Preparing to Graduate College? Three Things to Have Lined Up Before You Walk Across the Stage

The months leading up to graduation are wildly exhilarating. All that you’ve worked for the past four years is finally coming full circle: you’re about to walk the stage and head out into the real world. Congratulations! When graduation is three to six months away, it’s easy to think that you have plenty of time to get your affairs in order before you have to pack up and leave college behind.

Before you know it, however, those short months will slip away and it’ll be time for you to start looking for a job, packing up your apartment, and transitioning out of the college life. For those of you who are preparing to graduate college, here are the three main things you should have lined up before you walk across the graduation stage.

What’s going to happen to your apartment?

When I graduated college, I still had six months left on my lease. I remember going to sleep every night in sweats wondering what I was going to do with my college apartment that I no longer needed. I had a job offer in another city and there was no need for me to keep my college apartment lease anymore, and I didn’t want to pay for something I wasn’t living in.

My biggest mistake was that I waited until the last minute to try to sublet my place, which proved to be quite the headache. At least three months before graduation, try to figure out what you’re going to do with your college residence. If you don’t want to be stuck with a lease, see if your landlord will allow you to sublease. Should they allow you to find an individual to sublease your apartment, list your place on Craigslist or ask around to see if anyone is looking for an apartment. Believe me, the last thing you want is to be stuck with is a lease on a apartment you don’t need anymore.

Do you have job interviews lined up?

Transitioning to the “real world” after college is never easy. For years, all you’ve done is study, go to bed late, party on the weekends, and live it up as much as you can. When all that fun must come to an end, it can be a truly saddening feeling.

Oftentimes, people like to avoid tough situations rather than confront them head on. When it comes to getting a job, however, there is no way around it: you need a job in order to support yourself. Instead of avoiding the matter, go ahead and get interviews lined up one to two months before you graduate college.

You’ll want to get a head start so you don’t have to worry about the massive competition you’ll have to face if you wait until after graduation to look for a job.

If you don’t get a job right away, what will you do?

As terrible as it sounds, it’s always important to plan for worst-case scenarios. In today’s unpredictable job market and economic environment, you never know how long it may take for you to score a job. The competition is fierce and the openings are few. You may go on a ton of job interviews before you land the job you want, and there is nothing you can do except keep moving forward and trucking on.

Should you not land a job right away, you need to decide what you’ll do to support yourself. Are you going to move home? Will you work a part-time job in your college town? How are you going to start paying off student loans? Although these are tough questions to answer, they are essential to address.

Do yourself a huge favor and figure out what you’ll do in case the odds aren’t in your favor right after college graduation. There is no shame in being mentally prepared for these circumstances. Just keep your chin up, but always be prepared for the road ahead.

College graduation is an exciting rite of passage and it’s something you should prepare for months in advance. If you haven’t done so already, figure out these three key agenda items before you walk across the graduation stage.

Contributed by Patricia Garcia

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