May 14, 2021
Tips for Transitioning from Student Life to Full-Time Work
If you are a soon-to-be graduate with the college-to-career transition on the horizon, there is an inevitable impending schedule shift. Here are some tips and tricks for leaning into time management.
Alyssa Towns (Swantkoski)
3 min. read

If you are a soon-to-be graduate with the college-to-career transition on the horizon, there is an inevitable impending schedule shift. Shifting schedules can feel overwhelming and stressful without an action plan, and there is not a lot of support for those transitioning from a college student to a real-world adult.

What makes the transition so hard? Shifting from having control over your time and flexibility within your schedule to not having as much control over your daylight hours creates a sense of lost control. Losing some level of autonomy over your schedule can feel uncomfortable at first. But with a game plan and some self-care strategies on deck, you can successfully and comfortably make the transition in no time.

  1. Lean into the power of building and sticking to routines.  If you are a college student, your current schedule might be flexible and irregular. Some days you might have one class, others you might have four, and you're used to having plenty of free time for other responsibilities and fun in between. Transitioning to a full-time job takes some time to get used to, and you can make the adjustment easier on yourself by creating good routines and habits. When I first transitioned to a full-time job, I realized it’d be helpful to establish a more consistent sleep schedule that allowed me to wake up at the same time every day to get ready for work. A consistent sleep schedule, meal planning, and other healthy habits can help you build effective routines that ease the transition period.
  2. Keep an open mind. As you embark on your career journey, it is crucial to keep an open mind. The more willing you are to explore, the better you will get to know yourself and what you are looking for in your long-term career. You might also have a glamorized idea of what life as a working adult should feel like. I expected my first job post-graduation to be much more glamorous and fun than it was, but in the end, I am thankful for that experience that led to better opportunities down the road. Be flexible and kick any preconceived expectations to the curb to preserve your mental bandwidth during this transition. 
  3. Learn and adopt time management skills that will help you thrive. As your schedule starts to change, you will inevitably notice that you have less time to hang out with your friends, free time during the summer months, and spare time for last-minute shenanigans. Prepare yourself for this loss of time by acknowledging that there will be less of it and utilizing the free time that you do have. Make dinner plans with your friends after work, or schedule your time for exercise first thing in the morning. Be aware of how you are spending your time since it is more limited, and take advantage of it in meaningful ways. 
  4. Explore and create your path, even if it is a non-linear one. One of the biggest perks about diving into the adult world headfirst is that you can use this transitional moment as a period of exploration. Find the opportunities and moves that work for you, even if they are “non-traditional.”This provides an opportunity for you to take control of and make decisions about your direction, which can be empowering when it feels like you do not have any control over your schedule and weekdays.
  5. Identify self-care strategies that work for you and use them when you need them. If you need post-work naps during the first few weeks after starting your full-time job, take them. Maybe you designate one night per week to go for a short hike after work to help you disconnect and recharge. Identify the strategies and actions you can take to take care of yourself as you navigate the transition. Some days will be more challenging than others and might require more compassion for yourself to get you through them. 
  6. Understand that college has not prepared you for everything. While college can prepare you for some components of the adult world, it is critical to understand that college did not prepare you for everything. Unexpected personal and professional challenges will come your way at some point in time and acknowledge that it is okay that you don't know how to handle everything. It is okay to ask for help or learn something new to help you through a challenging event in your life. 

Your post-graduation experience won't come without hurdles, but you can overcome them and persevere. If you are looking for more support during your post-graduation transition, sign up for the GrasshoppHer app!