Senior Steps

Kelly Eastland

In just a few short months, many aspects of life will change for the senior class. The Senior Steps Committee surveyed a handful of recent graduates and asked them for some advice. Here’s what they had to say…

What was the most difficult transition after college and how did you make friends or meet new people?

The hardest part for me was moving back in with my parents. I still live at home, and it’s strange having my parents around all the time. I don’t mind it, but it is a lot different than having roommates. I still have a lot of friends here at home, and I still see lots of ‘Nova people all the time. So there was no trouble with meeting people and finding people to hang out with.

The very hardest thing to adjust to after graduating was not having five roommates/best friends to come home to every day. So quickly you are pulled away from your support system of great friends, and it’s a very emotional, very hard thing to deal with. I think it takes at least five or six months to totally move on from. But, e-mail and cell phones make keeping in touch so easy, and thankfully that has kept me just as close to all my friends as when I lived with them.

The most difficult transition was the loss of free time or the ability to really build your own schedule like you did in college. For the most part you’ve to get up and work the old 9 to 5 and since it’s your first real world job you want to do well, so you end up working even more hours. You just have to appreciate that each night/weekend you don’t have homework(!) and you need to make the effort to pursue non-work related activities.

As far as meeting new people I was fortunate enough to have a lot of friends from Villanova nearby. As they met new people and I met new people the circle just continued to grow, similar to how you made friends at ‘Nova. The difference is that you’re not entirely surrounded by people your own age all the time so you have to put forth a little more effort to go out and meet people.

I was lucky to have friends from school that moved to the same city as me, but the best way to meet new people has really been through their new friends, at bars, parties or just hanging out in the city. It’s amazing how much more people are willing to open up their circle of friends once you’re out of school. Conversations are easier to strike up, plans are more easy to make now that you don’t have homework to worry about, and believe it or not, in the real world you go on actual dates (like on TV!)

I think the schedule change poses a problem initially. We were all used to meeting up with friends every night at a bar and spending hours together. Now, I see even my closest friends maybe once every other week at best. I think this challenges you to place a greater value on the time you do get to spend with your friends. As far as meeting new people, even though I stayed in Philadelphia where there are a high number of fellow Villanova grads, I did not let that get in the way of making new friends at work … eventually the two groups started to meld (the work group and the Villanova group).

The most difficult transition after college was adjusting from having three months off to three weeks vacation. I’ve met a lot of the new people at bars/clubs … at the same time. I’m cool with a lot of people here. The people here are great and it’s easy to become friends with practically everyon … my company if different, though. Due to the corporate culture here, it’s almost a daily party!

The most difficult transition was definitely adjusting to the drastic switch in lifestyle you make leaving college and entering the work world. The 9-5 grind is so different from the freedom and flexible schedule you have as a college student. I also really missed being surrounded by friends. In college, there was always someone to eat with, work out with, play with, etc. But in the “real world” you are kind of on your own, especially when you move to a strange city. To combat feelings of loneliness I joined a gym, a book club and reached out to co-workers who were my age. I have since left the first city I moved to after graduation, but I left with a new support group of friends who I still talk to and see as much as possible.

The most difficult part about the transition into the working world has got to be time management. In college, you are in class three to four hours a day, you do some work while in your dorm or at the Connelly Center, maybe you put in a little time with an extracurricular, but for the most part you have hours a day to spend with friends, hang out, go to the pub, play Playstation … whatever you basically want to do.

When work begins, all of the sudden you will find yourself at the office from about 8am to 6pm (if you’re lucky), plus you have to take time to make the commute, and then when you get home you’re exhausted and all you want to do is crash and/or watch TV, or do something else that’s mindless.

You have to remember to make time for yourself, and that everything worth living for doesn’t happen in the four walls of your office. No one on their deathbed ever said, “Gee, I wish I had spent more time at the office.” It may be easier said than done, but always make time for yourself.

It was tough not having a lot of money to visit people after we all went our separate ways … e-mail and write letters!

I moved back home temporarily after college … BIG adjustment. I quickly became friends with my fellow colleagues at work and went out for happy hours, dinners and parties. I took advantage of company networking events. Also, since I was working in New York City (when I wasn’t on the road), I met up with fellow Villanovans here in the city.

My most difficult transition after college was definitely the first few weeks after graduation. I could not believe that I wouldn’t be in the Italian Kitchen for three hours every day or hanging out in Greek Affairs. Luckily for me, I went home for the summer, went to the beach a lot, moved with two of my best friends to Baltimore and experienced new things.

It’s important to take chances and try new avenues. Plus, I kept reminding myself that nothing was permanent and now I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

It’s important not to get locked into the things that are comfortable …. sometimes, it’s good to do things that scare you.