4 Tips To Take You From Grad School To Real Life

July 1, 2013 by  

Since many people are finishing up graduate programs this month (and I still dream/have nightmares about my own graduate education), I thought that I would share some thoughts on the transition from grad school to employment in the real world.

Initial years of employment for professionals tend to be stressful with reports of stress, frustration, anxiety and disappointment. There is a big discrepancy between the hopes/expectations of work and the real world of work. Most grad students have not been socialized to fit into workplace organizations.dreamstimefree_741620 pencils

1.  Graduate students often relocate upon completion of their degree. The MYTH: I will feel settled once I unpack. REALITY: Geographic relocation, settling in, leaving friends and starting over produces strain. ANSWER: Be realistic about the impact of your move, your job, and your life changes.

2.  New professionals are thrown into organizations. The MYTH: People will welcome me and I will be accepted. REALITY: Don’t count on it. You may find competition and a slow adjustment to you. ANSWER: Give people a chance; they may have lost a colleague; you may be unsettling to the status quo; they are busy so, let them get to know you. You need to stay in touch with your support systems.

3.  New professionals want to get going and show what they know. The MYTH: I won’t be an apprentice. REALITY: You are a subordinate to many people in the organization. ANSWER: Take your time and learn the ropes; cultivate inter-dependence rather than pure independence.

4.  New professionals often struggle with the ‘impostor syndrome’. MYTH: I have to be an expert; I have to be perfect. REALITY: No one expects you to be perfect; it is only you who is applying intense pressure.  ANSWER: Accept your unique strengths and weaknesses.

Source: Is there life after graduate school? S. Olson et al. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice V 17 #5: 415-419, 1986.

Someday, you may want to read and write again. Start with my mystery novel.

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