Are your students ready for a reality check? Trading in the days of thesis papers, library study sessions, and campus parties for a full-time office job is a big change, and it is part of our responsibility to help students prepare for the shift. As college ministers, we should help students transition to adulthood practically, not just spiritually.
Here are five critical issues facing your students in the near future. It can be challenging to transition from college student to working professional for recent graduates.
1. Discipline not the Degree
Some students mistakenly believe that superior academic standing translates into automatic favor or a higher position on the job. We need to gently remind them that the degree does not impress a boss as much as hard work and being disciplined.
2. Time-Related Factors
Some students are very adept at planning their college schedules so they have only afternoon classes or classes only on certain days of the week, and it’s these students that have a hard time facing the reality of going to work every day. And work is not like the 8 a.m. class that you often skipped when you hit the snooze button too many times on your alarm clock; show up late one too many times, and you’ll find yourself unemployed. Another time-related harsh reality is free time and vacation time. There is no two-month summer break unless you’re a teacher!
3. Professionalism in the Workplace
In college, acting unprofessionally might result in a bad grade or a lecture from an administrator or professor; in the workplace, acting unprofessionally can get you fired. Professionalism also deals with dependability and being a self-starter. Remind students to clean up their social media presence! Many employers look at social media accounts before they hire. Remove any questionable pictures or photos from parties from public profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
4. A Job or True Calling?
Many recent college grads change jobs after their first year out; sometimes it takes that long just to fully understand who you are and what you really want to do with your life. For others, this understanding might not come until even later in life. We need to help students be able to grab ahold of the truth that the job does not define you.
5. Expect your social schedule to change
Reminding students not to expect to be able to go out with friends several nights during the week, or stay up until midnight (or later) every night like in college. Early on, create healthy work habits that contribute to career success. Eat well, get enough sleep and maximize your free time to keep a work-life balance. You will never have as many friends or social opportunities as you do in college. It is okay for your social circles to decrease in size and activities—It IS normal and does not mean you’re weird or a loser!
Sarah Farley serves as the Associate Director at the BCM at LSU. She loves coffee and investing in students’ lives.