Tips for New Grads Part 2

Bob Dawson

Guest alumni blogger Bob Dawson graduated from UCR in 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology. He will be starting graduate school at Cal State Fullerton pursuing in Experiments, Psychology this fall.

Last week’s Career Thursday alumnus Bob Dawson shared his first 5 tips for new grads. This week he wraps up the last 5.

Tips for New Grads 5-10

6. It is not okay to sit around and do nothing this summer…

-Enjoy these last few moments of reminiscing on your undergraduate career but make sure you are being proactive toward your goals. Begin working on your resume, look into graduate programs and start doing career research.

Start with volunteering or consider taking an internship to help build your resume and gain experience. Anything that helps you gain more relevant experiences after graduation is a small step forward in the right direction!


7. If you didn’t learn this in school, it’s time to start stepping outside of your comfort zone

– Just like the transition from high school to college, this new lifestyle will come with some growing pains. Things don’t happen on their own and no one is going to check in to make sure you’re doing okay now. You have to be proactive and make opportunities happen. This is even more important if you move back home.


8. Evaluate your personal relationships!

– It’s time to look at both your romantic relationships and friendships! People will move home, move across the country or even move across the globe. It is no longer possible to always visit your friends in the dorms or in their apartments. It is easy to fall out of contact with many people that you knew from school but it doesn’t mean that you can’t stay in touch with people that you are close with now. Set up times to talk on the phone/Skype with family and friends that you want to stay in good contact with.

You may also have to work through transitions with a significant other after graduation, if one or both of you may be moving away. Having open and honest conversations can be a good first step into having healthy and prospering relationships as you move forward with your future.


9. Money Management!

-With graduation comes the realization that we have to get our finances in order. For those of us with student loans, you have to start preparing to make payments after six months. Consider different methods for making your payments like the IRB (income based repayment) if the option is available for your loans!

Also think about any credit card payments, car payments, or anything else that require a monthly payment and consider making automatic transfer.


10. Trust in the skills and abilities that you learned from UCR!!

-You may have realized in school that you actually knew a lot less about this big world than you first thought, and that is normal.

But you need to have confidence in yourself and your abilities as you head out into the professional world after college. Graduating from any UC school is a tremendous accomplishment and you should feel proud to be part of the collective group that consider themselves college graduates. Have faith in yourself and trust in your experiences in life to help you make positive decisions, even as you venture in an ominous, but exciting new chapter of life after graduation!


Congratulations again and best of luck to the Class of 2013!!

– Bob Dawson  

UCR Class of 2012

Read part 1

After I graduated from school in June 2012, I found myself scrambling to find a job to pay bills and student loans and felt the heavy pressure from friends/family/peers to answer the question of “what do you want to do after school?” — Make it big and find my dream job that lets me sleep in past 10am, isn’t that everyone’s goal?

In all seriousness, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, but I didn’t know where or when. I knew I wanted to work where I could apply my B.A in Psychology that I had worked so hard for, but I had trouble finding that perfect job that was personally satisfying.

I ended up taking one year off after school to apply to graduate programs and take some time to focus on better understanding what I wanted to do as a lifelong career. This year off was more beneficial than I could have ever imagined, personally and professionally. A lot of my spare time was spent looking into graduate programs and figuring out what programs would help me get into the kind of career I wanted to be in.

Right after I finished school, I took a job traveling on the east coast which fulfilled my hungering for travel. This experience showed me that I loved the idea of a professional work environment that was flexible, but I wasn’t thrilled about having to be away from home for so long. After that I worked for several months with autistic students and realized that I enjoyed working with young adults. My final career change ended up being the most successful as I took a student affairs position back at UCR. I stayed for nine months and loved the professional development! I guess my point here is that it’s okay to test the waters in different fields of work, to see what you like and don’t like.

Fast forward to the present – now I am finishing my contract at UCR, and I am incredibly excited to be starting school at Cal State Fullerton in a few weeks for my M.A in Experiments, Psychology!

It took many late nights of reviewing personal statements, and swallowing some tough denial letters before I finally received that blessed email notifying me of my admission! Even though the grad school application process was incredibly taunting, it all seemed worth it when I received that acceptance email.

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  • Great advice Bob. Graduation leaves parents mixed emotion but most of all it’s a reflections from a proud parent. When my son graduated in college, I wasn’t worried about his financial future because I know I was able to teach him how to invest and save money at a young age. We are not from a wealthy family but he was able to managed and remain debt-free all these years. When it comes to finding the right job, my advice is be confident amidst the inhospitable job market today, there are many ways that you can take to increase your chances of finding a meaningful job in the near future.

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