When I left school, I eager to start my new life from the school system I knew and eventually loved (I’m one of those people that didn’t like school when I was a kid, but fell in love with it in my final years of college) only to be faced with numerous amounts of rejection emails from jobs I applied for, wound up in situationships (I really shouldn’t have been) and had zerooooooo self-confidence.
Life was rough after college!
But no one told me that.
When I went on the stage to accept my diploma to be greeted by the cheers of my loud African family and friends, I felt empowered to start a new chapter.
A chapter with no limitations, endless opportunities and success to match.
Three months after, I found myself working at an employment agency making slightly more than minimum wage, but doing repetitive work that made my 8 hours shifts feel like 16 hours long.
Five months later, I found myself securing a ‘good job’ where I was making ‘good money’ but I found myself feeling overworked and underpaid and on top of that, doing something that brought me no passion, no joy, nothing.
But the challenges I faced in the first few months after I left school helped shape the three most important things I wish I knew after graduation that I talk about on social media and through my book:
1. Lose your entitlement issues – It’s common knowledge that millennials have a bad rap for entitlement and know-it-all personalities – but when you study a specific program for more than two years, what could you really expect? Despite that, most employers find it hard to work with (and even complain about) millennials/gen-z because some of us feel above others because of our education, and to be honest I used to be one of them (how sad). But in order to make moves in your career, you need to let your ‘I-went-to-the-top-school-for-four-years-studying-this,why-am-I-getting-paid-x-amount-even though-I-have-no-work-experience’ entitlement die. Go above and beyond your responsibilities that are a part of your job, take initiative to give feedback on how to simplify certain tasks or provide assistance to a team member or supervisor when needed. This doesn’t mean allowing people to cross your boundaries, but this means to learning how to let our pride die.
2. Get uncomfortable with being comfortable – Yes, you read that right! I wrote a whole blog post about this because I can simply write a book about this specific topic! When I graduated from school, I felt uncomfortable asking for what I needed, for what I deserved and for what I longed for because I felt like I couldn’t muster the courage to just ask – until I realized that I was letting opportunities go, so I decided and declared that I would allow myself to grow comfortable with the feelings of being uncomfortable. Ask, and you shall receive!
3. Nothing is linear – Ever since we were children, we were conditioned to believe that once we become ‘big people’ aka. adults, that after college, we’d get a great jobs, get married, and have kids (you know, the ‘first comes love, then comes marriage rhyme’ on the order of operations for life). But let’s be honest – some millennials are getting married, but choosing not to have children (or delaying this stage), while others are getting married but don’t know what type of careers they want. Understand that life will throw curve balls right in your face, and these challenges will help you grow even when you don’t feel like that at the time. Learn that perfection in your life is something that won’t happen. You will make mistakes, feel defeated and rejected – but you can’t stop. You’re greater than that and God really is your strength.
So let’s chat! What are some things you wish you knew before you graduated from school?