things i learned in college

Among all of the other things that come with graduating college and moving to a brand new city far away – a diploma, the real world (already??), having to cook my own dinner every night of the week, a paycheck (yes!), rent/other “real world” expenses that require most of that paycheck – there is one thing that comes in spades. And it’s this lovely thing called retrospection.

Retrospection is a sometimes useful, sometimes dangerous, and extremely time-consuming activity. But it’s also very enlightening. They say hindsight is 20/20, and in looking back on the last several years, I’ve figured out a lot about myself and about life. Here are the highlights of those discoveries in bulleted form.

Things I Learned in College
  • Who my real friends are.
  • How lucky I am to have those people in my life.
  • How much I actually love ridiculous 80’s music.
  • Not everyone lives by the saying “if you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, you’re late” like I do.
  • Finding time to read for leisure is critical.
  • “I don’t have time for xyz” is another way of saying “I don’t feel like making time for xyz so I’m going to pretend I have way more going on than I do and will instead spend 3 hours surfing the Internet.”
  • Coffee is arguably the greatest beverage ever created.
  • Coffee is expensive and I cannot/should not spend my entire stipend on it.
  • Following sports is not only fun, it gives you something to small talk about other than the weather (which is important when you don’t keep up with current events).
  • As an adult, people assume you do keep up with current events.
  • You save a lot of money by taking a bagged lunch to school/work.
  • Downtime is actually important.
  • Dressing up gets old quick when you have to wear business clothes to work every day. And no one actually cares if you get coffee / run errands wearing a faded college sweatshirt.
  • Actually, some people think you look prettier that way.
  • I’ve turned into a huge cynic.
  • I need to stop being such a cynic. The few people that make me want to completely give up on mankind are, in fact, a very small percentage of the population. It’s a big world.
  • It’s a small world. And it’s connected.
  • When in doubt, go with your gut.
  • Your best friends aren’t necessarily the people you talk to 24/7 or eat lunch with every day. They might even be asleep when you call them at 2 am. But they’re the ones that call you back the next day and listen to you for hours, even if they’re tired of the subject or don’t agree with how you handled it. They distract you and make you laugh. They bring you coffee and king-sized Reese’s cups when they meet up with you to talk about your relationship troubles because they know chocolate fixes everything for awhile. They’re there for you when it really counts.
  • Sometimes you’ll be surprised by who will do that for you.
  • Sale-shopping is the way to live.
  • To-do lists and calendars are the key to successful time management.
  • If it’s been several months or years and that guy still hasn’t made up his mind, he probably won’t do it soon. So it won’t hurt to go out with that other guy who actually knows he wants you.
  • In fact, it would be a good idea to do so.
  • Mom was right about thank you notes. They never go unnoticed nor unappreciated.
  • Life goes on.

good news for the class of 2011

For my friends graduating this year, the future is even brighter than we thought. According to a recent article by U.S. News and World Report, the job prospects for soon-to-be college grads are looking up.

Job growth for soon-to-be college graduates is stronger this year than last in nearly every industry sector, says Edwin Koc, director of strategic and foundation research at NACE. Last week, the Bethlehem, Pa.-based organization released that about 53 percent of employers surveyed intend to hire more college graduates from the class of 2011 than from the previous year, a jump from less than 50 percent who reported they would in a fall survey.

Not only is recruiting on the rise, salaries are too. The article states that NACE “reported that average starting salary offers to college seniors were up about 3.5 percent from the same time last year.”

Granted, the job market is still extremely competitive, especially for those fresh out of school. Positions are few and qualified applicants are many. The article does cite the caveat that the improvement in the job market isn’t necessarily indicative of a complete recovery. However, it is a positive sign for those looking to enter the workforce in the near future — and, if the upward trend continues, those graduating after us.