Get Ready for Life After Bowdoin: A Crash Course on Practical Skills

Session 1:  Succeeding in Your First Job: Workplace Communication 
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I. Using Communication and Social Skills to Succeed

A) Communication: Use it to Become Superlative in the Workplace

The Importance of Observations, Initial Impressions, and Avoiding Awkward Interactions
Advice on making excellent first impressions, identifying workplace cues and norms, and working with people with different cultural/political backgrounds.

Professional Communication
Advice on professional communication including: how to approach a task given to you, which questions to ask when, how much positive reinforcement, and encouragement to expect, setting personal and professional boundaries, maintaining enthusiasm at and for work, writing emails and your digital footprint, writing at work vs. writing to a professor, communicating/working with micromanagement v. macro-management, observing others’ communication styles and anticipating questions. 

B) Managing Up

Explanation of and advice on managing up, on identifying mentors and creating strategic relationships, on building a professional network, and on negotiating a job salary and/or raise.  

II. Difficult and Defining Conversations 

A) Difficult Conversations

Advice on resolving conflicts, negotiating, receiving/giving criticism, deciding when to give and when to hold firm, and how to approach a task when you think you know how to do the task better than what you are told.  

B) Ethics and Values Confronted

Advice on deciding when to intervene and/or leave a position that does not align with your values/ethics. 

C) How to Leave a Position and/or Seek a Lateral Shift

Advice on leaving a position while maintaining your professional relationships and on seeking a position in a different department.

Session 2: Savings and Investments
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Now That You’re Making Money….How to Save and Invest It.

A) Basic Business

Helpful background on basic business/finance details (stock market, mortgages, debt v. equity).

B) Long-Term Financial Planning

Advice on long-term financial planning, including how to save and where to invest, planning for retirement (401Ks, 403Bs, and IRAs), planning for graduate school, and renting v. buying.

Session 3: Personal Financial Planning, Insurance, and Taxes
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Now That You’re Making Money…How to Manage It: Personal Finances

A) Short-Term Budget

Advice on creating a budget, credit cards, managing debt, and discretionary v. non-discretionary spending.

B) