5 Life Lessons College Students and Alums Should Keep In Mind After Graduation Wednesday 03 April, 2019

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. All opinions are my own. 

College is definitely the foundation that shapes your career and helps you figure out what you will be finally when you grow up. I know for a fact as a college alumni myself, college give so much life long lessons to keep with you, but it may not be obvious. I am an alumni of Clark Atlanta University, Class of 2009, and I definitely gain so many great nuggets that helped me in my current career in media and even to be a great functional and responsible adult.

I want to share 5 Life Lessons College Students and Alums Should Keep In Mind After Graduation that no one probably even told you. Check them out below!

1.Work Hard, Play Hard but Do Your Work First!

College is definitely a test of work and life balance, way before you even get your first career job. It will test your agility to study and still find time to go explore your social life. I will be the first to say it is ok to have a social life and even party! Yes college is a time to party and have fun, but do not let the thrills of collegiate celebrating put what is important to the side.

Do the work first, get it out the way and have fun. A lot of people slip up and do it in reverse which can hold them back in the long run. Also working hard first will come in handy when you actually start adulting and get set in your career. Don’t work too hard that you don’t reward yourself, so please work hard but still play afterwards when you can (responsibly of course).

2. Keep Fine Tuning Your Career Goals

People have a misconception about college that as soon as you start, you are stuck with your original career goals. It is ok to change it up!

I will tell you I started my first semester my freshman year focusing on Theater Arts, by second semester I pivoted and decided to do my concentration in Public Relations instead. I am happy I decided early to change career paths, as I realized I never knew I wanted to do PR untill i was exposed to it in college. Public relations resonated with me more in the Mass Media Department than Theater.

You can even do the same with after graduation. Its ok to change career aspects if you feel like what you thought you wanted isn’t what you expected. I pivoted slightly a few years after graduation, I decided I didn’t want to be a publicist anymore and started to migrate more into journalism by working for print magazines and now I am the sole owner of my own media platform with my blog at KiwiTheBeauty.com.

I am not saying just go to school and completely abandon what you went to school for completely. For myself, Public Relations and journalism goes hand and hand in the same industry. If you feel like you want to change up your career title in any capacity, I am suggesting explore the options of your profession and go with what resonate with you. Your profession is supposed to be you passion not your imprisonment.

3. Network as Much As You Can

I cannot stress enough the importance of networking. Network in college will help you network in the real world.I used to be afraid of networking as a student. I was nervous and sometimes I just didnt think certain networking events were for me to be in the mix of. The goal of networking is putting yourself in place and around people you want to be around.

Networking is not only for career opportunities. Networking could be for mentorships and having allies in your same industry. People who will look out for you or keep you in mind for certain opportunities in the future or even referrals. A good referral or reference can be great and to have people who can vouch for you at any given moment is good to have. Those only happen if you build relationships with people.

So build all types of relations while you can in school such as with your professors, campus administrators, and even other students.Make sure you have multiple people who can write you a letter of recommendation (LinkedIn and/or email), those can be handy for the future.

4. Cherish Your True Friendships You Developed in School for Life

Speaking of relationships, make some great friends while you are in school. I will say not everyone you are partying with or hanging around campus with will turn into a lifelong friend. You start of with a big quantity of friends, but by graduation if you have a handful of friends that is ok!

It’s so easy to make friends in college, but what people do not tell you about adulting it can be hard to keep these friendships after graduation. Your career and even future family will start coming first. Even if the life goal changes, you all don’t see each other often keep in touch. Find ways to stay connected (yes outside of social media), especially if you have made friendships that will carry over for a lifetime!

5. Continue to Be Involved With Your University (Outside of Homecomings)

This tip is one that I have to constantly keep in mind for myself the most. Its easy to stay connected to your university while you are going to the school but stay connected even after college. Many people think the only way they can be involved with their university after graduation is during their homecoming week. Don’t only comeback for the homecoming festivities. You can do way more than just returning back to your campus for nostalgic collegiate fun to relive your wonder years.

Connect with your Alumni Association and stay in touch with what’s going on with the school itself. Continue to network with other alumni this way (see Life Lesson #3).

Go back to campus to visit and even speak to students who are in taking classes in your same Major department. You can be inspiring and even mentoring students who need someone to look up as they matriculate into their school experience. Make an impact to your school that will be memorable.

If you went to an HBCU, a really great way to give back easily is with Home Depot’s Retool Your School Campus Improvement Program. Since 2009, The Home Depot’s Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant Program has invested more than $2 million dollars to update, upgrade, and uplift HBCU campuses. Ten years later, the Program is deepening its commitment to HBCUs by awarding the highest amount in the Program’s history, $500,000 total in campus improvement grants to 10 winning schools – celebrating the past and future success of the Retool Your School Program and our country’s HBCUs.

I hope if you are in school or an alumni at an amazing HBCU you take these life lessons and continue to be an amazing adult. College prepares you for so much and it truly shapes your adulthood. Every life lesson I posted I am applying it to my life as well, as I am forever a student in this world. The goal of college is not only the graduating part, but the growing into your adulthood and giving back in anyway you can to make a difference!

If you attend or a HBCU alumni I highly recommend you visit RetoolYourSchool.com and apply online to nominate your university for an amazing collegiate remodeling for your campus!

Do you have any life lessons you learned from going to college?

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty

Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of KiwiTheBeauty.com. As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at kiwithebeauty.com + @kiwithebeauty

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  • Emily Fata says:

    I agree that networking is super important after graduation! That’s one of the biggest things that I’ve learned since graduating in 2016.

