“Transitioning from school to the work force was a culture shock. I went from a fairly care-free life in school to juggling bills, work, and finding a place to live. Personally, the biggest shock was taking on responsibilities that my parents had been taking care of while I was in school, like car insurance, health insurance, and car payments. It also surprised me how difficult it was to keep in touch with friends from school as we all scattered to the wind.
Professionally, one of the things that everyone always told me while I was in school was, “you don’t use any of this stuff we’re learning. You’ll learn what you really need on the job.” However, I have found that this is only partially the case. While you won’t spend your time doing the same simple problems you do in class, you will use the problem solving and fundamental understanding in your job. I was surprised by how much I didn’t know when I went into the professional world, and I was equally surprised at how much school really helped me when I looked past just trying to get the work done.
Finally, a caution for recent graduates: imposter syndrome is a real thing. The important thing to remember is that no one expects you to be perfect. No one expects you to know and understand everything in your new job. They’ve hired you not because of your specific knowledge, but because of your capacity and willingness to learn. You did the work. You deserve to be here.”