Updated: Jan 10, 2020
This is where life begins. Everyone has chosen a different path to follow after graduation. Depending on your degree, connections, job opportunities, and luck, where people go after they graduate can be wildly different from the next person. Even kids who got the same exact degree can end up on opposite paths. Graduating college is an end of an era, and after you graduate is a new one. This is the time where everything you have been preparing for comes into fruition. Finishing college can be nerve wracking with uncertainty but, hearing from people recently out of college can help put those to ease and learn from their experiences. This can help any graduating senior have a sense of what is next in the working world.
This final interview is with a college graduate who has been out of college and in the working world for two years. Chip has graduated from NCCC with a degree in Business Administration in 2016. He has been asked questions about what his college experience was vs. what he originally thought it was going to be like, what opportunities he has gained since graduating, and advice he would give to others.
Q: What did you think
about college going into it, and how much did you know about what college was like?
A: Absolutely nothing. I never thought I was going to go to college. I didn't think I needed to go to college. I didn't want to or plan to. I worked for about 2 years after graduating high school at a retail store and it was horrible. I realized most jobs are entry level, minimum wage, low chance for advancement jobs. There is little opportunity unless you make yourself look better with education, or unless you get super lucky or inherit a business. Even if you do get into a higher position with no college education you still have to go through some sort of training. So I decided to go to college in the Fall of 2012.
Q: What was your experiences going through college?
A: The classes that were good were more than great. But, certain things like algebra were still hard. Some teacher’s styles are very difficult and you have to adapt or switch classes quick. Scheduling your classes is not hard if you take your time to read the descriptions and what you could take. For example, I ended up having to take two extra semesters with classes I wasn't supposed to have taken for credits that were not going towards my degree. Granted, I learned a little more. Don't be afraid to talk to your teachers because 9 times out of 10 they are more than willing to help you. But, I enjoyed learning about things with depth and its still with me today.
Q: Did college help you?
A: Yes, I look awesome on paper. I have a degree and qualify for many types of jobs. But you get what you put into it. College allowed me to see that the “grown-up” world isn’t as scary as we all think it is. And college is a great place to see and learn about a huge networking environment that simulates how the real world works. With initiative and independence, college can open up a whole new world for you if you use it. I would strongly suggest you further your education to a 4-year university or more.
Q: What kind of opportunities has graduating college given you?
A: The opportunity to apply for jobs that require some college up to an Associate’s Degree, as well as, qualify for manager trainee jobs plus positions that are above entry level. Because, you have an achievement and proof that you can commit to finishing what you started. And have demonstrated skills like, time management, self discipline, and the ability to comprehend and utilize new information.
Q: What advice would you give to people just going into college and people just about to graduate college?
A: To people going into college, don’t be afraid of a fancy titled class or taking classes with your friends. Take time to focus on you. Legitimately explore all of your options, because this is the beginning of a little thing called life. You have all the choice in the world. Don't narrow your education to a broad categorized idea that you’re there only for your major. Get into clubs, school activities & functions don't be afraid, it's not high school. “Be the best version of yourself” Regret it or grow from it cause at least you tried. There is growth through challenge.
To those just about to graduate, don’t get lazy, take the time after you finish to be actively engaged in pursuing your career. Be realistic with yourself and see if continuing your education would benefit you better than getting a career right now. If it takes a couple or few more years to maximize your life, invest your time wisely now and you will thank yourself later. To those who feel ready to jump into the job market, congratulations and don’t hesitate to use the resources, tools & network you've built through your institution, chances are there are people and programs far and wide with their hand out to help you get started with grant programs and resume update services as well as career consulting/planning help.
Someone who did not plan to go to college saw that one of the best ways to advance in a job is through a college education. For him, it was an unplanned pathway that brought him new experiences and opportunities. If your having a hard time figuring out what you want to do in life it will help to hear about the different perspectives of the seven interviewees of this blog series.
The experiences of others and the advice given can be valuable to anyone. In the end, your life is your own and the path you choose is up to you.
I would like to thank each of the participants of this Q&A interview for their time and contribution to this blog.