Our entire lives change the moment we graduate. After the exhilaration of finally getting your hands on your hard-earned degrees, the Facebook worthy moment where we throw our graduation caps in the air like in the movies and feel a few moments of total and utter freedom, comes our first forays into the world as “real-working adults”. After spending up to 4 years – and thousands of dollars – in college learning all we can about our field of study, the day we set foot into the working world after a lifetime of learning is a wildly exciting, nerve-wracking leap.
But as many can attest, you’ll find that entering the working world is hardly as exciting as they make it seem on the big screen. The experiences you faced as students and the hardships of the working world are as different as night and day, and many find themselves unprepared for their first jobs. For those that have lived their student life to the fullest; partying every night, studying abroad, backpacking around Asia, congratulations! But be prepared for change, as much of what you’ve taken for granted as students will now be a distant memory, and maybe even find yourselves missing the simplicity of student life, the stress of assignments, who knows.
Fan of travelling? Tend to take impromptu road trips at the drop of a hat? Well, here’s hoping that you’ve done plenty of gallivanting in your younger years as you’ll have to kiss that kind of freedom goodbye when you start working.
No more of that “Screw school and responsibilities, we’re going travelling” kind of nonsense. Get used to the idea of planning trips months ahead, as travelling is now a huge production of applying for leave, coordinating the leave times of everyone going, and praying that your leave gets approved. Trips tend to lose their spontaneity when you have to book your plane tickets and clear your schedules, and even then, your well-earned vacation might be interrupted with “emergency” calls from work.
Remember when you could take up a new hobby like badminton or poetry club whenever you wanted to, and all your free time was filled with club meetings around campus, going to open mike nights, or volunteering at animal shelters. And you did fun things just for the sake of doing them? Well, that’s a bit harder to do once you enter the working world. Any moment to yourself will be spent for sleeping in and whatever hobbies you enjoyed before will now force you to negotiate the time with yourself so you can savor it.
Packing on some extra weight from that desk job and not enough time to hit the gym to work it off? Coming down from a life of rushing about to get to classes into a strapped-to-a-desk office job, losing weight or maintaining those muscles is now harder to do. As a student, there’s always the school gym at your disposal, but as a working adult one of the challenges you’ll face will be looking for a gym that’s close enough that you commute won’t be a hassle, open when you’re free, and also affordable enough for you to frequent.
By far one of the things you should do your best to enjoy while you still can is partying. Working a 9 to 5 job will surely put a dampener on your party animal spirit, as once you enter the workforce you’ll have to keep any partying endeavors to weekends or holidays. No more partying on weekdays or drinking ‘til the wee hours of the morning. While partying all night and coming to class hungover was acceptable in college, in an office setting such behavior will negatively affect your working quality the day after. Sure partying all night might relieve the monotony of a desk job but is it worth it?
Most of us lived college life out of our parent’s pockets and as a result whatever money received from part-time jobs went into spending on whatever we wanted, whenever we want. You’ll find that once you get a job, you’ll be less inclined to borrow any of mom and dad’s hard earned money and that saving is a skill that you suddenly need to learn. No one wants to start living their life paycheck by paycheck, so you better learn how to budget your money.
We are all guilty of this, admit it. No college student is a stranger to pulling all-nighters, whether for the sake of finishing an assignment at the last minute or studying for finals the night before the test. Staying up all night to study for an exam, taking it in the morning, then crashing into bed for an entire day, then waking up at dinner to do it all over again might be the norm in college, but in the working world? Unacceptable. Even if you were to work all night on a project for your boss, you’ll still be expected to come in to work the next day.
Do you have friends? Good ones you would say, that you hold near and dear to your heart, that you survived group projects with? Well, never expect to see them again.
With everyone entering the workforce and the consequential contrast in your schedules, you’ll be lucky to see or even text your buddies on a monthly basis, let alone weekly, as everyone will now be busy with work. Once you get jobs in different industries, expect texting to become the only interaction you’ll have with your college mates, and whatever impromptu hang out plans dashed before anyone even replies in the group chat.
Movies, gaming, and reading books will all be relegated to weekends or after work if you’re lucky. With your job your main priority, you’ll have a lot less time to game into the wee hours of the morning and a lot more regret when you do. Postpone those plans to binge watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and take a nap, as your paycheck needs you to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed the next day at work.
Working in an office environment entails a level of professionalism, especially in what you wear to work. Gone are the days where you can toss on a ragged t-shirt and a pair of worn down jeans, slouch your way into class and fall asleep instantly when you reach your seat. You’ll spend a mint on professional looking clothes like button-ups and blazer jackets, slacks and pencil skirts, just to fit in to the office setting and be taken seriously, then suffer daily scrutiny over what you wear by not just your co-workers but your boss, too. Impressions are deeply rooted in how we appear, and clothing plays a large part in that.
Get ready to wake up at ungodly hours just to get ready for work in the morning. Showering, choosing an outfit, and having breakfast will take 20 to 30 minutes at least, not to mention the daily commute to work. Morning traffic jams will be the bane of your existence, and public transport will be a nightmare of braving crowds of other people also on their way to work.
Gone are the days where you can wake at 12 in the afternoon because the teacher called in sick, and spending a leisurely day just lazing in bed on your phone.
As students, we don’t know how good we’ve got it, impatient to get our first jobs and earn our first paychecks, but once we get a taste of the working world we’ll lament wistfully about the “good ole’ days” and hope to one day go back to when things were simpler.
This post was written by Jes Ngo from iPrice group.