I honestly cannot believe I graduated from college almost one year ago. My student I.D. is still nicely displayed in the front pocket of my wallet (I can’t resist a student discount). And I’m still on the email lists of student clubs (I know when all the Tango meetings are haha). I feel like I was really prepared to graduate. I had really good internships, a nice resume, and clear goals. I went to workshops on how to prepare for post-grad life on topics such as how to save money, cook on a budget, and negotiate your salary. I felt prepared.
But being one year out of college I learned that there were things that no one braced me for. Here are three things I wasn’t prepared for:
YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT REALLY MATTERS
Most people told me that the most important thing was getting a job, that’s it. But let me tell you this: You can have the best job title in the world but if your work environment sucks, you won’t enjoy your job very much. I interned at a lot of organizations so I thought I knew what my first job would be like. I had a vision of high heels everyday, a face full of makeup, working a shifting schedule of crazy hours, never having a break, and working with people who would claw their way up to the next position. Yet, that’s far from what my job looks like now.
Yes, I work a lot of hours but my office environment is inviting, friendly, and my co-workers are really supportive of my ideas. And since I’m being honest here I think the best part is our weekly yoga classes and free snacks.
I think recent or soon-to-be grads should know the things that go beyond salary and job duties. Does you job allow you to work from home? Do they have commuter benefits? Does your company offer fitness classes or professional development workshops? What’s the dress code? These are super important things to know. You can end up very miserable if your work environment is not good.
THE POST-GRAD 15
So my weight never fluctuated while I was in college. I went to community college for two years, so I never had a meal plan then. When I transferred to UMD and started living on campus I ate normally and was always really active. I lived for the group fitness classes at the gym. I would take Zumba, STEP, and hip-hop classes and my college was so large that I walked everywhere.
But once I graduated, I started gaining weight (or muscle as my mom likes to call it). Now it wasn’t 15-pounds, maybe 7 or 8 pounds but still I felt like that was a lot. Even the pants I would used to wear for my internship didn’t fit anymore. I blame it on the happy hour. I’m telling you, sitting at a desk all day and going to happy hour will make you gain weight. They should’ve warned me!
At the beginning of the year I got serious about my overall health. I kept doing yoga twice a week but started doing one day of weight training and two days of cardio at the gym. I also limit the amount of meat I eat and detox once a week. The little bit of weight I gained is gone and I’m probably healthier now than when I was when I graduated.
YOUR CO-WORKERS CAN BECOME YOUR GOOD FRIENDS
Before I graduated I didn’t give much thought to co-workers. I didn’t know that these people who I spend most of my days with would become my friends, lunch buddies, and support. I learned that your relationship with your coworkers is just as important as your relationships with other people in your life. Co-workers aren’t just people who you sit next to and take a tissue off their desk. They are important parts of your professional life.