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12 Things We Learned AFTER College

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CPT Team 1

Dear Graduate,

Congratulations! You made it through some of the most challenging, yet rewarding, years of your life. At this point you are probably asking, what’s next? Education, check. Diploma, check. A job (hopefully), check. Now, it’s up to you to make sure you start this new phase of life on the right foot. The CPT team was in your shoes not too long ago, and we wanted to share some of the "surprises" we encountered as young professionals.

1. There are pros and cons to an 8 to 5 job. I was unpleasantly surprised at how hard it was to transition into an 8 to 5 work schedule. I could no longer manage my time with the flexible hours I was used to – everything had to be done between 8 AM and 5 PM. Where was I going to find time to squeeze in a mid-day nap? On a positive note, the day ends at 5 PM. There are no homework assignments or all-nighters… at least not as frequently as in college! – Alexia Kammer

2. Constructive feedback can be good if managed properly. When entering the workforce, it can be intimidating to disagree with your coworkers, but you need to remember you were hired to bring your unique perspective and talents to the team. Diversity of thought allows teams to provide constructive feedback to each other internally, and it ensures you have the best chance of getting positive, external feedback once you introduce your products and services to the market. – Ryan Hirsch

3. Perception of time changes as you age. Time seems to move quicker the older you get, and you have to start mapping out your time to protect it. Click here to see how relative time really is! My advice – use it wisely. It’s okay to say no (sometimes) in order to protect your time and do what matters most to you. – George Reynolds

4. It is important to look up (from your desk and phone). Often too many times, people will enter an elevator and reach for their phones instead of having eight seconds of conversation with the person standing next to them. I met one of my best friends in an elevator after I complimented her purse. I challenge you to strike up conversations with people in the hallways, breakrooms and well, elevators. You can learn something from everyone you meet! – Ashley Metivier

5. You have more time (and money) to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s been five years since I graduated from college, and I can proudly admit I have taken a turn for the better. I was not an outlier to the "college" way of life, and my poor eating habits were conspicuous. After graduation, I had the time and energy to take better care of myself. – Alexia Kammer

6. Career fulfillment is your responsibility. Five years into my career, I decided to switch industries. It was scary because I went to college to learn a specific skill, then spent five years working to advance in that industry. When I realized I no longer found fulfilment in that role, I decided to transition into a different sector. I did not want to spend the next 35 years of my career working in a role I did not enjoy, simply because I wanted to stick to the path I chose for the first five years. Be open to change. – Ryan Hirsch

7. Set your own goals. No one will tell you what to do in your free time or what goals you should set. You are the only person who is responsible for yourself and your goal fulfillment. – George Reynolds

8. Budgeting doesn’t have to be so boring. Save. Save. Save. Do I sound like your parents, yet? I learned early in my career that it’s my responsibility to save and spend wisely. If your personal budget allows, I encourage you to make little splurges every so often to treat yourself, whether it’s a $5 Starbucks coffee, a new outfit or the deluxe pedicure. – Ashley Metivier

9. Meet with mentors instead of moochers. After college, I started seeing people’s true value. You are no longer compelled to maintain a relationship with someone who is not contributing positively to your life. It was refreshing to realize that this choice was mine, and I got to decide who I wanted to keep as mentors to learn and grow from, and who wasn’t worth my time anymore. – Alexia Kammer

10. Failure is an opportunity to learn. Most of us don’t like failure, but it can be a great life lesson. Failing to reach a goal is not nearly as tragic as making the same mistake repeatedly, without learning from your previous errors. Each success and failure in your career is a valuable experience that you can use to help yourself and others in the future. – Ryan Hirsch

11. Networking is essential when living in a new city. You have to put forth effort to build a network in a new city. There are certainly benefits when you live within 15 minutes of your family or local network. After all, having your family near you and supper fixed for you once a week are great benefits. But, when moving to a new city where everything is new and unfamiliar, building a professional and personal network is essential for finding belonging and establishing a new "home." – George Reynolds

12. Work can be fun! Yes, you read that correctly. You spend more waking hours per day with your coworkers than your family and friends. It is vital for your own wellbeing to work at a company that values team development, healthy challenges and individual professional success. – Ashley Metivier

As you embark on this new adventure, we hope you find fulfillment wherever life may lead you. Be true to yourself and let your ethical compass guide your way.

Good luck,

The CPT team

The CPT is here to help you anyway we can. Please email [email protected] if you are interested in resume editing, career tips and general business guidance.