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Four Things Not to Do After Graduation

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Michelle with her family.

This past September, I celebrated my one-year anniversary at my firm. The time went by so quickly; I can hardly believe it! It has been over a year since I walked out of my last class in the Jindal School, and over a year since I shut the door to my on-campus apartment. So much has happened in my first year in my “real” job, and I have learned so much. You'll get a lot of advice after graduation: Invest in your 401k, make time to work out, call your parents more often. Well, here's my advice for things to not do after graduation:

1. Don’t make drastic changes to your spending habits.

Once you graduate, you might finally start to see some income flowing into your bank account. Especially if your company happens to give you a nice signing bonus, it’s easy to pretend you are now living a more extravagant lifestyle. Since you’re no longer a “poor college student,” you might start to eat out more, or your fiancé might decide that it’s the perfect time to buy a motorcycle. Especially if you’ve got student loans, try not to go too far into debt.

2. Don’t lose touch with your university friends.

A few of your friends may move away, while even more might become involved with their job to a point that you just don’t see them as often. It’s important to stay connected to your university friends, not only because they will probably be an important network in the future, but because it’s important to stay connected to the people you’ve met throughout your life. You’re lucky to have built up friendships with those you met in your classes, don’t let them slip away!

3. Don’t get into a routine.

Life won't change, and week after week life will stay the same. I’m still astonished that I made it through an entire year in the same position. While in school, you get new semesters to reset your goals, but once you graduate, there isn’t a set time period when your routine will change drastically. I always looked forward to a new semester because it was a change of classes, people and scenery in general. Fortunately, I get to rotate projects frequently, but not everyone gets that luxury. Once you start your real job, it’s easy to get used to where you are and to become stagnant in your career. You have to motivate yourself to move forward, to set new goals and to make changes.

4. Don't stop learning.

You need to set aside time for things that are important to you. Keep your mind active and consider picking up a new hobby. Your work might give you periodic training, but to better yourself, you need to put aside time to learn new things. For those of you reading this who have already graduated — when was the last time that you picked up a book? You’ll want to learn more about your industry or maybe pick up some new technology skills for your new job, but make sure to spend time relaxing and not thinking about work as well.

It’s phenomenal to think that an entire year has already gone by. I miss the semester refresh and my Jindal family I’ve grown to love, but post-graduation definitely brings on so many exciting adventures. It’s important to keep in mind that while you shouldn't forget about your friends and what you’ve learned, you should also strive to grow.

Michelle Abuda

J. Michelle Abuda earned her BS in Management Information Systems and MS in Business Analytics from the Naveen Jindal School of Management. Currently, she works at Crowe Horwath as a Regulatory Compliance Risk Consultant in the Columbus, Ohio office. During her time at JSOM, she was actively involved as a leader on the Dean's Council. She helped found the JSOM Book Club, as well as the TEDxUTD Club. Read more articles

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