Our Best Advice for College Grads

Our Best Advice for College Grads

by: Emily Thomas

One of our favorite parts of the Cultivate community is that there are college gals and grandmas alike who use PowerSheetshow cool! The unifying factor of everyone here is that we want to use our time with no regrets, and we have a desire for change. If that's you, too, this is where you belong! I personally love learning from people both younger and older than me, so this aspect of our community delights me to no end.

Since college graduates are just beginning to settle into life off-campus, I thought now would be a perfect time to offer a few thoughts from our team and the Cultivate community. Here goes, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

1. Revel in your scrappy season. I recently looked back at a few photos of our first apartment and was reminded how frugally we lived in that season. We didn’t have a washer or dryer. Our mattress was on the floor. There was more than one table made out of a cardboard box :) But it was fine! Your early twenties are the PERFECT time to live below your means, because your peers are mostly doing the same (which means less pressure to keep up with the Joneses).

And don’t just tolerate this season, but EMBRACE it! Get fired up knowing that you are getting ahead by living below your means now. Buy things off Craigslist when you need them. Learn to cook a few cheap and healthy meals. Pack your lunch. Seek out free entertainment. Emily (10 years out of college)

2. If your first job isn't your dream job, that's okay! Your goals, interests, and skillsets will change over time, so it's more important that your first job give you experience to land your dream job and space to imagine where you want to go next. Hold your one/five/ten-year plans with open hands—anticipate the unexpected! —Madeline (4 years out of college)

3. Enjoy the process and practice gratitude for each step you make. Don't forget that any new experience will help form you for whatever job you have in mind––if you allow the formation to happen! Each experience will teach you something about how to ask questions, communication, and confidence. —Meg (9 years out of college)

4. Don't be afraid to do the hard work. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere, so ask all the questions and embrace all the answers. —Marissa (12 years out of college)

5. Your path in life may not be a straight line! I've had five major career changes in my life—from theatre to personal training to wedding production to making a magazine, to being an author. Your path may look more like a zigzag. I am so grateful for the zigzag that led me here! I felt so much pressure to have my life figured out early on. You don't have to have it all figured out—just take the next best step forward with your eye on the big picture. Choose what matters. Choose what lasts. —Lara (18 years out of college)

6. Go ahead and buy the toilet plunger and the powerful flashlight. You never know you need those things until it's too late!  —Kim (29 years out of college)

7. Start contributing to a retirement account or 401K as soon as you can. It can be tempting to want to furnish your new life with stylish furniture, but invest that money into your future and shop at thrift stores for now! Compound interest is magic, and will allow you to put less money in but save more in the long term if you just start early. —Casey (9 years out of college)

8. Make plans to use your evenings effectively. Having a life outside of work helps you to be your best at work—yes, this means sometimes cutting out Netflix time to meet a new friend, explore a new spot, or go for a run! —Kaylee (2 years out of college)

9. Don't try to come up with all the answers on your own. Seek advice and wisdom, because someone has likely previously experienced something similar! From asking a new neighbor if there's a preferred internet or gas provider to seeking wisdom about a friendship or job opportunity—looking to a trusted advisor or friend is never a bad idea! —Julie (6 years out of college)

10. Seek out work mentors. Look for the men and woman who embody the hard and soft skills you want to cultivate—above all else, look for genuine character in those individuals. —Kenzie (3 years out of college)

What would you add? I'd love to hear!

Pssst: Have a beloved grad in your life? A set of 90-Day PowerSheets, our Intentional Goal Planner, makes the perfect graduation gift! Help her start her grown-up life with joy, passion, and intention. I can't tell you how many moms buy PowerSheets for their twenty-something daughters after using them themselves, and how many gals in our community tell us "I wish I'd had these ten years ago!"

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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