First Gen Grad Guide

First Gen Grad Guide

Print out this checklist when you’re ready to start prepping for graduation! 

Chapter 1: Graduation Check-In 

Prior to starting the academic year, you should have met with your advisor to set up your last semester schedule to keep you on track with graduation. Make sure to visit them one last time to confirm whether all your GE and major requirements will be met by the end of your last semester.

Check-in with your advisor one last time to:

⃞ Ensure all academic requirements and commitments have been met. 

⃞ If you plan to pursue grad school, try setting up a one/three/five year plan to help you stay accountable with your academic goals!


Check-in with your school

⃞ Confirm that you’ve filled out all the required graduation forms correctly (make sure they print your name exactly as you want it to appear on your diploma, and register to participate in the ceremony).

⃞ Purchase all the necessary graduation materials such as…

    • Cap & gown
    • Diploma frame 
    • Graduation picture package 
    • Graduation tickets


Check-in with your family: 

⃞ If your family is traveling from out of town, make sure you communicate with them to set up the right housing arrangements during graduation weekend.

⃞ If needed, book their airbnb/hotel and try putting together a light itinerary for their stay. You’ll be busy preparing for graduation so having them explore campus can be a fun distraction for those times you’re not with them during their visit.


Check-in with your landlord:  

⃞ If you’re moving out after graduation, make sure you let your landlord know about your plans. Set up a move out date and discuss any next steps you need to take before moving

⃞ Get your security deposit back if no damages were made to your living space 

⃞ Keep your roommates in the loop of things and plan any relevant move-out plans with them as well 


Chapter 2: Saying Your Goodbyes 

With graduation season comes a lot of goodbyes… Make sure you make time to thank those who helped you with this achievement!

Reach out to your professors: 

Go visit office hours one last time. Thank them for making a contribution during your time in college and ask to stay connected! They can serve as a potential letter of recommendation for future opportunities. 

Check-in with your current professors about any missing or make-up assignments you should turn in to ensure you end the school year with good grades. 


Reach out to your mentors: 

Stay connected with your mentors/managers. If you have a good relationship with them, they can offer a great letter of recommendation

If possible, drop off a thank you letter in-person for a more thoughtful gesture.

Put in your two-week notices at your current job/internship.

Check-in with your team if there are any last projects you should wrap up to prepare for a smooth transition out of your position.


Lastly, reach out to your friends and celebrate!

⃞ If you have friends who are also graduating, don’t forget to give them their flowers too. Try giving them a thoughtful gift letting them know that you’re proud of their accomplishments as well.

If you have friends that will be moving far, communicate with them about your friendship and ask how they’d want you to show up for them now that you won’t be at the same campus and vice versa.


Chapter 3: Setting your Boundaries

With your family:

Staying on track with your career goals will be time consuming. If you’re moving back home and have additional responsibilities with your family, talking to them about your schedule and capacity can help avoid burnout! 

⃞  Find a time to have a conversation with your family about boundaries and how they can best support you during this new transition

With your friends:

Post-grad will be a new experience for you and your friend group. Celebrate the good moments together but maintain a welcoming space of vulnerability and support as you navigate this new chapter together.

Post-grad can get a bit lonely so stay in touch.

Share your goals and hold each other accountable. There’s so much to look forward to together.

With your-self:

With your well-earned college degree comes new independence. It’s important to hold yourself accountable and set realistic goals during these next few months

Follow a schedule that allows you to prioritize both your career goals and self care

If you dive straight into a full-time job, set at least one hour out of your day to focus on career related tasks outside of your current job. 


Chapter 4: Getting excited about your career choice

Securing A Steady Source Of Income 

Keeping up with this fast-paced job market:

Keep your LinkedIn up to date. LinkedIn and other similar platforms can serve as an extended resume. Attach your LinkedIn profile to your email signature to help catch a prospective employer’s eye.

If you’re using multiple online networking platforms (LinkedIn, Indeed, Handshake, etc), download the app on your phone and keep your notifications on to ensure you don’t miss the perfect job opportunity for you!

Setting A Budget For Your Goals and Lifestyle

Understand where your money comes from and where it’s going 

If you took out any student loans, it’s time to start thinking about repaying those loans back… While money can be worrisome during this new chapter of your life, it doesn’t have to be! Explore your repayment plan options and keep an eye out for student loan scholarships.

Once you secure a source of income, start thinking about how much will be going into your savings account and what will be used for bills and other expenses.

Making A Bucket List And Avoiding Burnout:

Always leave some space for a little fun in your life (you deserve it):

You’re going to be working a lot to achieve those amazing career goals. But be careful to avoid burnout! Having a list of fun to-do’s can help introduce a balanced and enjoyable lifestyle.

Coming from a first-gen and low-income family often comes with guilt. Remind yourself that you’re allowed to enjoy things. It’s ok to invest in things that make you happy. Your budget should always allow some space for this.