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Steps to Transition from College to a Career

written by: Tia Ahmed•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 7/5/2011

The transition from college to career lifestyle can be a major hassle, but following these tips can help ease the transition. College lifestyle is very different from most lifestyles and therefore some specific aspects, such as social support, can be helpful.

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    College vs. Career Lifestyle

    The college lifestyle, unlike the ones shown in the media, is not always about parties. Some classes and programs require a lot of time management on the student's part. College grading is often much harder and require more critical thinking and professional writing; however, college is not always a way to raise a student to have a solid view of how a career is.

    So, what is a career? For purposes of this article, we will loosely define college lifestyle as a full time college student and career lifestyle has someone who is no longer a college student. Since a career is anything a person wishes to do and achieve in, it is difficult to define it.

    Regardless, there are some techniques which can help with the transition from college to career.

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    Techniques that May Help During the Transition

    Career planning is important, one must know what type of person they are first. In order to know whether or not one is fit for the career of choice, try visiting the college counselor. Remember, not all counseling services offer the same advice, sometimes it takes more than one trip and test to properly match one with a career path.

    Time and stress management techniques, such as keeping a planner, is picked up during the college years and will greatly benefit the career lifestyle. Planning and scheduling along with a strict routine may be required for life outside of college, depending on the chosen career path. Some careers are dramatically different from other careers, but managing time and stress can be incorporated in any healthy lifestyle.

    Other techniques include learning to control procrastination, showing up for meetings or class on time, and submitting assignments on time.

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    College Counseling Services

    Most college counseling services can offer great advice when one goes through the transition from college to career lifestyle. These services can be found on campus. If such services are not available on campus, try looking for counseling services that are free online. Remember counselors are usually very experienced in handling the transition and have dealt with such transitions for a much longer time. They will be able to tell you what techniques, such as time management, can benefit your career lifestyle. For instance, if one wished to be an electrical engineer, one has to be fairly meticulous in their work.

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    Social Support

    Social support is key; having a strong social network of family and friends is extremely helpful. Sometimes it is very difficult to follow a career, especially when it involves a lot of traveling; for instance, joining the military after college. The greatest thing for parents to do is to let their former student know they are still with them, even if the former student has moved several hundred miles away.

    As with feeling homesick during the first year of college, feeling homesick after college can be even worse. Even in college, most students are still kept protected from the outside world through progress reports, such grades and transcripts, etc. When one follows a career, there can be very little support from new people. Although the type of career greatly varies, having someone to rely on during emergencies is greatly beneficial to a former student's overall health.

    Overall, with proper counseling services, social support, and techniques learned during college years, can ease the transition from college to career lifestyle.