Lysern Marcelino is a guest blogger for Roger CPA Review. Get her insight on how to smoothly transition from student to professional life as she has just undergone this process herself!
I loved being a student, mostly because of the student discounts and free swag (it’s no surprise that I’m an accountant now). Transitioning to full-time work was difficult for me, because I liked the autonomy and spontaneity of student life. My jump to professional life was hard, but yours doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to help you transition from studying full-time to working full-time.
My first and most important tip for working full-time is to take plenty of breaks, so you aren’t stuck staring at your computer for hours on end. It’s generally recommended to take a break after 20-30 minutes of sitting at a desk. After 20-30 minutes, take a minute to stand up and stretch.
Ease into full-time work (if possible).
If you have the opportunity, try to work a part-time schedule before settling into a full-time schedule. Before working 40 hours a week, I began working 30 hours a week. Starting at 30 hours helped me ease into the daily schedule of working on projects, making deadlines, and going to meetings. I gradually got used to being in the office all day, and after a month or so, I was ready to start working 40 hours a week.
Communication is extremely important.
Need more time to finish that pressing project? Have a doctor’s appointment next week? Do you need more guidance on your work? Communicating with your team and managers will alleviate some of the anxiety and stress of starting full-time work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you are going through personal or medical problems, communicate these to your manager. On the flip side, if you find that you're not being stimulated or have underestimated your workload, consult with your team to find more work if you are running out of tasks to do.
Create a daily routine (if you don’t already have one).
When I was in college, I didn’t have a daily routine. I stayed up all night to do assignments and papers, and then after I turned in the assignments, I would hibernate to compensate for my lack of sleep. I would wake up at different times everyday, because my classes were in the afternoon. In my first couple weeks of work, my lack of a routine hurt me. I was barely getting to work by 9am and skipping breakfast because I didn’t have time. After a month or so, I developed a daily routine of forcing myself out of bed before the 10th snooze, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, and not skipping any meals. In a few months, I noticed that my routine helped boost my energy and productivity, and I was consistently getting to the office on time. If you already have a daily routine, you’re way ahead of the game!
Make time for the things you love.
Monday through Friday, I spend most of the day at the office, but once I get home I schedule a chunk of time to catch up on my favorite shows. On the weekends, I take day trips or short trips to venture off to a new place. Taking time
to decompress and have fun helps me get through the work week. Schedule time to do the things you love, because all work and no play makes an accountant a dull person.
Whatever you do, don’t stare at the clock all day.
I compulsively checked the time every 10-15 minutes during my first weeks of work. Every time I would check the clock, I would think, "Only 10 minutes passed!?" Time seems to slow to a halt when you’re anxious for time to pass as you're still trying to get adjusted to your new normal. So save your sanity and try not to glance at the clock. It will help make the transition more smooth and easy going.