It’s the time of year where upcoming college graduates are sending out resumes and setting up their job interviews. While this transition may seem daunting to many, there are resources and tools to make it easier. On Tuesday, March 19 a panel entitled “Transitioning to Life After College” was held in the Science Center. This panel included five recent graduates of varying locations and universities who shared their experiences and lessons they have learned during life after graduation.
The issues discussed ranged from social problems like maintaining and creating friendships to financial and workplace struggles. How to make friends post graduation was a topic that many on the panel are still figuring out. Senior Program Support Assistant for Academic and Career Advising Catherine Lee was one of the panelists. Lee recently graduated from University of New Hampshire in 2014.
“There’s not a way to prepare for friendships after college,” Lee said. “Your friend isn’t down the hall, you’re not going to a dining hall where you see 25 people you know at once. That’s not anyone’s fault. You can’t create that environment outside of college. How am I establishing these friendships post graduation? Well, that’s still waters I’m navigating.”
Keene Young Professionals Network was one resource that two panelists used after graduation to meet people outside of their workplace. This network connects local professionals who are in their 20s to their 40s by hosting social events.
Learning how to be uncomfortable and how to thrive and grow was another important piece of post-grad life the panelists explored. The panelists agreed that making sure work is not the centerpiece of life is important. Assistant Editor at Florentine Films Brian Lee was another panelist. Brian is originally from the Bahamas, graduated from an art and design college in Georgia and made his way to Keene for an internship with Florentine Films after graduation.
“I didn’t have any family in the states. I was very excited to prove myself,” Brian said. “In that way, I thought work was the entirety of my life. Realizing that outside of work is just as important was a huge realization for me. Early on, I thought I had something to prove, but knowing how to take care of yourself helps with what you’re doing day to day.”
KSC alum ‘15 and member of Keene City Council Maggie Rice was also a panelist. Rice spoke on the importance of having interests and activity outside of work post-grad. After being unsatisfied with her work in Manchester, Rice moved back to Keene to pursue the pre-med track at New Hampshire Technical Institute and found her niche in other work as well.
“I encourage everyone to do things other than just work because it can’t just be your life,” Rice said. “I put myself out there and I ran for city council now a big change I’ve experienced after college is having way more friends of all different ages, and hanging out with different people has been really important to my life.”
According to the panelists, one of the larger logistical issues after graduating college is maintaining finances. New England College alum ‘18 Anthony Boame was one of the panelists and he stressed that saving money should be a priority for all recent graduates, even if it means sacrificing a few social events.
To combat overspending, Rice said she started creating an Excel spreadsheet to organize her financial priorities, like gas, rent and student loans and separate them from other less important spending like going out to eat. The app ‘Mint’ was another resource suggested by some panelists that helps track spending trends and create limits for certain spending.
“Every dollar should have a name to it,” Brian said. “You should know exactly where each dollar is going, even if it’s just spending money.”
Rice also suggested that once a graduate gets their first full time job, they should visit their human resources department and have it set up so a portion of their paycheck goes directly to their savings account. This way, that money is never even seen and not tempted to be spent.
All in all, the panelists made the point that no recent graduate has everything figured out and that “there’s no road map”, according to one panelist, on how life post-grad should go. KSC alum ‘17 Melina Comstock said, “It’s a good time to do things you’ve never done before.”
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at