By mid-afternoon on May 5, 2012, I will have earned a premiere access card into the elite ranks of African-American women who have attained Bachelor’s degrees. Thousands of other Liberettes will join me in this accomplishment. We will bid adieu to the all-nighters in the name of high GPAs in exchange for the future that is readily anticipating our arrivals.
Graduating from college is an amazing feat. But for some of us who are unsure about our next steps in life, nervousness might be replacing the excitement we should feel. According to USA Today, it is normal for butterflies to invade seniors’ stomachs whenever graduation is discussed, so don’t fret! Instead of spending nights staring at the ceiling and wondering what’s next, read this list that Liberette has compiled from seniors and experts on landing that first position, securing independence, saving a few dollars while also paying off those endless loans, and more!
Own Your Career
One of the greatest concerns that seniors have about graduating is entering the workforce and securing a position that will allow them to establish their independence. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor reporting an 8.3 percent unemployment rate, this worry is warranted. But, there is hope! According to “Graduated? Seven Job Tips for College Graduates,” the quickest way to begin a successful career is to own it. Great careers are created, not earned, so take control of your career, own it, and begin searching.
One of the best resources that college students have available to them is Monster.com. Upload a resume and cover letter there to connect with potential employers. USA Today also suggests creating a LinkedIn and connecting with influential figures in the field you’re interested in. You will be establishing a relationship with a potential future manager, which could lead to an advantage when submitting applications of employment.
Don’t Be Buried with Debt
When I received an invoice detailing the amount of student loan debt I was responsible for, I almost fainted. Though I hope to establish a lucrative career in the journalism field, in order to be debt free before 30, Beyonce and Oprah would have to adopt me. I wouldn’t mind calling Blue Ivy my sister or Jay-Z my stepfather, but I digress. After a conversation with Rhonda Sharpe, Ph.D. an economist who teaches at Bennett College, I realized that there are options available for students with loans. You can defer, file for forbearance, and even receive loan forgiveness based on the career path you choose to follow. The website, StudentLoans.gov, provides some relief with the options presented on their webpage!
It’s Simple, Budget
Up until graduation, most students, me included, have not had to pinch pennies to survive in college. Those refund checks and deposits from parents lasted through the whole semester, especially since we had next to no responsibilities. Now that the real world is preparing to hit us, it is time to secure our financial futures by spending reasonably and learning the art of budgeting. According to Dr. Sharpe, it is essential for students to include all of our expenses in our budgets, including our student loan payments, necessities and luxuries such as clothing and nail fill-ins. This prevents students from overspending since we can see our income versus our expenses each month. It even allows space for saving and investing our monies.
Embark on New Adventures
Next fall, some 2012 graduates will be headed to graduate and doctoral programs while others are entering post baccalaureate programs and the workforce, but regardless of our next steps in life, it is important for us to treat it as we did when we first entered college. Life is an adventure, so consider this next step in the path as a footstep towards the ultimate goal.
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