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Blog Alumni, College Preparation, Faith, Students

Alumni Advice for 2016 Graduates


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Graduates throwing their hats in the sunset

We recently asked Northwestern alumni to share their best post-graduation advice with the class of 2016. This is what they said:

"I [graduated] with $15K in student loans". I lived at home 8 months following college while working in downtown Minneapolis. I bought a $2500 dollar vehicle after graduating and paid in full to avoid more debt. Most significantly, I threw every extra dollar I had monthly towards student debt, while minimizing other expenses like new clothes, new stuff, etc. By doing this, I paid off my loans in 13 working months after school."- Ann '96

"During some of my first interviews after graduating, I was surprised to find that employers cared more about my leadership and teamwork skills developed through sports and volunteer activities than my GPA or degree." - Peter '11

"One of the things that I consistently see college students struggle with in my profession is setting expectations too high when searching for jobs. Many students expect to make $40,000 per year after they graduate as this seems to be the magical number that students are told they deserve. Of course, some majors can accommodate this salary; however, many students miss out on great opportunities because they wait for pay that exceeds their qualifications and experience". Look for jobs with opportunity for growth rather than focusing too heavily on salary requirements." - Karina '14

"Your identity is not what you do, whether you have a job, or what you make.You are a child of the king. It sounds like cheesy church-talk, but it is life-giving truth. No matter who is signing your paycheck, you work for the King. Also, don't ever be afraid to admit you don't know how to do something. Arrogance is a killer, humility leads to wisdom." - Cindy

"Be patient with the whole job search process. It took me about six months before I landed my first full-time job. About three months in, I started to question myself a lot. I even thought that maybe I got my degree in the wrong field and that maybe God was telling me this isn't where He wants me to go. Don't let those insecurities cloud your judgment. Give it time and be patient. I can't tell you enough how important it is to network, so put yourself out there, and don't be afraid to talk with strangers who are in the field you want to be in." - Mai '08

"Make sure to intentionally seek out a Church small group or Bible study right away when you move to a new place. Make it a priority, even when you are busy. It really helps to make new friends and connect you with the type of people who will encourage and guide you well. Coming from a strong, supportive Christian campus where a biblical perspective is unavoidably part of everything to an environment where secular society tries to tell you that Christianity is "compartmentalized" into just your personal life"¦ can be a shock at first. Having a firm group of committed Christians to come to for advice and to keep you accountable to intentionally live each moment of your life for Christ is really important." - Miriam '11

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