Adjusting to Life Post-Grad

First of all- congratulations! Whether you graduated a little over a month ago, like me, or three years ago graduating from college is a great accomplishment to be proud of. Now, let’s get real- the last few weeks (and months- if we’re being honest) of undergrad are filled with so many questions. Will I land a job before graduation? Will I land a job three months after graduation? Should I go straight into a Master’s program? Do I Have any idea what I’m doing with my life?! There are just SO many questions for those of us who are waiting to hear back from employers, acceptance letters, etc.

I have found a few things that have helped with the transition from being a college student to entering the real world. Even though I just graduated a little over a month ago there are very clear distinctions for post-grad life. Hopefully, the following tips help you feel productive, happy and ready to take on every day.

  • Stay busy- This will be easy to do if you land a full-time job after graduation but the timing does not work out for everyone this way. If you’re on the job hunt try signing up for a workout class or volunteering at a non-profit a few days a week to keep your motivation up. It’s important to have a somewhat steady schedule so you don’t stop trying to find your purpose.

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  • Stay in touch with college friends- one of the hardest adjustments is one-month being minutes away from your closest friends & seeing them several times a week to moving away/ getting busy and maybe seeing them once a month. This may be easier to do if you live near your college town but the beauty of technology is that you can keep in touch with your besties who live over 500 miles away! Life gets crazy but it’s important to make time for the friendships that matter most.

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  • Keep learning – really Lauren? I just graduated from college and you want me to do homework? No, not like that! Just because your college classes ended doesn’t mean you should stop being curious about this vast world we live in. Whether it’s picking up a new hobby or reading books about topics you aren’t well versed in it’s important to keep pushing yourself to grow. I recently started reading The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson and I’m learning more about psych wards, criminology, and the minds of criminals than I bargained for. This is a must read if you’re a psychology nerd like me who appreciates investigative journalism.

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  • Reminisce but don’t regret – Yes, we all long for our college days. Spending almost every day with our closest friends, facing new challenges every day, going to sporting events, and most importantly, getting free food all the time. Kidding…. Kind of. I would be lying if I said I don’t get a pang of sadness sometimes when I think about road trips visiting my best friends and boyfriend in college. However, it’s important to not dwell in that sadness because the best is yet to come! As college graduates, we can’t get so caught up in what we had that we miss what lies ahead.

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  • Rest- If your college career was anything like mine I would rarely get home before 8 pm. I get home around the same time from my full-time job but I am SO much more tired. Why is that…? I’ve learned it really does take a few weeks to adjust to working full time.

I hope this list helps those of you who are also adjusting to this huge life change. Post- grad depression is real. It is a subject that isn’t talked about very much, but if you feel like you are experiencing this you’re not alone. While one in four students suffers depression during their university years, there are no official figures for the post-graduation period, according to The Guardian. Mike Burton, of the Sussex University Counselling service, says that this group “slips through the system”. On Instagram, we are living our best lives, but at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to figure it out. Here is a great article on the subject from The Washington Post.

 

What has helped you adjust best after graduating from college?

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Proud college graduate,

Lauren

Closing Chapter: North Texas Sweethearts

Tuesday night, I became a North Texas Sweetheart alumna at closing ceremony. I am so thankful to have joined an organization that I cannot imagine my college career without. These are a group of women that I call my sisters at UNT.

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What is North Texas Sweethearts?

We are an all-female student organization that dedicates our time and effort into promoting Mean Green student spirit as well as going beyond our campus by involving ourselves in a plethora of service around the Denton community as well as working close with our philanthropy, the National Brain Tumor Society. Our other focus is to not only develop a sisterhood within our organization but to help unify the clubs and organizations of the University of North Texas by attending and participating in different campus-wide events.

You can read all about North Texas Sweethearts here.

My Sweethearts Story

Sweaty palms, nervous laughter and an obnoxiously big smile are a few words to describe myself at North Texas Sweethearts recruitment two and a half years ago. In fact, I was so nervous I almost didn’t go to recruitment. I was a brand-new transfer student to the University of North Texas from Tarrant County College. Even though I had a few friends at UNT I did not know one person in North Texas Sweethearts. I am by no means an introvert but the idea of walking into a room with 60 plus females I don’t know struck fear.

Fast forward four semesters and this is truly an organization I cannot picture my college experience without. Sweethearts is a circle of sisters where I have found some of my (not so future) bridesmaids, someone I can always grab coffee with and my closest friends. North Texas Sweethearts is an experience that I do not regret in the least bit. I am thankful to have found a sisterhood that makes UNT feel like home.

