Whether you're anxious or eager—most likely a combination of both—the switch from full-time student to full-time resident of the "real world" will have some unexpected twists and turns. Here are nine nuggets to help make the transition a fruitful one.

Dan Addison

  1. Update your contact information. "Providing us with your new address and any other changes to your contact information is extremely important," says Mary Elizabeth Luzar (Col '02, Educ '09), director of student and young alumni programs at the Alumni Association. Without updated local information, you will not receive invites to UVaClub events in your area, Virginia Magazine or information about other programs and resources. Go to hoosonline.virginia.edu.
  2. Keep reading. As professor Stephen Cushman puts it, "Aging minds go soft and flabby just as quickly as aging bodies do, and reading's great exercise. Maybe the best."
  3. Connect with a local UVaClub. Networking with fellow alumni can be a good ticket for success as well as easing any pangs of relocation. Go to uvaclubs.virginia.edu.
  4. Mark your calendar for UVA events. Keep the UVA juices flowing by returning to Grounds for Young Alumni Reunions, sporting events, Reunions Weekend and other activities. Go to www.alumni.virginia.edu/events/ calendar.
  5. Budget carefully. It's easy to overestimate what those first paychecks will bring in when you're setting up a new life. "All of your decisions have a financial consequence," says UVA finance professor Karin Bonding.
  6. Use career services. Jefferson himself said, "Interesting occupations are essential to happiness." Last year alone, UVA Alumni Association Career Services helped more than 3,000 alumni with career, job and graduate school goals. Go to alumni.virginia.edu/career-services.
  7. Serve your community. "Getting involved in local service opportunities is the best way to get to know your new community and to connect with other recent graduates," says Elizabeth Bass (Col '99), executive director of Madison House. Bass suggests contacting the local United Way as well as checking the local UVaClubs calendar.
  8. Track your skills and experiences. Create a "mega résumé" for personal use. Use this document to add your accomplishments, new skills and testimonials. When you create a new résumé, use this document to find examples of how you can meet your prospective employer's needs.
  9. Do things that make you happy. "In life, do what makes you happy and gets you up early in the morning," says UVA politics professor Larry Sabato (Col '74). "Do what generates passion inside of you."

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