Unpacking from college after graduation has been quite a feat. Suddenly, things that I could temporarily store away over the summer or winter now either need to find a place in my cozy bedroom or be thrown out (*gasp*). I am currently on Day 2 of rummaging through my college life and there is still plenty to get through. My drawers are packed with things that are far from necessary. To my surprise, it’s not the clothes which have been a struggle, but all the other things which are difficult to make the keep-or-toss decision about; the printer, the hundreds of loose papers/documents/receipts I’ve accumulated, my intrusively-large projection TV, etc.. In all of the chaos that is this unpacking process, some items in particular have proved themselves valuable enough to make their way to my night stand- the last place I see at night and the first place I see in the morning. And so, for you, I break down the anatomy of this college graduate’s night stand:
1. Graduation Mementos. Don’t let yourself forget about your accomplishment in graduating! Surround yourself with things that serve as reminder of your achievement, at least for a while. Leave out some cards to flick through if you’re ever feeling down about how things are going for you post-graduation. Hang your tassel in your room or car. Frame some photos of your graduation day and place them around your bedroom and house. Be proud!
2. Professional Magazine/Journal. For graduates of the social sciences, along with many other fields, it is important to keep up on your professional happenings! Especially for those who seek entry into graduate programs, it’s vital to stay on top of research and current event in your area of study. Join any professional organizations (in my case, the American Psychological Association) to boost your awareness of your field and your resume.
3. Career Tools & Resources. In my case, it’s a CD pack for improving your interview and vital conversational skills. There are also countless resources on the web and in books for building your speaking and presentation skills. Such knowledge can help you in several ways, whether you’re pursuing a job, graduate school, or otherwise using skills of persuasion. If you know how to present yourself in the best light possible, there are no limits to your potential in your professional interactions.
4. Book. Read, read, and read some more. Not only may you have more time to do it while you’re searching for a job, but it keeps your mind running. You know that saying “If you don’t use it, you lose it?” Well, you probably won’t forget how to read, but unless you continue to stimulate your mind, chances are you’ll begin to perform other mental processes more slowly. So pick up a book for pleasure and keep ’em coming! I recommend the best-selling author Augusten Burroughs.
5. iPod. Enough said.
6. Puzzle. While reading may cover more verbal skills, you may want to stimulate your mind in other ways while you’re out of school. For example, you can start doing a daily Sudoku in your local newspaper or at WebSudoku.com. My Rubik’s Cube was a challenge to solve, and now it’s an increasingly-difficult challenge to decrease my solve time. Puzzles like this, which are renewable or ever-changing are ideal because they constantly test your mind’s ability to adapt.
7. Brain Stress Ball. A simple reminder that, even in tough times, you are gifted with a brain that pushed you through college. No matter where you are headed, or how long it will take to get there, you have the power to achieve your dreams.
BONUS: For a look at what this night table looked like on Day 1 of unpacking, check out this photo.