As a senior, I am glad I got to give back to this organization in my last semester. Although I graduate this month I want to extend help to members who may need help around campus or just need a friend in Denton. I have enjoyed mentoring girls who want advice regarding anything from Public Relations (I love talking about my major) to blogging. I know that Sweethearts was extremely comforting to me when I barely knew any familiar faces upon transferring. Just a few of the reasons I am thankful for North Texas Sweethearts include: making countless memories, several close friends, unlimited photos and an entire sisterhood that I can count on.

This experience serves as a testament to get out of your shell and try new experiences. Fear of rejection stops many of us from shooting for what we want whether its friendships, a career move or learning something new. It’s important to throw yourself out there no matter how vulnerable you feel because we often think of all of the things we can lose when really you have everything to gain!

Even though I hold many responsibilities on and off campus I have continued to dedicate time for an organization that I call home, North Texas Sweethearts. If anyone has any questions about joining or would like to grab coffee, please reach out!

Thank You Her Campus

Thank you for a platform to share my ideas. Thank you for a network of strong college women. Thank you for a chance to write for the #1 online magazine for college women.

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There is a lot to be thankful to Her Campus for as I reflect on four semesters of being involved in the organization.

What is Her Campus?

“Her Campus is the #1 new-media brand for the empowered college woman. Written entirely by the world’s top college journalists – with 11,000+ contributors and counting – HerCampus.com features national Style, Beauty, Health, Love, Life, Career, Entertainment, News, DIY, LGBTQ+, High School, and After College content supplemented by local content from 350+ campus chapters nationwide and in 11 countries.”

Basically, Her Campus is a great place to go if you want to find anything from the best study spots on campus to how to write a cover letter. Her Campus blogs are written in a conversational tone that should feel like you’re getting advice from one of your best girlfriends. I started reading Her Campus when I was a freshman in college and I found several articles that were helpful in my transition from a community college to a four-year university. Her Campus is aimed for the modern collegiette at every university.

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What I did at UNT Her Campus

In my first few semesters, I would produce bi-weekly articles. This semester, we grew exponentially in size so only one post a month is required. There are opportunities to run social media accounts, event planning for events on campus and leadership positions. Writing isn’t the only position within Her Camus but that’s what I took advantage of because you can’t get this kind of platform anywhere else with such little experience. Being a part of organizations like this in college is a great way to dodge the dreaded phrase “sorry, but you don’t have enough experience” when applying for jobs post-grad. Personally, I’ve written about not graduating on time, why it’s okay to be jealous, and profile stories on fellow students to name a few.

Advice that I have for girls who are interested in joining HC

I would tell girls to write outside of their comfort zone. College is your chance to try new things and figure out what you love! I would definitely make a point to network with this group of college women. It is a diverse group of women but you all joined HC for a reason so you will have common ground. This could turn into friendships or business partnerships down the road.

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What’s next

I definitely can attribute my love of Her Campus to push me to start a blog. Although my blog is still in the beginning stages I’m excited about where it’s going to take me! Her Campus is a great trial run for what it’s like to produce content on a deadline that readers are going to want to actually read. You never know until you try!

HC XOXO,

Lauren

My Community College Experience

I felt compelled to write a blog post about my experience as a community college student due to all of the stereotypes these students face. I understand that situations differ from person to person so the following is simply my opinion. I hope to help someone who has gone through a similar situation or to just share my side of the story.

As a past community college student, I know first-hand the stigmas these students face.As a high school senior, I was asked “Where are you going to college?” and “What are you doing after you graduate?” more times than I could dare count. When I announced that I would be attending Tarrant County College I received little to no positive remarks. The truth is that I lied over and over again to make my situation seem socially acceptable. I would list a few state schools and say I had not decided on one yet. In the beginning, I made the mistake of answering truthfully with the local community college I planned on attending and I received nothing but criticism. Adults would sympathize for me and whisper “oh no, how come?”. Phrases like “you know that’s where slackers go to school, right?”, “why are YOU going to community college?”, and “don’t get comfortable” were the norm. This is not to say that senior year was an awful experience for me (because it wasn’t) but anything that involved college was nauseating for me. Everyone from counselors to underclassmen felt the need to share their disapproval with me. In fact, I have been tempted to go back and share what a great experience I had at TCC. Instead, I can write this blog post for the world to see and hopefully help someone who has struggled with a similar situation. 

Community college was nothing like I expected it to be. Everyone had made it seem like some sort of jail for students who were destined to failure, which absolutely isn’t the case. In my first semester, I became Vice President of Student Government Association and greatly recommend it for students that want to get involved. My sophomore year I was elected President of SGA and even though it was a challenging experience, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I made great friends and got involved in a variety of clubs on campus. It can be hard to make friends with students at community college because everyone is so busy juggling jobs, classes and sometimes even families. I am thankful for these organizations because these are people that I would never have become friends with otherwise, but have changed my life for the good. It can be easy to get stuck in a bubble, but being around such a diverse group of students daily changed my perspective on life greatly. I applaud non-traditional students who come back to school to follow their dreams. Yes, I have worked during every semester of college but I look up to those who make great sacrifices for their education.

