College and Career

Preparing For “The Real World” and Life After College

August 7, 2020
life after college

Guest post written by Lucy Long, Content Creator and student at Texas Christian University.

It seems like yesterday you were moving into that cramped freshmen dorm saying bye to your parents for the first time. Let’s not forget about that dorm food you wish you could forget. The four years you spend in college not only allow you to make lifelong friends, but you also learn about yourself and grow up as a person.

But after those four years filled with late-night ice cream runs and tailgates, you enter into the unforeseeable “adulthood” — the era where you have to worry about things like taxes and taking out the garbage.

This uncharted territory may seem like a scary step, but below are five tips that will prepare you for a successful future. Read on to learn how to prepare for the real world after college.

Update Your Resume and Portfolio

In order to achieve anything as an adult, you need to have some sort of income. No matter where you apply to work, the best way to start is by updating your resume and making your portfolio.

When updating your resume, it’s important to showcase the most important information and leave out the rest. Though there are many examples available to reference as you write your resume, the most important thing is to update it constantly.

Portfolios are also becoming a big hit for job recruiters. Many young professionals have opted to make an online portfolio to showcase their work and the skills they gained through each of their experiences. To start, you have to create a website and purchase a domain, which will allow potential work opportunities to find you and see all your impressive work.


network to prepare for life after college

Networking is critical when seeking job opportunities. By actively seeking out connections, you can open many doors for yourself. At any event, make sure to meet as many people as possible and use LinkedIn as a way to connect.

Make sure to connect with friends, family, colleagues, and even classmates to ask for advice and open doors.

People you network with can help you find new career opportunities and could be possible clients for the work you do. Networking can expand your horizons and offer opportunities you don’t even know exist yet. 

Apply, Apply, Apply!

When starting out, apply everywhere. It doesn’t hurt to try to apply for a job you might not feel qualified for yet. You’re at a time in your life where taking risks is acceptable and encouraged.

Say Google opens up a position for Social Media Advisor — maybe you have no experience, but have an amazing portfolio. You might be thinking, “There is no way I could get that cool of a job at my level of expertise.” But there’s nothing wrong with applying and seeing what happens — they could end up hiring you! All you have to do is take a leap of faith.

It’s also important to apply for jobs that may not seem too appealing. You may not want to start at the bottom of the totem pole in a business, but you can always climb up the latter. Maybe that assistant job can open doors for you to move up in the company and someday become head editor. Be open and flexible!

Refresh Your Skills

Everything is always changing and the best practices used for each business are always adapting to fit new norms. In order to be fully prepared for the workforce, make sure to read up on trends and tips for your industry.

You never want to be the last person to hop on the new trend — by staying up-to-date, you are able to not only impress job recruiters, but also refresh your skills.

For example, you might choose to get SEO-certified over the summer or take an online class. Small achievements like this can easily beef up a resume and help you stand out as an applicant.


Being an adult can seem scary with all the change that’s happening at once. At times, it may be hard to process, and it can cause stress and anxiety. When you’re feeling a lot of pressure, it’s important to remember to relax and find balance.

how to figure out what to do after college and relax

You are not going to be the perfect adult after one day; it takes trial and error. You’re going to accidentally put your jeans in the dryer and shrink them. You might overcook your food and have to grab takeout for a third night in a row. It’s okay.

Growing up is all about making mistakes and learning from them, so don’t be scared to just take a breather and accept everything happening. 

You’ve Got This

Adulthood is uncharted territory for many college graduates. We may no longer be living with our parents or we may be moving to a new city entirely. 

By understanding a few tips to help you prepare for life after college, you can give yourself the opportunity to succeed. To make the most of your young adult years and be successful, start by updating your resume and portfolio with your work and accomplishments, and always network in-person and online. Go for those job applications and keep learning new skills to improve your resume.

Lastly, don’t forget to go easy on yourself, because you’re only at the start of this exciting journey.

About the Author

Lucy Long is a Strategic Communications major with a Data Analytics minor at Texas Christian University. Lucy is a content creator at Magnus Opus. She also spends her time writing for Carson Leslie Center blog.


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