Graduation 🎉, now what?

3 Easy Steps to Transition Out of College 


New opportunities are exciting, but it really chaps leaving behind beloved friends and fond memories of a prosperous college career to face the hardships of “the real world”. Make the transition suck less with some preparation tips that we wish had been given to us earlier as students. 

1) Design a Stellar Portfolio


Thanks to modern tech there’s numerous ways to give your portfolio a professional touch at minimal to no expense. Carve out time to customize the layout and the content for both your resume and cover letter. At the very least try to unify the color scheme. Additionally, adding a professional headshot will draw the eye and put a name to a face for potential employers. Export both PDF (print) and JPG (web) formats on to your desktop for quick printing or uploading. 


Adobe Creative Cloud has $20 monthly student plans where users have unlimited access to programs like InDesign, Photoshop and Lightroom where they can completely customize publications, photos and view tutorials. Plus, you get the added bonus of becoming savvy in publication design and can save your design templates for updates down the road. A prudent investment for the return value. 


But…times are tough so programs like Adobe Spark,WordPress,Weebly and Wix allow you to build professional grade portfolios for free. And the internet is littered with additional sites that provide downloadable resume and cover letter templates. 


Speaking of tough times… 



2) Improve Your Financial Competency


Regardless of your parental monetary dependence or lack thereof, through college you need to be fully prepared to stay afloat in the money boat the day you graduate. Start with some simple principles.


1.     Analyze your spending. Take a monthly debit and/or credit card statement and go through and highlight every expense that is not essential to your fixed expenses. (Netflix, bar tabs, restaurants and miscellaneous retail impulses). If you’re anything like us it will make you sick but it can be a much-needed eye opener.


2.     Set a budget. A general rule of thumb for personal finance is: 50% fixed expenses. 20% to financial goals. 30% to wants. That being said, everyone’s financial pie chart will differ based facets of their lives. Read previous BetterYou article, The Importance of a Budgetto dive deeper. 


3.     Educate yourself. This is the simplest and most important step you can take. There are endless resources available online to help you learn about personal finance. Here are some of the most important topics to help you achieve financial success out the gate.  

·     First Credit Card

·     Repaying Student Loans

·     Building Credit History

·     Paying Down Debt

·     401K, Roth and Traditional IRA

·     Employee Benefits


You can always talk to IBM Financial Analysts and BetterYou contributor, Obed Jean-Baptiste for additional financial direction. 


3) Create Wellness Habits


With a full-time career, it feels like there simply is not enough time in the day and finding time to lead a healthy lifestyle becomes increasingly more difficult. But the fact is, aspirations are useless if you lack in any area of wellness.


The four core components of wellness you need to pay attention to include physical, financial, mental, and social well-being. It’s important for you to understand how they influence one another. When one is lacking, the other components are consequently affected. 


The best way to insure you’re staying well rounded is to create habits in each category. It takes roughly 66 days to form a habit. The road to forming a habit may seem never-ending, but here are some focus areas and routines to help you keep moving forward.   



Physical Well-Being

Focus areas

·     Quality Sleep 

·     Healthy Diet

·     Physical Activity


Habit-forming routine

Create recordable goals. Set a bed-time and wake-time at the beginning of the week and see how many times you hit what you set. Keep adjusting until you can go 7 for 7, one month straight. The more consistent your bed-time and wake-time are, the better-quality sleep you’ll get.

Mental Well-Being

Focus areas

·     Daily thoughts

·     Internal feelings

·     External behavior


Habit-forming routine

Affirmations and Reflection. Either in the morning or at night, take time away from everything and just pause. Say 3-5 affirmations in the mirror and reflect on yesterday’s takeaways. An affirmation is the action of confirming. (“I am going to do great on the presentation today. I am worthy of this new position. Etc.) Positive self-talk and realizing what you’re grateful for go a long way. This exercise can be done in numerous ways and takes no more than 5 minutes. 

Social Well-Being

Focus areas

·     Your inner circle

·     Time with family/friends

·     Meaningful interactions 


Habit-forming routine

Be present. Once or twice a month do something with people from your focus areas where you’re fully engaged and put everything else on “Airplane mode”. This is a win-win because you grow your relationships and they typically aren’t expensive. Game night, making dinner, and movie night are a couple examples of cheap “getaways” to make sure your lack of money and new career don’t ruin your social life. 

 Congrads 🎓

After you walk across that stage, there is a heavy combination of responsibility and opportunity laid on you like a lead vest. The world can be yours and every decision you make can have a profound effect on your life, career and health so help yourself by utilizing some of these tips. 


Remember to take time to appreciate all that you’ve accomplished in your life so far and the people who have become a part of your story along the way. 


We wish you nothing but happiness and success. Cheers to you grad!