The truth is, life is what you make it.

The main message to take away is to always make the best out of whatever situation you’re in. Sure, I could have accepted my “fate” and slumped into classes barely getting by. Of course, I felt a pang of sadness watching my friends move into their freshman dorms and join sororities. Without a doubt, my journey isn’t the typical “four year college experience”. When in reality, I avoided student loan debt and met some of the most brilliant people I know to date. Through TCC, I earned a scholarship to study abroad in Salzburg, Austria with the Salzburg Global Seminar in summer 2015. This is an opportunity that earns its own blog post and will be coming soon. 

I am proud to have graduated with my Associates Degree from Tarrant County College in May 2015. Everyones journey is different and I am appreciative of the battles I faced because it’s what makes me stronger today. If anyone has questions about community college or has had a similar experience, please reach out! I would love to hear your story.

Better Late Than Never

As a Type A individual, I am usually not one to procrastinate but I am writing this post as a promise I made to myself. As a freshman in college, I made a college bucket list of all of the things I wanted to accomplish by the time I graduated with my Bachelors degree. One of those things was to write a personal blog. As a public relations major, I have written countless blog posts for my classes and internships. However, I never made time for my own. So here I am half way through my last semester of college with my first blog post.

Better late than never, right?

            I came close to launching a blog several times but something always stopped me. Whether it was coming up with a catchy name, cool domain, or fear of hopping on the blog bandwagon and churning out low quality content I always paused. However, if I’m learning anything during my last semester it’s that time flies fast. I am not striving for perfection with this blog. Instead, I’m trying something new knowing that I’m going to make mistakes along the way. So whether it’s to check-in with me, live vicariously through my college life or just for fun I hope you enjoy my little corner of the Internet. 

 A Little Bit About Me 

Hi there! I’m Lauren, For those of you who don’t know me or want to know me better. I am a Public Relations major at University of North Texas with a passion for blogging, DIY, food and learning about the world. I am a self-proclaimed Pinterest addict, coffee lover and constant smiler who can (almost always) be caught eating. I have a serious case of wanderlust and hope to one day work for a lifestyle and PR firm, as well as publish work focusing on travel. 

 I am blessed to have traveled to 7 countries, 13 states, and counting! My life travel partner is my aunt Diane. She has taught me to always keep an open mind and to be open to world cultures. 

I am currently engaged to my high school sweetheart, Chase Sepulvador. I’m not going to go into deep detail about that here because I’m sure there are going to be a lot of blog posts about that part of my life. To keep it simple: everyone deserves a Chase in their life. 

I am obsessed with my family dog who is a strange (but adorable) mix of German Shepherd and Corgi. Even though we rescued her from the local pound we joke that she saved us. I am proud to say I was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas with my family. 

I felt led to finally start my blog to keep these memories. Everyone is telling me “you’re going to miss this” and I want to remember it all. Hopefully I can offer advice to help some, provide some giggles and be an inspiration. If there are any specific topics you want me to write about please let me know! I am so excited about this new journey and glad you’re along for the ride.

My College Journey

         There are 43 days until graduation. I never thought this time would come. I find myself a little more emotional than usual during this last semester of college. Knowing that I am experiencing a lot of “lasts” is both sad and exciting. 

            Tarrant County College is where my college journey began. I served as President and Vice President of Student Government Association. Although I did not attend TCC by choice it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. No, I did not attend community college because of a lack in determination or grades. Unfortunately, community college students face so many negative stigmas. So many, that a separate blog post will be posted soon addressing it. 

            Next, I transferred to the University of North Texas for 2 ½ years to earn my Bachelors in journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Psychology. Obtaining my degree has been a long winding road for me full of potholes I managed to swerve around. Like most students I was never just a college student. But a leader of student organizations who worked jobs, held internships, volunteered and was heavily involved on campus.

            I am trying to enjoy all of these “lasts”. I am going to miss all of my sisters in North Texas Sweethearts and the fun memories I have made with them. Public Relations Student Society has provided so many networking and travel opportunities for me. I am going to miss all of my PRSSA peeps so much! Her Campus has been a great community of strong females and a chance for me to blog before starting my own. I may have not had much free time in college, but all of the student organizations I have been in have been worth it. 

           Then again, I am excited for the next chapter of my life! It will be so nice to finally earn a decent paycheck. As well as, living in a nice apartment in the city (versus student living). This is also the last semester of Chase and I being long distance. I cannot wait to finally be in the same city again. 

            If I were asked to give advice to a freshman entering college I would tell them “be involved on campus as much as possible, try new things, take your studies seriously and enjoy it all because it truly is over before you know it.” I don’t have any regrets about the choices I made during my college career and I am excited about what post-grad life is going to bring!