous ways as you start a new life.
But, as with any major life change, you’re going to experience a few growing pains.
These roadblocks won’t be as much of a detriment to your success, however, as much as they are setbacks to overcome.
The truth is that no matter how prepared you feel, the experience is the best teacher. Starting a new life and finding a career in the “real world” takes time and dedication.
By having the right plan and expectations, you can help ease your transition into the professional world.
To help, we’ve included a list of the top ten challenges faced by college graduates. Keep this information in mind as you prepare for your life post-graduation.
Finding a Job
You may have seen this one coming.
One of the most common challenges recent college graduates face is getting a job. If your graduation is upcoming, you’ve likely already started worrying about this yourself—and you may want to go ahead and apply for a few jobs already.
Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find jobs related to certain degrees.
While those with STEM degrees may have an easier time finding a job, those in humanities-related disciplines may have a much harder time.
This is especially true for those who come from a small town. With many of the job opportunities there already taken, it can be difficult finding a place to belong.
So, what should you do? You have a few options.
First, you may consider finding a job in another area. Though it can be difficult leaving your family and friends behind—especially if they’re your financial support—you can often find better opportunities in bigger cities.
You can even start looking for them before you graduate.
If you can show proof to your prospective employers that you will be graduating in good standing soon, you may earn conditional employment that’s good upon your graduation.
In this way, you can cut down on one of the biggest problems faced by fresh college graduates.
If you insist on going back to your hometown, however, you’ll need to do a bit more networking and resume building to secure a good position.
Paying Back Debt
An unfortunate problem that results from not being able to find a job is that many recent college graduates struggle to pay back their student loans.
Student loan debt averages in the tens of thousands for millions of students across the country.
And it doesn’t appear that this burden is getting any easier any time soon.
To make matters worse, the difficulty in finding good, high-paying jobs makes it harder than ever to start paying back student loans.
And if you’re not prepared, you will find that these loans tank your credit before you even get a chance to get started.
This can have serious repercussions and put you behind in life. In effect, this turns what should be your happy new beginning into the start of a nightmare.
Check out CuraDebt if you need help paying back your loans.
This is why it’s critical that you find good employment upon graduation. Additionally, make sure that you’re up to date on the lingo in your student loan contracts.
This means knowing when they’re due and how much you have to pay.
If it’s too much, contact your loan providers to see if you can work out a separate payment plan.
Many will be happy to do so, especially since you’re making an effort to pay your bill.
The key is to make sure that you’re paying everything on time so that you don’t get into any trouble.
If you find that your burden is too much to bear, consider searching consolidation or loan forgiveness programs.
Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t get weighed down into menial employment as a way to stave off being late on your loan payments.
Make sure that you don’t give up your push for proper and better employment.
Adjusting to the Workplace
Once you find this employment, however, don’t expect everything to be smooth sailing.
Finding a job is certainly exciting. Make sure you celebrate this accomplishment.
Unfortunately, however, this is only the first step.
Keeping and advancing in your job are both equally, if not more so, important.
Because this is your first job, you’re going to have to adapt to workplace culture.
Even if you’ve had other jobs in the past—
You may even find that your workplace has a distinct culture that’s different than what you’re used to.
You may have to be more professional, for instance, so be sure that you take the time to develop the right workplace persona.
With that in mind, one of the best ways to adapt to your new work environment is to befriend your coworkers.
Don’t be that guy who goes overboard, but it’s certainly always nice to start your job out on a good foot.
And this is key: if you don’t know something, admit it. Ask for help. Don’t start making mistakes.
Your employer shouldn’t expect you to know everything, so if you ever get stuck, let others know.
Your willingness to ask for help will make you more endearing to those around you, and it will allow you to get better at your job.
During this time, it’s important that you treat others with respect—even if you don’t agree with them.
You may find that you have coworkers who dislike you for whatever reason—make sure that you don’t get caught up in their drama.
Learning to balance your new work-life can be challenging, but if you’re doing a job you love, it’s certainly rewarding.
One is the loneliest number, or so the song goes.
And if you’ve just graduated from college and have found a job, you’re in the same boat as other millennials across the country:
It’s time to live on your own.
