Done With Senior Year? Not So Fast.
This post was written by Peer Career Ambassador, Shun Ping Huang ’17.
This past Fall, I wrote about Invisible Pressures for seniors to find a full time job before graduation. That burden has been with me since September and is a part of my senior year experience. Now that it’s February and that pressure is finally removed from my shoulder, I feel lost; I’ve accomplished such a long-term, important goal that I don’t know what’s next.
I don’t believe that I am the only senior feeling this way because Babson students are all high-achievers; we are always striving towards personal development. So what’s the next step after securing a job? What can we do next that will help us develop ourselves and take advantage of the little time we have left as college students before we enter the real world?
As a part of the Senior Series 1, five alumni panelist from various industries and life settings came back to Babson and dished-out advice on how to master adulthood after college. Based on that panel, I would like to share ten things you can do prepare yourself for life after college.
- Start a budgeting spreadsheet – you all know my love for excel spreadsheets, so to tackle the daunting task of budgeting, of course I recommend building a spreadsheet.
- You must customized your budgeting spreadsheet to what is most relevant to your personal life, which means you will have to make changes to the below templates (add line items, make sure all of the formulas work well, etc.) to fit your lifestyle.
- Alumni Tip: for necessary expenses that are estimated (such as groceries), make sure to add 10% to your estimate because you’ll probably underestimate and it’s always better to budget for extra than to not have enough for such necessary expenses.
- Don’t forget that your gas, heating, and electricity expenses will increase/decrease depending on the season.
- Start some basic financial planning: 401K, Investments, Savings, etc.
Plan life outside of work – the alumni couldn’t stress enough the importance of finding a life outside of work.
- Most work-place beginners follow a schedule that will quickly wear them out: wake up, go to work, come home, watch TV, sleep, and repeat.
- Alumni Tip: Don’t follow this schedule all the time; definitely learn to meet with friends after work, schedule workout time with someone who lives close by, or just change things up to keep life exciting.
- Keeping life exciting does not mean spending money on fancy restaurants, instead, you can save money and keep life exciting by having a cooking night at a friend’s place, or volunteer for causes you care about.
- Sign up for a professional society in the area – this will help you meet new people, maintain professional development, and give you a life outside of the office.
- However, if you are having a busy week or work in Investment Banking (IB), the hours can be crazy, but still try to have a life outside of work because this is necessary.
Build good habits and break bad habits – get a head start in bettering your adult life by building those good habits now!
- Read about why habits are important and how to go about breaking bad habits and creating new ones: http://jamesclear.com/habits#Common
- Ideas for good habits: exercising at 6am (or before work), eating at least one fruit per day, journal every night, sleeping earlier and waking up earlier, etc.
Take action – take action on your bucket and to-do list.
- Everyone has at least two lists: a bucket list and an ongoing to-do list
- Tackle those to-do items that have been pushed to the bottom of the list over time due to more urgent tasks.
- Start crossing off those fun items on your bucket list.
Generate valuable connections – another big tip that the alumni provided is to network and spend quality time with as many people as you can right now.
- After you graduate, you’ll probably rarely see these friends and it will be harder to build such close connections again because your situation will be different.
- Build valuable connections with people that will last distance and time.
- You never know when you’ll need a connection in the future.
- This past summer, I met up with my elementary school best friends after 10 years and we picked up right where we left off because we had already established that strong connection.
Leave a legacy – think about your reputation on campus, what type of impression do you want to leave behind?
- Is your legacy that amazing article you wrote for The Babson Free Press that will always be on the website? Is it your involvement in re-designing Trim and Pub? Is it a mentee or little?
- It is not too late to build your legacy now. You still have seven weeks to create a positive change.
Take advantage of your time as a Babson student – we were so busy looking for a job or being a student that we didn’t have time to fully take advantage of Babson resources.
- Lynda.com – now is the perfect time to use Lynda to learn new skills that we’ve always been interested in because after graduation, we will have to pay for such services! I’ve always wanted to learn photography, photoshop, and VBA/Macros.
- Student Discounts – use that student identity and go to museums for free, buy your next laptop, etc. Here is a list of great student discounts.
- Tech Tools – use the programs and technology that comes with our laptops such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc. There are more available on the Hub under the IT Section. Again, you’ll have to pay for these services once out of college.
Plan for the next three years and no more – a mentor once told me that once you graduate, the farthest amount of time we can plan for are the next two to three years because anything more than that will be restrictive and a waste of time.
- We can’t possibly know what we want in five years or what state of life we’ll be. Maybe in three years, we will want to switch career paths or build a family.
- For now, think about what you want to accomplish in the next year or so.
Use your remaining breaks wisely – after college, you’ll never have another spring break again so use upcoming breaks to do something special.
Research everything – a person can never stop learning.
- Learn about ways to build your net worth/financial profile.
- Consider other forms of personal development or hobbies.
- Become an expert in something to differentiate yourself.
- Do you want to go to graduate school one day? Research the requirements and what you can do to prepare. (Or talk with CCD.)
- Keep building your technical skills through certifications and online classes.
- Build knowledge on industry news and trends.
- Those are all examples, but the key is to keep researching about things that are interesting to you.
And Ta-Da, you are back to being a busy beaver! Best of luck to you and all of your future endeavors. Be adventurous and take unexplored journeys.