By Logan Trautman
For the past 16 years, I have become accustomed to life as a student. Even when significant life transitions occurred, such as graduating high school and going off to college, I was entering another phase of schooling. For many of us, once we graduate college, the transition is unlike one we have ever experienced before, which can be as intimidating as it is exciting. As a recent graduate and even more recent professional, there are a few things to keep in mind when going from student to professional:
- You’ve gone from top dog to entry level, walk in the door already adjusted. Senior year of college most likely brought you feelings of superiority. You were heading organizations, finishing up classes and holding a desirable internship. As you start your entry-level position, remember it is just that, an entrance. The experience you gained may have helped you get this far, but understand that you now have much to learn. Leave your sense of entitlement at the door and be ready to work.
- Get to know your co-workers, including your boss. You will spend the majority of your days with the people you work with, so make an effort in getting to know them. The people in your office will help you strive professionally if you get to know them personally. The same outlook should be applied to your boss. Although this may be more challenging, it will be worth it. If you learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, you’re also going to benefit your company as a whole. Plus, going to work is a lot easier when you enjoy the time you spend there.
- Make your career your priority. When starting a new career, it is important to prove your commitment. You’ll want to be up to speed with your company’s clients and projects as quickly as possible, and it order to do that, your new role needs to be top of mind. Of course, do not abandon all work-life balance, but when starting a new position know that going the extra mile in the beginning will pay off.
- Follow your gut. There will be feelings of indecision during this transition that are near impossible to avoid. Remember that although you are new, you are capable and there for a reason. Be bold and listen to your instincts when making big and smaller decisions. I went from living in the comfort of my parent’s house in my hometown to moving to a different state and living on my own, and I haven’t looked back since.
The transition from student to professional is thrilling, a little scary and most of all a giant learning experience. Thankfully, it only gets easier from here (so I’d like to think)!