I got my first real job offer while sitting in New Belgium at 3 on a Thursday afternoon. As a recent college graduate, I didn’t know much about professional life, but I had a feeling that accepting a job offer in a brewery in the afternoon was bad form, so I let the call go to voicemail.
I didn’t want a roadmap going off into the next adventure, but I sure wish someone would have told me what to keep, what to throw out and what to buy. And so today, I share with you what I learned in the months and years following my graduation.
Keep your bike, and if you don’t have a bike, get one now. For some reason, the rest of the world believes that biking is for college students. It’s not. It’s for all people. Do you really want to change the world? Be one of thousands of college students to continue biking when you leave campus.
Go get a suit. Then wear it to every job interview except one. Learn what you are like when you are comfortable, relaxed, and just yourself in front of a potential employer. You will go to a lot of interviews. Enjoy them and find the right fit.
Keep your Forever Green shirts. There is nothing better than seeing a Forever Green shirt outside of Fort Collins. Your pride in your university speaks volumes about who you are.
Keep your college car for as long as you can. Chances are, it is mostly paid off and it isn’t worth very much. The short history of my first post-college car is this: $4000 worth of hail damage and an unrelated incident in which a homeless biker went crashing through the back window of my new Subaru, all while it was parked. Let’s be honest, the first thing you’ll want to do with your first paycheck is upgrade everything you own. Don’t. We all want a new car. On your college car, a person-sized dent is a great story. On your new car, it’s just an insurance claim.
Get rid of the college furniture. Your college car is a blessing. That college couch is a curse. Put it on the corner with a “free” sign for some new student. Facebook photos are similarly cursed. The internet is a big place, but you are way too easy to find. Pencil this in for the week of graduation: have all of your friends over, look at every crazy college photo, then untag and delete all of them. Then put that couch on the curb.
Most importantly, keep your enthusiasm for doing new things. The year I graduated, I spent a month in South Africa. The next year, I climbed Mount Rainier with my best friend. The farther I got away from college, the more money I earned, and the less I spent it on memories. More than anything else, keep your enthusiasm and invite a challenge into your life.
So graduate proudly from Colorado State. Wear green. Leave your college car in the garage and ride your bike to your new job. Have an adventure. But seriously, buy a new couch.
Stephen Dimit graduated from CSU in 2007 with a degree in English. He is currently pursuing his masters from the University of Missouri. Letters and Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org