This can prove quite a challenge—especially if you’re moving far away from your family. Chances are, even in university you had your roommates.
Now, it may be just you.
Learn to use this alone time productively and in a manner that will allow you to increase your skills and abilities.
Buying a Home
Even more difficult than living alone, however, is buying a house.
Most fresh college graduates don’t have the funds or the credit history to buy a house—meaning that many get stuck renting.
With the renting market currently flooded with overpriced homes, it’s important that you secure employment and raise your credit score.
The good news is that you can get started raising your credit score in college.
If your credit is suffering, check out CreditFirm get professional help, they are great.
If you manage to keep a good score, you’ll be on your way to getting your first mortgage when you receive employment.
It’s also important that you can show a stable track record of employment.
As noted, this also poses a problem for many college graduates, as finding relatable employment is often quite difficult.
For this reason, it’s important that you start searching for employment even before graduation. In this way, you can get a head start on one day buying a home.
Deciding Where to Live
Even if you can afford to buy a home, however, that won’t necessarily help you solve this next common problem:
Deciding where to live.
Many college graduates struggle with the notion of returning to their hometowns.
After getting a taste for something “bigger and better,” it can be difficult coming home to a small town where family dominates.
Because many students cultivate a sense of individuality while away, it can be difficult trying to mesh this new self with the expectations people may have back at home.
For this reason, moving away and finding employment can seem like an attractive option.
However, these same people may also be torn in that they don’t particularly want to leave their parents, either.
Extended stays away from families can be difficult, so carefully consider what the best plan for you will be.
Keep in mind, too, that moving away from family can often mean a lack of financial and other support.
Returning home after college can provide you with a place to stay even when you don’t have stable employment.
Be sure to weigh all your options and keep everything on the table until you’re sure you’ve found the choice right for you.
Starting a Career
Starting a career means more than just finding a job.
Fresh college graduates are increasingly likely to struggle with starting a career.
Not only are jobs related to their majors few and far between, but many have limited opportunities for career advancement.
Because of this, many fresh college graduates find themselves career hopping as they move from one job to another—usually because of pay.
However, keep in mind that this doesn’t look good on a resume.
Though you shouldn’t overstay your welcome in any one job, it’s best not to blow advancement opportunities for wage increases.
In other words, don’t stay at a job so long that you become too comfortable settling for less.
By the same token, you’re going to want to stay there long enough that you actually build enough experience to advance in your career.
Finding the right balance can be difficult, but many find that once it’s time to leave a job, they know.
Just make sure that you have real advancement opportunities lined up before walking out the door.
Attending Family Gatherings
Attending university can cause many students to drift away from their families in a number of ways—primarily ideological.
For this reason, those from small towns particularly may find it increasingly difficult to attend family gatherings.
However, family is family, so many fresh graduates are left struggling with their family relations.
This can be even more difficult for those who have found a significant another while away, as some families may not approve.
Meeting Family Expectations
In the same vein, it can be difficult meeting family expectations.
This is especially true for those graduating from college as the first member of their families to do so.
Because these expectations are often too high. Many assume that a college degree will automatically equate to riches—and this is especially common in those who don’t have a degree.
For this reason, fresh college graduates often feel pressured to meet unreasonable expectations.
Sometimes these expectations may be impossibly high, making it difficult for graduates to stay home.
To combat this, consider trying out for more clubs and organizations while still in university.
By being actively involved in a variety of activities—especially internships—you can increase the likelihood that you will get a stable job post-graduation.
This can go a long way to helping you achieve the goals your family has set out for you.
Starting a Family
Finally, because of the reasons listed above, many fresh college graduates find it difficult to start a family of their own.
Often, they don’t have the right employment or housing to settle down and get married.
And they especially don’t have the funds to take care of a baby.
Even those who do have good jobs, however, find that much of their time is spent at work.
For this reason, many college graduates tend to delay starting a family until their mid to late twenties.
In doing so, they set aside enough time to build a career before starting a family.
Consider your own priorities when making the decision right for you. By preparing for the ten challenges faced above, you can be on your way to enjoying a smoother transition into life after college.