College graduates needing a little help in the real world should follow these four guidelines

Posted at 8:35 AM, May 18, 2016

This is the burning question for many young adults upon the arrival of graduation: how does one transform from a bookworm, dorm-ridden college kid into a professional in the “real” world?

The transition is messy, not only in terms of finding a job and developing a career, but socially too. After school, friends move and networks change. It can be more lonely than one anticipated while living as a college grad trying to find a path and tribe in the new world — sometimes feeling more isolated than ever.

It is perhaps the most difficult transition of all.

This is the time when personal growth and self-actualization begin to flourish, coming to know thyself, and connecting with the deeper self.

Here are some tips to generate productivity and fulfillment upon graduation.

Just start somewhere
In a world of endless opportunity, it can be extremely difficult to know exactly what the “right” career fit will be. Luckily, that’s not as important. What is most important is taking an action — taking a less-than-perfect opportunity is better than remaining stagnant. 

Making some sort of move is more important than identifying the mysterious “correct” action according to Entrepreneur Penelope Trunk, on her blog. Becoming too fixated on “correct” action can lead to becoming overwhelmed with possibility and less likely to make a decision, and therefore remain stagnant.

By taking chances and trying new things, one learns what is not a great fit and can adjust when moving forward. A person grows with experience and intention, and a career path becomes more apparent after learning what didn’t fit in the past.

Even though that fancy piece of cardstock can cost thousands of dollars, a degree only goes so far. The real world somewhat revolves around who a person knows. Keeping a beginner’s mind, asking for help, and remaining humble can go a long way.

People are often looking for ways to give back and helping recent grads is a rewarding experience for those professionals who have experienced the transition firsthand. Don’t be afraid to reach out — a resume with a face will go much farther than a faceless resume. Seek mentorship, make connections and never stop learning.

Check your surroundings
It is said that people tend to be an average of the five people they are surrounded by the most. It’s important to take a step back and evaluate whether close friends are positively contributing to a common interest, suggests an article on

Decide what is important, what type of lifestyle is most desirable — and if these people are not of positive influence, consider changing it up.

Be intentional
Whatever is done, do it with reason and purpose. Be mindful of how each decision contributes to the end goal, whether it is for a day or a lifetime.

Upon waking up in the morning, make a list of things to accomplish within the day. This provides structure and motivation — and eventually builds to structure a productive lifestyle. Think before speaking and consider how what is said relates to what is believed.

Maintaining consistency with oneself leads to a clear, focused mission and contributes to self-purpose and happiness. Decide upon the lifestyle of choice, practice to embody that persona and be that well.