Rock Your Real Life
For the past 18 or 19 years of your life, you’ve been either told what to do or knew what you needed to do. Now, you’re on your own. The options are open, and your Alpha Phi sisters will still be there for you, but the safety net of school won’t be (unless, of course, you choose graduate school!). You might feel worried, scared, excited, ambivalent or all of the above at various times. And that’s totally valid. To help you with your transition as you graduate, we have some advice:
1. Don’t freak out. It is normal to feel uneasy about graduation, but don’t let that anxiety get the best of you. For one thing, you’re not alone. Talk to your sisters about your fears and excitement. You’re in this together, and they all want to see you succeed, just like you want them to succeed. On a professional note, try not to let your anxiety about what to do next push you into a job you’re not sure you want. It’s better to wait for the right job than to take one and feel miserable about it. You might not land your dream job right away, but be patient.
2. Be humble. You’ve worked hard and earned your degree, but we hate to break it to you: The world doesn’t owe you anything just because you got a high GPA. You’re essentially starting from scratch, the low woman on the hierarchy. You’ll need to prove yourself just as you did in school. You do, however, owe it to yourself to make deliberate decisions, not rash decisions based on fear.
3. Visit your university’s career center. Floundering a little when it comes to job-hunting? Take advantage of your campus career center, online portals and job listings while you’re still at school and closely connected to your college. This can also be a good place to get a second glance at your resume and cover letter. Bring in a completed draft for feedback—you may need to make an appointment for this, so check beforehand.
4. Interviews are opportunities. Remember, an interview is a two way street—you’re learning about the job and putting your best foot forward, and in turn the employer is presenting the job in a positive way and learning about you. Make sure to come with job-related questions. People always enjoy talking about themselves, but stay away from getting too casual and chummy with an interviewer, as you do want to showcase your professionalism. Also, be prepared for the big questions, like, “What do you want to do with your life?” It’s a daunting one because you may not really have an answer, but have something in mind and something better than, “Work for your company!” Be honest; if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life, that’s OK; just consider your strengths and emphasize your passions. An employer would rather see who you are than hear a fake answer. The other thing about interviews: They are opportunities to practice interviewing. So maybe you mess up one, but it prepares you better for the next.
5. Network. One of the best ways to get information about a company and its open positions is to use personal connections to your advantage. Sometimes it can feel like you’re submitting your cover letter into a cyberspace black hole, so making contacts at specific companies gives you a leg up—and a name to put down as a reference. It also makes you feel more in control, something that recent graduates often lack. Alpha Phi is a great foundation for networking with women in your field of interest. Text, connect via LinkedIn or see if another Alpha Phi can recommend someone to connect with. Recommend a meeting over coffee and bring your resume. In that meeting, chances are the alumna will give you the names and emails of three or four other contacts. If not, feel free to ask. Not sure where to start the networking process? Join the official Alpha Phi International LinkedIn site.
6. Learn time management. At school, you could plan your classes based on waking up at noon. In real life, you’ll likely have a job that requires you be, not only awake, but dressed and raring to go by 9 am. So, mentally prepare for that and factor in an earlier bedtime. On the flip side, you shouldn’t need to pull all-nighters for your job!
7. Carry Alpha Phi with you. Never let anyone tell you that Alpha Phi is “just a college thing.” The life lessons gained during your time as an Alpha Phi helped you become better friends, sisters and even employees. Alpha Phi supports you even when your sisters are spread far and wide. And that goes on throughout your life.
8. You are not alone. Alpha Phis are sisters for life, supporting one another through every life stage and helping each other in times of need. Alpha Phi Foundation exemplifies this life-long support through the Forget Me Not Grant Fund. The Forget Me Not Grant is an assistance or crisis aid grant designed to provide temporary, short-term, financial assistance for an event or unforeseeable circumstance. Members may apply for themselves and on behalf of another sister. Learn more…