You will become responsible for many tasks once you graduate – including managing money, repaying loans, developing your career, and potentially applying to graduate school. Adulthood can be stressful; these tips are designed to help you manage your life after Clark.
Manage your money
Understand income and benefits
When you’re job searching, what you’ll earn and employee benefits are two of the most important factors to consider. In addition to weighing salary, you should consider opportunities for advancement, the level of responsibility the job requires, skills you’ll learn, contacts you’ll make and exposure to clients. There are times when lifestyle and future career opportunities trump some of the other factors. It’s a lot to consider.
Your gross income is the amount you make before taxes and voluntary deductions, like health insurance or retirement plan savings. Your net income is the amount you'll actually take home each week after taxes and other deductions. More than a third of your gross income will go to taxes and insurance, so your take-home pay will be less than what your initial salary indicates.
Most companies offer a 401K or a 403b plan that allows you to save pre-tax (gross income) dollars into an investment fund managed by the company. In many cases, employers match your contribution. If your company does this, start contributing as soon as possible, even if it's a small amount. You likely won't miss the money deducted, and it will grow to a substantial amount over the years. If you change jobs, you can take your retirement accounts with you. If your employer doesn't offer a 401K plan, consider setting up an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) at a bank or investment firm and contributing the maximum allowed each year.
Some employers will pay for all or part of your future study, especially if it's related to your current work or your employer's industry. In some cases, you'll be required to work for a certain length of time after completing the degree for which the employer paid.
Employee assistance programs
Many employers provide counseling resources to help employees address problems like substance abuse, relationship issues, legal dealings or anything that may affect job performance.
Your employer will offer health insurance plans for which they pay a certain percentage and the rest will be deducted from your paycheck. You should carefully consider your options and choose the plan that provides the best comprehensive coverage for your needs, and ask your co-workers, neighbors and friends for recommendations. Also, be sure to use the benefits for regular preventative health physicals and teeth cleanings.
Advance your career
Apply to graduate school
Many Clark alumni return to school for graduate education after gaining work experience and determining which graduate degree is necessary for their particular career goals.
Associations in your area of interest can provide information on current trends in the field, lists of accredited graduate programs, and job postings.
Manage your references and credentials
Interfolio.com allows you to store graduate school recommendations and other documents such as your resume/CV, writing samples and transcripts, and have them sent directly to graduate programs.