As a new grad, the transition from college to a full-time job is quite exciting, yet unnerving. In my 4 months working in my new role, here's five things I've learned that have helped make my transition easier:

🧽 Be a Sponge


Absorb as much information as you can, but make sure you're synthesizing it (as a great Econ prof at the University of Wisconsin-Madison once said). Find your learning style and leverage it - start out with whatever worked for you in college!

🤔 Ask Thoughtful Questions

Open-ended questions posed to colleagues at various levels of the organization could help yield insights that would be rather hard to get if you phrase it like a calc 2 final exam question (i'm still finding x). I like to brainstorm my questions using "The 5 Whys" to explore a topic at a deeper level.

🧮 Strive to Understand the Big Picture

Although your role may be hyper-focused, research the possible impact of your team's work on the mission and vision of the company. This could help in a multitude of ways: (i) make you truly feel like a part of the goal - kinda like supporting a sports team or understanding a film director's vision (Nolan ftw), (ii) encourage your mind to collaborate and create short-term goals that optimize your team's long-term vision, and (iii) help you enjoy the work you do.

💬 Soft Skills >>

Communications are (initially) veeery different from college. I've spent like a good 20 minutes drafting a 3 sentence email just to make sure my tone is right and that there aren't too many "!" cuz I'll sound overly enthusiastic. To begin with, check out the emails / messages sent by people on your team / in your org, and model your messages after those!

🈴 There's No Rubric to Getting this Right

Okay well, maybe there's like performance goals and stuff, but it may not be as clear cut as college was. Every semester profs sent out emails (or not) with a list of things to do and criteria you'll be graded on. At the end, you get a final grade saying how well you did. While I'm still getting used to the broader structure of a full-time job, setting SMART goals and having constant conversations with your manager can help ensure you're on the right track (please get the pun)

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