Category Archives: Career

Transitioning from College to the Real World

Well, it has happened. Those four years flew by. Everyone said they would – and I believed them – but in the back of my head I couldn’t help but feel that they would be wrong. Somehow I’d be in college forever, static in the footprint of the University of Rochester ad infinitum.

Living in Buffalo now, I suppose you could still say I’m in that footprint, but I’m certainly not in Kansas anymore. Buffalo, for being as close to Rochester as it is, has a distinctly different feel. I haven’t exactly been able to put my finger on how that feel is different yet but it is. Maybe it’s being close to Canada, maybe it’s the fact that it is new to me, or maybe it’s something I haven’t yet seen.


But after being out of school for a few months and working my current job for a few weeks, I feel like I’ve seen a whole new world. A world which I was prepared to deal with, but not in the way I would have expected. With that, I’d like to share some advice on how to succeed with the transition:

1. Be flexible. Yes, it is very general advice and cliched, but it is valuable beyond measure. While you’re moving into a new apartment, starting a new job, meeting new people, and having new experiences, it isn’t going to go exactly as planned. You’ll have to deviate from the ideal path you were picturing in your mind. That’s fine. That’s actually to be expected. Just take a step back, reassess, and keep on keeping on.

2. Own your work. At the University, you’ll have many students who take immense pride in their work. You’ll also have some who take a bit more relaxed approach to academics. I tended to be the latter, but now wished I was the former. I’ve realized that by taking ownership over what you do not only are you more satisfied with it, you’re more likely to achieve.

3. Humility is key. Coming out of college, not everyone will have a job. Not everyone will get into grad school. Therefore, it is key to be thankful if you do land a job or if you do get into that grad school you’ve been working towards all your life. Don’t forget to stop and say thanks for the opportunities that have come your way.

4. Realize that social life is going to be different. This one I wasn’t prepared for. While at school it is relatively easy to have a thriving social life. Everyone generally lives close, you’re all going through the same experiences, you all will have diverse yet similar interests, etc. Post-graduation, in order to have a thriving social life you need to change your approach. It is more of an active process. Instead of letting people come to you, go out and meet people. Say hi and introduce yourself. Make lunch plans and stick to them. I’ve integrated myself quick and can say I’m doing well now because I took a more active role than previously.

After just a short time, it seems astonishing how the transition has come so fast. It has been good, and I’m loving everything now, but I can’t say I don’t miss the U of R every so often. But, once a Yellowjacket, always a Yellowjacket, right?