Advice from a recent graduate

Written by Adriana (Ana) Hofstadter, PATH Case Manager

Ana is the newest addition to the Ferndale Michigan Works! team. As a recent college graduate herself, she can really relate to the challenges that grads and job seekers face when they first leave school, and was kind enough to share her advice for getting through the job search. 
Ana and her brother at graduation
Ana and her brother at graduation

Congratulations on finishing your degree! You have made a giant step to bettering yourself and our world. As a recent college graduate myself, I wanted to share my experiences and give some advice to help you along your journey. I hope the following words help you through this roller coaster called life.

I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in May of 2013 with a BA in Family Services.  During school, I discovered a passion for helping those dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault. I began volunteering at a local agency my sophomore year. I continued to volunteer for three years, as well as completing my senior internship there. After I graduated, I received a short term job offer. The job was to last three months and I would be helping them transition into closure since we lost funding and would not be open as of September 2013. During that time, my boyfriend moved to Michigan after getting a job at GM. In October I moved to Michigan and spent seven long, cold, depressing months unemployed before receiving an offer to work at Ferndale Michigan Works! in April 2014.

One of your biggest challenges will be putting your degree and yourself to work. Finding a job in today’s market is very daunting. One thing I did when looking for a job was to take time for myself. It is very important to keep your emotions high and yourself motivated. Take breaks, allow yourself to enjoy the weekends. Look for jobs from 8-4 or 9-5. You won’t hear back from most of the jobs you apply for or you will hear resounding “no’s”. This happens to everyone! Just keep moving forward. I also researched my field. Since I was new to the area, I needed to know what kinds of jobs were out there and whether I was able to do them or not.

I hope most of you can find work close to home, this way you can maintain or grow the relationship you have with family and friends. It is so important to have a support system when you are first starting out. I call my mom all the time for advice on cooking, cleaning, what I should do at work, etc. She is more than willing to help even though I am an “adult.” Finding new friends in the adult world is always hard. In school, you are surrounded by people your own age who share your interests. Making friends could be as easy as breathing. Now you will need to start putting more effort into building your network and support system. I try my best to get to know my neighbors. If nothing else, they are close by and can help with the small things. I also started volunteering right once I moved. I found a local animal shelter and have made several friends and have had many rewarding experiences. I have also found a few clubs around town for people who share my interests, like a board game club once every Friday.

For me, the biggest thing which kept me going was people. As soon as I put myself out there, things became easier and easier. Your situation may be different. I encourage you to find that one thing that keeps you going. Once you find it, make sure to maintain it! Have one thing under control in your life will make this transition so much easier.

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