College can be a time to live on your own and develop the skills to become a functioning adult. However, part of it is still a cushion to normal, every day “adult” life where bills need to be paid and taxes need to be done. From alumni, the realities of true working life varies from that of college.
From School to Work
After four years of college, getting a job or career started is encouraged for graduating seniors. Meaghan Wachter, December 2014 alumna, said she was afraid of leaving the college life for adulthood.
“Getting a full-time, full employment job scared me,” Wachter said. “It’s a big jump, making that step from the college world to the real world.”
Wachter was not the only one nervous about finding a job after graduating. Haylee Prescott, spring 2014 alumna and senior cook for K-State Housing and Dining, said she was worried about her chances in finding a job.
“I was scared mostly because I didn’t do an internship,” Prescott said. “Because I didn’t do (one), I didn’t have any outside experience.”
Prescott said she believed that is why she didn’t get a job in her major, agricultural business. Even if students don’t get internships, Prescott said graduates should still “keep their eyes on the prize, and go out there and do what you want to do in life.”
Although Prescott’s job isn’t one she expected to have after graduation, but she said she knows that if she keeps looking she can get her dream job.
“I have a job,” Prescott said. “It’s not the one I wanted, but if I work hard enough finding a job I want it shouldn’t be too hard.”
Wachter said she agrees that it’s hard work getting a career going, and you have to start the job search early. She also advises students to not be too selective either. Alumna Haley Kenig, current manager at Pinstripes, said you can’t be too picky but you got to know what you want to do.
“Do as many internships as you can, go to the career fair and reach out to employers,” Kenig said. “Find out what you really want to do before you just jump in.”
Life at Work
According to Prescott, going to school and having a job share some similarities and big differences.
“At times (a job) is less stressful because there is no homework or exams to study for,” Prescott said. “But sometimes it’s just as stressful because there’s a lot of work, plus paying bills.”
Koenig said she still works on projects and likes to caution people that they don’t end after graduation.
“With my job I am still constantly writing papers and doing research,” Kenig said. “It’s just knowing that I am not going to get a degree for it and that it’s my career makes me feel more grown up.”
Paying bills and doing your taxes are adult things that some college students don’t have to worry about, Wachter said she would advise starting those things while in college.
“It’ll definitely be different when I get a career going,” Wachter said. “But it feels the same.”
Prescott said she also supported herself through college paying bills, doing taxes and keeping up on insurance.
“I was on my own and did it myself,” Prescott said. “It’s not difficult but it still sucks.”
Like Prescott, Kenig paid bills and insurance and did her taxes while she was still in school.
“I’ve always kind of done that on my own,” Kenig said. “Its something you’re thrown into and have to do.”
Prescott and Kenig credit their parents for the help they offered when it came to transitioning to the adult world.
“I learned a lot form my parents,” Prescott said. “What I didn’t learn from them I picked up in classes.”
Kenig said she would advise graduating seniors to not be afraid to turn to your parents for help.
“I still use my mom to help me out,” Kenig said. “And a lot of other people I know, they are my resources.”
Life outside Manhattan
“There’s not much I don’t miss about Manhattan,” Wachter said. “The night life, everything being close enough to walk to… It’s a completely different world not being in Manhattan”
Prescott, who still resides in Manhattan near campus, said that although she misses her friends and social life at K-State, she doesn’t miss classes.
“The thing I love the most about being an adult, is that after work in the evening I can come home and do my own thing,” Prescott said. “I can binge watch Netflix and not worry about getting things done for school the next day.”
Kenig said she believes that students should still revel in their college time while they have it and that getting involved strengthens that experience.
“My advice is definitely enjoy it as much as possible,” Kenig said. “College is supposed to be fun, enjoy those little moments and get involved.”
Overall, working life involves more responsibility in some parts and less in others. While you have to pay bills and do taxes, you may not have to do projects and homework anymore. However, like with Kenig, some jobs do still have that project element to them. Whether moving away from Manhattan or staying, life as an “adult,” begins once the last final is over.