The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Real talk: graduates offer up advice on post-graduation life

Not everyone is the president of an international investment bank or working on a cure for AIDS a year after graduation. Really, the majority of us were totally average recent college grads. Don’t feel bad about eating Spaghetti-O’s out of a can. – Kaylie, History & American Studies ’09

Although it worked well for me in college, it turns out being a pretentious asshole doesn’t pay the rent. – Ruby, Physics ’14

Mac alumni are human, and while we all have intellectual merit and have accomplished great things and will continue to, there’s nothing wrong with being normal for a minute and exploring life at your own pace. Don’t be afraid to take the time that you deserve and need to figure out your future and what you want out of life. – Johnna, Russian Studies ’14

I graduated and went straight into working at a non-profit. I was salaried and had health care. I was working forty hours a week. I thought that was what I was supposed to do. Three months ago I quit to start a job working just above minimum wage and I’ve already gained more resume-worthy experience here than I did for two years at a non-profit. People told me I should feel lucky and not complain, all the while I fell into the deepest, hardest depression I’ve felt in five-plus years. Yes, get a job after graduating, but if it doesn’t feel right please trust your gut and change. Debt and social pressure aside, you will figure things out. – Mariah, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies ’13

Don’t pay your debt. – Anonymous, Philosophy ’12

I saved up my money, left my job and dedicated a year of my life to learning a whole new discipline. I’m now involved in the arts and can’t find steady employment. I always clear out my bank account to make rent, and I’ve had to borrow money from my parents for dog food, but I’m happier than I can ever remember being. – Benjamin, Environmental Studies & English ’13

Don’t be afraid to be selfish. You don’t owe anyone anything. Ask for help when you need it, and pay it forward when you can. – Liz, English & History ’13

It’s okay to want a job for its benefits, location, flexible schedule and many other factors totally independent of its mission. It’s okay to have jobs that aren’t saving the world. It’s okay to take a job that will make you financially secure, and more power to you if you manage to find one. – Sidney, Geography ’12

Unless you’re kept up at night by your entrepreneurial drive, get off your high horse and take an entry-level office job. The title won’t be sexy and you may not be proud of it, but you have to start somewhere. – Corbin, English ’11

Remember how long it took to get used to being in college? It takes about the same amount of time to get used to being out, so try to be patient. 28,000 Mac alumni made this journey before you did — you can do this too. – Neely, Political Science ‘06

Even if you end up working somewhere you don’t like, figure out where you want to end up. You don’t even have to tell anyone — just be honest with yourself at first. It can be very difficult, but it’ll be an enormous relief to have an end goal in mind. Once you have this end goal, things will start happening for you. – Oleh, Linguistics ’12

Stop telling yourself that if you aren’t in your ‘dream job’ that you are failing at life or betraying your degree. Instead, focus on finding a job that gives you an opportunity to learn and develop skills that will lead to your dream job. – Ashley, Communication Studies ’05

Buck up and grind. – Will, English & Educational Studies ’12

At some point, you just have to go for something. There is no right job, no perfect career. Be brave, take a leap. You will only learn what you want to do by eliminating what you don’t want. – Grace, English ’10

As long as you’re doing something that you learn from, you’re doing something ‘real.’ – Marcy, Geology ’13

It’s hard to see all of these amazing positions that you feel qualified or prepared for, and know there are just so many similarly qualified/excited and eager new grads going for the same things. Sometimes you just need to hear that from someone and bitch and complain about the process instead of having friends and family tell you, ‘It’ll work out.’ – Sydney, Media and Cultural Studies & Political Science ’14

You will learn how to be alone more often, and sometimes question whether or not you enjoy your own company. Take yourself for walks and find an exercise routine that keeps you happy. Your friend circle will inevitably grow smaller and tighter, but you’ll also meet friends who didn’t go to Mac. Learn how to hold both and don’t write off either just because it doesn’t match your previous expectations. – Kelsey, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies ’14

It’s so weird to switch from being around so many amazing, great friends and endless activities in a place you are intimately familiar with to somewhere new. I am slowly coming to terms with my fear. It’s hard when you see your friends being so successful in their fields right after college, but it is also so inspiring to see how everyone puts their ideas and skills into life after college, no matter what they are doing. – Claire, Environmental Studies & Political Science ’14

It’s okay to rely on other people’s confidence in you until you can find your own confidence. – Jackie, Economics ’12

Even though I’m happy with my path, I still get nervous when people ask me, “So what do you do?” The jobs that I’ve been happiest doing and have gotten the best experiences out of have been the jobs that people, especially Mac grads, look down on.
– Sophie, International Studies & Arabic ’14

Don’t let the ‘Mac-view’ of success make you feel like a failure. You change the world every day just by existing, with all your radical thoughts and feelings. – Amber, English & International Studies ’14

Remember that nobody in your social network is entitled to a pithy explanation of what you’ve done and where you’re going, so tell them whatever keeps you centered. Struggling is fine. It makes you way more interesting in the long-run. – Scott, Psychology & English (Creative Writing) ’14

Pursue the things that matter to you. Don’t compare yourself to the successes or failures of others, but focus on the ways in which you can accomplish your own goals, even if it’s only one little step at a time. – Lora, Geography & Urban Studies ’13

Nothing is forever. – Annie, German Studies ’07

Grade school and then college were the clothes you spent your life in, and for the first time you’re staring at yourself naked in the mirror, and it’s terrifying and weird and don’t waste your time on anybody who tells you you’re doing this wrong because there is no wrong way to be naked. – Rebecca, Political Science, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies & Community and Global Health ’14

Be softer on yourself. Deep breaths, sweet peas. You will be more than fine. You’ll be magnificent. – Jeanne, Hispanic Studies & Latin American Studies ’14

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