4 Different Types of Graduates

It’s graduation season! This means getting constantly invited to numerous graduation ceremonies and parties and celebrating with people their accomplishment of finally being “done.” If you’ve been to one of these events, things that may have been said to the graduate could sound like the following:

  • “You are the future! Go make a difference now!”
  • “Congratulations! What are your plans now?”
  • “So what’s next!?”
  • “Good Job! Now what kind of job will you be applying for?”

For the graduate themselves, it can be a bittersweet celebration. You have people who mean well, but at the same time that question of, ”What now?” can be a daunting one. For some it’s as easy as applying, interviewing, and getting the position they’ve always wanted but for most, not so much. It doesn’t mean that those who have not found a job yet are lazy bums or have worthless degrees; they just haven’t found that drive yet. Once they find that drive, a switch turns on and they turn into relentless visionaries out on mission!

What I have realized coming out of college and looking back is that there are four different types of graduates. There’s the poster child, the dreamer, the workhorse, and the standstill. After seeing where all my peers went after graduation a few years ago, it was very easy to decipher which one was what. It was pretty interesting to see people’s careers grow and see where their true passions lie. Let me explain to you my thoughts on these four types of graduating mentalities.

The Poster Child

This graduate is what college parents hope their son or daughter can be at the end of their college career. This graduate majored in something “important” or “of high value” in the view of society. They pretty much have a job lined up for them right after college after putting in a lot of hours in their degree and gaining just enough experience. They know exactly how to see things through and commit to a main goal. This type of graduate can accomplish anything because they’re usually pretty damn smart. The only thing is these types of graduates are becoming less common as the years go by. More students are now taking chances at other fields that are of “lower value” in society’s eyes for their own personal aspirations.

The Dreamer

This graduate was usually the person in college who was always creating something, or was extremely passionate about a cause. It didn’t matter how society viewed their major, whether it was admired or looked down upon. This graduate had a big, crazy goal set for themselves and was going to do whatever it took to accomplish it. You may know this person because they constantly live and breathe their vision when they’re around you. It’s like they have this constant, annoying yet inspiring energy about them. They may fail many times, but the dreamer is a growing breed of graduates who are not afraid of taking risks to attain ultimate happiness and fulfillment in their lives.

The Workhorse

They paid for their own tuition, worked multiple jobs, while taking on a full load at school. These graduates are tough, hard working individuals who have one goal, to succeed. You may know a few of these types of graduates because they are usually the first person to be wasted at a party. Because of their insane work ethic, people around them want to help them out in any way they can. Since they’ve been working long stints at various jobs, their big network and extensive job experience will only help them in their journey to grow in their field and succeed in whatever they are doing. Their motto is “no excuses” and inspires anyone and everyone around them. They feel sorry for no one, and may even come off blunt, but only because they know what real hard work is.

The Standstill

They went through the motions of college, worked hard in every class for a degree they thought they wanted. After the ceremony, the graduation parties, and constant congratulatory gifts from friends a family, they go off and apply to the jobs they’ve been studying for. They actually look like “the poster child” at first. They become hired and are excited working in the field they have been working for in their college career. A few months into it, they hate everything about their job and work environment. They then quit their job and arrive at a standstill at their lives, not knowing which road to take moving forward. It is very easy for this graduate to become a little lost and confused, but they need to realize that if they can get through college, they can get through this bump in the road. The best part is they usually have friends such as the poster child, the dreamer, and the workhorse to help them out in times of need.

A graduate can be a combination of various types, but at the same time emphasize one specific type through their characteristics and mentality. They can also change from one type to another in a flash from my experience.

If I had one advice to give all new graduates, it would be that in the “real” world, work ethic is king. In my career I’ve worked with a lot of people from all walks of life, from sales clerks and construction workers to lawyers and retired surgeons. All the happy, successful, fulfilled people I have come in contact with didn’t all have a high paying, respected job, or a degree from a prestigious university, or their own business. The one thing they did have in common was deep passion for what they do and relentless work ethic. For every new graduate for every year, the real work has just begun.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” ~ Abraham Lincoln


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