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5 Tips to Transition from Student Life to Working Life

‘The Only Constant In Life is Change’ - Heraclitus

This quote rings true today and more often than not, the word, ‘change’, evokes plenty of unsettling emotions due to the worrisome uncertainties and nerve-wrecking possibilities. Whenever you experience a period of change, there are a lot of new experiences, discomfort, and effort involved to transition from a chubby caterpillar into a breathtaking butterfly. Let’s be real though, this period can be quite messy. Nevertheless, you can learn to ease this transition period by following some tips and tricks.

Specifically for students entering the workforce, while building upon your technical skill sets is a necessity (e.g. managing your finances), in order to come out of this transition like a champion, you should also work on honing your mindset and overall character.

For fresh graduates, it is pertinent to understand that while college and university days are over and the culture when entering companies is vastly different, some key things that can ease this transition include:

A Learning Attitude

It is key to develop an open-minded perspective in learning about the world around yourself, especially at the workplace. Be curious to know about people and things you may not have much knowledge about. Do not shy away from these just because it is unfamiliar. Practice adopting the disposition that everything is a learning experience be it in a good or bad situational outcome. This will save you a lot of time from carrying unnecessary emotional baggage at work and at yourself, since a learning attitude leaves you emotionally freer and lighter, whilst still having the capacity to facilitate the mental space to be open for critical thinking.

Resilience in Finding Your Footing

While every form of change has its challenges, it is important for fresh graduates like yourself to find your footing in the company. Make the most out of your transition period by learning as much as you can everyday. Go the extra mile in finding ways of how you can be more efficient and effective in the tasks given to you. Practice having grit and persevere in discovering how you can add value to your company. However, it is just as important to learn to pace and manage yourself by not taking on more than you can handle. The key word here is growing sustainably. Focus on daily progression and not somedays’ perfection.

Taking Ownership & Committing to Them

We ought to take responsibility for our actions and things tasked under us. If a mistake occurs on your end, humbly accept it without buck-passing. Not to belittle and berate yourselves for it too, rather to see it in the light of learning opportunities always. As for growth opportunities, feel free to challenge yourself every now and then to voice out and inform your superior that you would like to explore taking on certain tasks and allow them to give their feedback on whether this is currently suitable for you. Regardless of their answer, the point to highlight here is to be brave in taking on new challenges and committing to see them through.

Appreciate Lessons

Appreciate sincerely everything that you go through in life as these are all learning milestones. There are definitely wonderful people in the workplace with a healthy working culture, however not everyone is able to find a company that best fits them right off the bat. You may not always be given sufficient guidance, a chance to share your thoughts, not everyone in the working world will be open to newcomers, etc. To transition better from these culture shocks, consider beginning early and extend beyond your current circle to find a mentor, a coach, a counsellor, and other forms of support system that is catered to help your adjustment into the working world. Thus, despite how challenging it may be initially, seek for the necessary support you need and appreciate the guidance and patience of others in helping you through this journey.

No Grapevines For Me!

Last but not least, unhealthy grapevines at work grow when people engage in gossip and rumours. As a fresh graduate entering the workforce, you do not want to build a reputation for engaging in gossip, as this will immediately sow distrust. There is a fine line between gossiping and ranting, especially since unpleasant encounters are inevitable. While keeping it all to yourself is just as unhealthy as gossip, find someone outside of the workplace who is not a part of the company who can be a safe space for you to share about what’s troubling you.

(Note: It is also important to be knowledgeable about harassments that may occur at the workplace, how to handle them, and not be quiet about it. Read more here).

There are numerous ways to go about embracing your transition at work and the key is to find what works best for you, whilst continuously fostering a mindset that is open to novel ways in approaching a subject-matter with the right attitude at work. If you need more help about transitioning from student life to working life, consider seeking advice from our community or finding a mentor here on Kabel.

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