My final month as a graduate student will be a whirlwind of activity, largely due to the fact that I am starting a new job just weeks after I graduate. Whether you have a new job, are still on the hunt, are moving or not – graduating from your program is undoubtedly a busy time. Here are a few things that are on my to-do list before graduating, in no particular order.
1) Write thank you notes. There are so many people I want to thank now that my time at Indiana University is over, including job references, current and former supervisors, professors, and department staff members. I want to make sure to acknowledge all of their help and kindness over the years.
2) Renew/begin professional memberships. You’ll be oh so happy later on that you did this at the student rate, which is fractions cheaper than the institutional rate. This is the last time you’ll be able to take advantage of your student status – go for it! I had diverse interests as a student because I didn’t know where I would end up in library technology. Now that I know the specific areas I will be working in, it’s easier for me to decide what organizations are most relevant to me.
3) Organize post-grad logistics. Are you staying where you are? Are you moving? If you’re plotting a move it takes a lot of work. Do some research. If you have a job, does your employer offer a relocation allowance? Sometimes this is available to all employees and other times it needs to be negotiated. Think through all of these details.
4) Understand my new job. If you’ve secured a job already, make sure you fill out all of your paperwork. Learn about your benefits, retirement contribution, and other real job stuff. As someone who has been an hourly worker for my entire life, these were all pretty new to me. I found it helpful to set a tentative budget and debt repayment plan, two things that become easier once you calculate the taxes, retirement contribution, parking, and other expenses associated with your position. If there’s something you don’t understand, consult the human resources department. In my experience, they’ll be more than happy to help you.
5) See the sights. I’m taking a southern road trip to celebrate graduation and have some fun before my impending move back to the frozen tundra that is Wisconsin. I am also planning lots of day trips and weekend trips to see nearby cities that I just didn’t get to over the past few years.
6) Try not to freak out too much about the future. Graduation brings with it lots of uncertainty, whether you have a job yet or not. There are so many variables; there is always a trade off. In my case, my partner of seven years and I will be be living in separate cities for the first time ever. Even though I am confident it’s the right choice for us and we are both excited for each other, it will be a hard transition. There aren’t easy answers. It would be so easy to move from a state of panic over what job I will get into a state of panic about how (if!) we will end up together eventually, but instead I am just going with the flow. I’m choosing happiness.
Graduates or soon-to-be graduates, what are your suggestions to wrap up library school?