Just checking in - how are you doing, nontraditional students? A bit about that first job.

Once in awhile, I like to check in and write a quick blog posting here and try to give some pointers.

After all, I was once a nontraditional student (for teacher education, in English and Allied Arts).

I consider going back AGAIN sometimes. It was challenging, but worth it.

Nowadays, some students worry that there may not be a job for them when they get out of school. It's a valid worry. Some ask their advisors about it... and I would say that's a good idea. There are also some sites online that tell what kinds of jobs are in demand.

Of course, you should like what you are doing. I have heard that some graduates are so valuable they actually are recruited and don't even need to apply for a job. But those graduate areas are hard to find, at least they were for me.

My personal experience, at first, then later: I found that there WERE jobs out there, but not always the optimal ones.

Some advice I'd give new graduates: don't settle for the first job you get... IF you can help it. Do your homework first. Seriously.

Of course, if you need to start working at your chosen job right away, sometimes you DO need to take the first job that accepts you. And then just take your chances. BUT you might get more than one offer. And one might be way better than the other.

I found at my first job (as a "regular" graduate) that waiting a little while to check out positions could be worth it. This is hindsight, because I only realized that AFTER I was working at the other place. If you find out that one place is better, it's OK to let the other place know about it before you start working there. You CAN change your mind.

Ask around at the place you are thinking of working. Get an idea of what happened to the last person that had your job. Did they quit early? Why? Does the company or place you want to work at have a good reputation in the community? What is the boss like? Are they fair?

Yes, luck does have something to do with finding a great job, that is fulfilling and makes you actually WANT to be there. It can be kind of scary to ask people at the workplace what they think of it. It makes me nervous just thinking of doing that. But next time, if I do that again, that's EXACTLY what I plan to do.


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