3 things every new grad should know


The jump from university to the real world is a colossal canyon that cannot be crossed in mere months. At this point in our lives it is one of the most significant changes we’ll have to face that simply cannot be rushed.

There is an old saying: A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

It ‘s been seven months since I graduated and there is still quite a distance to go before I am fully adjusted. While I’m by no means an expert, I’d like to share what I’ve learned from other alumni and from my own experiences to help make the journey a little smoother for you.

Below are three crucial tidbits of advice I believe every new grad should know.

1. Keep connected

Your network is your net worth. Take advantage of opportunities to meet with professionals and mentors in your industry by attending events, conferences or seminars. You’d be surprised with the openness of some professionals to answer questions and offer advice even from a cold connection on digital platforms such as LinkedIn.

Although growing one’s network should be a priority, there is a popular marketing saying: the easiest customer to acquire is the customer you already have. Simply put, don’t neglect your existing network. Take some time to maintain ties with academic peers, profs and friends from UTM.

During your undergrad years it might have been relatively easy to grab a coffee and catch up with people between classes. Having graduated there may be time constraints or physical distances which act as hurdles that need to be overcome. It might not be easy but cultivating a strong network will pay off throughout your career.

2. Keep learning

Professional designations, postgraduate degrees, certifications or courses. Having just graduated, pursuing these might be the last thing on your mind! After four years of intensive studying in the Management or Commerce programs warrants (at least for a brief while) an academic sabbatical.

Still, regardless of your career or personal aspirations, continuing to better yourself is an absolute necessity. While that might seem like a cliché, the truth is that studying skills and habits become dulled when they go unused.

Depending on your interests there are a bunch of professional designations such as the CPA (Canadian Chartered Professional Accountants), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management), CHRP (Certified Human Resources Professional) and many more. You could also learn a new language or try a hobby.

Find a way to keep your mind sharp and adaptable!

3. Keep on keepin’ on

Finally, and perhaps the most essential tip is perseverance. An underappreciated benefit of university was that the metrics of success were clear and well-defined—albeit compared to the real world.

As new challenges such as career progression, work-life balance, moving out, relationships and managing one’s finances seem to be ever-present and ambiguous, accepting that the journey won’t be without adversity is a crucial mindset shift.

Use this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to ask questions, explore what works best and learn from your mistakes. Reframing the challenge in this way makes it far less daunting.

To date, these are my major takeaways. I welcome any advice you have personally found helpful in the comment section.

Thanks for reading and have a relaxing holiday. Look forward to more blog posts in 2019!

Matthew Smith
B.B.A., Class of 2018

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