By Stephen Caloo

The prospect of finally graduating from campus comes with wildest imagination. A dream of a better home, well-paying job, driving a SUV. The list goes on. It is natural for any student to dream of a better future. However, most of the time this is never the case. The life after campus is often much different from what we think of. So, what next after graduation? Let’s roll.

1. Minimise your expectations.
Let us be frank. The world will not be waiting for you, with open arms, to hand you that job. It is a matter of competition. Come out of the graduation with the mentality that you will either get a job- sooner or later; or will never be employed at all. Either way, life has to continue. With this mindset, no matter what happens out there, you will have prepared yourself psychologically. Shelve those wild imaginations, for now and see what the future has in store for you.

2. Do not compare yourself with others.
Never measure yourself on the successes and failures of others. Your lives are very different. It is normal that your collegemates will share nice photos of them in the office, after a while, do not sulk about it. That does not mean that you are a failure. It simply means that it is not yet your time. Your time will come.

3. Be ready to accept rejects.
You will apply for jobs, thousands of time. Most of these, you will receive reject letters. That does not mean you are a failure, it simply means that the job was not fit for you. You will be promised a call after interviews, which will not happen. The world does not end there. Pick yourself up and try again.

4. Network.
Never burn bridges. Get in touch with your collegemates and lecturers. They might be the link you need to your next job. Ask for any job openings they come across, they might recommend you. Attend business events and establish contacts with the heads of the organisations. Remember, most of the jobs are never advertised.

5. Explore far and wide.
Do not limit yourself to your area of specialisation. Accomodate yourself in other areas. Just because you did IT in campus, should not be a reason that you cannot take up the sales and marketing job. In fact, according to research, most people end up in jobs that are far different from their area of specialisation in campus. However, whichever area you find yourself in, just do your best.

6. Know your boundaries.
In your pursuit for a job, do not stoop too low and engage in acts that compromise your own values. Do not be too desperate. Compromise where you can, where you can’t, then don’t. Do not lose your soul in the pursuit of a job.

7. Volunteer.
Many graduates frown at the idea of volunteering their services to an organisation. Basically, you will begin from the entry level positions with little or no pay. This provides you an opportunity to gain the much needed experience that shuts out many graduates from the interview room. Moreso, the networks gained from volunteering come in handy in securing a permanent job.

8. Start your own.
If the opportunities do not come, then it is time to create your own. Identify your passions and come up with a product that will meet the people’s needs. Come up with a business plan and pitch your idea to friends and family and allow them to contribute towards your business. However, your friends and family, will often not buy from you. So, it is up to you to go out there and meet the stranger, convincing him to buy your product. Most importantly, do not let a lack of finance distract you from business. There are so many resources on the internet, on how to fund and bootstrap your startup. It is a difficult task but a worthwhile one, in the long run.

Therefore life after campus is no easy fete. It requires patience, hardwork and most importantly, never losing sight of your goals in life.

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