A Tribute to December Graduates

December college graduates will soon strut across the stage in a cap and gown, waving goodbye to a yet another chapter in this precious life. Being a May graduate myself is a little scary, knowing that we will soon be introduced to the real working world. Leaving a place behind where education is the primary responsibility may seem overwhelming, especially when the rest of us have a whole second semester left to prepare for the intimidating work world. The life of relying on ramen noodles as a staple food group, staying up until sunrise for no reason at all and avoiding the gym like the plague is finally coming to a close. For those of you who are graduating in December, here are some pieces of advice to prepare you for the big transition:

Personal Brand

As graduation comes near, think about your personal brand or how you want to come off as an adult. This does not have to be limited to social media (even though we’ve been told that’s all we think about because we’re millennials, right?) When you start new job, try to make a positive impression right away to show your capabilities and potential to do great work. Invest in sharp work clothes to come off as put together, practice your handshake to avoid sweaty hands or rehearse your greeting in a mirror to dodge stuttering on the first day. Graduating in December is a little bit harder because you will be the first of the class to leave the nest and set an example for the rest of the class, but you’ll also benefit from a head start to thinking professionally.

Use Social Media Wisely

Now comes the obligatory social media lecture. An obvious tip is to review your content for anything unflattering and de-college every profile; in fact, you might be better off deleting all profiles and making new ones just for professionalism purposes. However, if you decide to keep your pages, update the personal information section, especially on LinkedIn, to let employers know you either have a job or are currently looking. In addition, as you enter the real world, limit the views of your still-in-college-friends Snapchats, Instagram posts and Facebook pages to avoid FOMO (fear of missing out). Trust me, constantly keeping tabs on the party will only make it way worse. You must move on!

Consider Seeking Financial Advice

The idea of earning an actual salary might be one of the best perks about graduating early. With that being said, there are some things to think about before you go spending all of your hard earned money on expensive junk. Do not put off loan payments! According to Student Loan Hero, the average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt, up a whopping six percent from last year. That means budgeting for recent college graduates should be a huge priority!

Shed ONE Tear

Let’s be honest, December graduates are going to be missed oodles and will eventually miss college just as much. During the final countdown, give out lots of hugs to everything; I mean friends, professors, buildings and anything that you have built a strong connection to in the last four years. Keep one small memento from your apartment to put on your desk and, as you pack up, shed one small tear. Then, it’s time to think about all of the great things that lie ahead!

Graduating will seem scary and unpredictable, but if you take follow the right steps to ease into post-grad life, it’ll be a piece of cake! If you’re leaving campus this December, consider the pieces of advice above. And remember that us May graduates will be right behind you! Do you have any advice for December grads? Please share below.

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