  • Kita Bryant says:

    CAU! I’m class of 2005. I made a lot of good friends in college so that I cherish for years. The lesson I learned was to find a way or make one lol

  • Sheena Steward says:

    These are all great points. Networking and friendships stood out the most to me. Great striving!!!

  • artchee says:

    I honestly struggle with no. 1. When there is something fun that I can do, I tend to put work on hold. :0(

  • If I could go back in time and into my college days, I would’ve worked on my networking skills more! You will really see the importance of it once you do some (a lot) adulting.

  • Snehal says:

    I used to be nervous about networking too. But later on, I learned that it is very much important and helpful.

  • Colleen says:

    These are such great tips! The days of being able to get a job right out of college are over. Everything is so competitive these days. The hustle doesn’t end at graduation.

  • Kristine Nicole Alessandra says:

    The life lessons I learned after college is that there is more to learn once you land your first job. The textbooks you had are only a guide. It is the hands-on experience that will help you get started with the career you have always dreamed of.

  • So nice reading what I too believe in. I have been in touch with my university and do behavioral skills program for the MBA Students. And we have one of the largest & most active alumni association.

  • Stacie says:

    Love this! I didn’t finish college so my lesson would have been to keep going and not let distractions throw you off of your path.

  • Tiffany La Forge-Grau says:

    These are great lessons to keep in mind. There are many things to take with us after college.

  • Joanna Clute says:

    This is a really great post. I know I am thankful to have learned these lessons as well!

  • Leslie says:

    College seems like so long ago. I dis go to an HBCU and have fond memories of friendships there but I struggled with life and school work balance because I did not have proper family support. Despite all that, I guess my biggest lesson was independence and all that I can accomplosh by myself.

  • Kim says:

    All great advice, especially networking. That comes in handy post-graduation when you need an internship or a job.

  • Danyelle says:

    Fine tuning your goals is vital. This and networking, I think, are the top two points here. Great article!

  • Porsha Carr says:

    Number 3 is really important for me being a blogger. Though I’m. Or in the field I graduated in I’m glad to be able to network as a blogger.

  • Y’all look so happy. Congrats on the graduation, such a big accomplishment 🙂 Great read with great life lessons

  • Chad says:

    yes to all your points, can’t agree more!!! I love the first one, work hard, play hard but work hard first lol So true.

  • Erin Knight says:

    These are some great lessons you have learned. Networking in college is really important, and I got my first job after college through next working. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Sonal says:

    Some great points that you made up in the post.

  • Claire Lee says:

    Great post! Congrats on your graduation! I still try to learn everyday and challenge myself!

  • these are wonderful lessons and tips. you brought up so many helpful pointers

  • Thena Franssen says:

    Great life lessons, love this so much. Thanks for sharing.

  • Catherine Santiago Jose says:

    These are wonderful life lessons. I personally do this things when I graduated from college and yes, networking is really helpful and keeping a good friendship is the most important.

  • These are some great things to think about! Love all of the pictures you shared.


    This is such a great reminder. Graduation is not the end of your journey. The real-life journey will start after it.

  • These are some great life lessons. I especially agree with the one about staying involved with your college after graduation

  • Mimi Green says:

    These are great tips, I will share them with my son. He is 3 years out from going to college. Things are getting serious now, we have to talk about his career path and research schools that will aid in his future career. We also want a solid school to be a part of his legacy.

  • Great article and great tips. I would also add “to live within your means” financially.a lot of young grads start spending beyond what they can afford and this messes them up financially.

  • Stacie says:

    Such good advice. My tip is not to let outside drama affect your education. It will get you caught up if you let it.

  • Holly says:

    Those are good tips. I think it is also important to have different ideas of what you can do in the same field. Sometimes you have to take different paths to get to that ultimate goal.

  • brittany says:

    I wish I’d learn to be a better networker in college. It would have served me better in my career. I These are great tip!

  • Megha says:

    i so agree with all your points. Working hard and network are the keys! Thanks for reminding me again!

  • Mimi says:

    These are some great life lessons to live by! So many jewels to keep in mind, a big one for me is networking!

  • Eva says:

    I learned that you can choose your schedule to fit what you want to do and still do what you need to do. I enjoyed parties, but I was also on scholarship, so I had to make sure I got my work done before I hung out.

  • These are great tools for grads and alums! I love the throw back photos. It reminds me of my college graduation. I love the one about being involved outside of homecoming because there’s so much more alum can do.

  • Lauren Floyd says:

    I swear if you stick to these tips and make sure your major aligns with your skill sets, you’ll be good to go. I don’t remember college being that difficult.

  • Nika says:

    I agree with all these tips. Networking is key because success is often tied to who you know

  • Getting involved is so key! Sadly for me, my school is on the other side of the country and I haven’t been back since grad.

  • I needed to read this! Staying involved with your Univesity, besides homecominng spoke to my soul.

  • Amy Desrosiers says:

    I love these lessons! I think the work hard and then play later is especially important in this day in age!

  • Heather says:

    I seriously wish I would have had this list when I graduated from college. I felt so lost at that point in my life.

  • I went back to school 2 years ago after 15 years and is actually set to walk in my graduation ceremony this May. After some reflection I’ve realized how different my approach was this time around versus how it was when I went 15 years ago. I know some of it has to do with maturity, but it has more to do with how much more I value and understand the lessons college was teaching me.

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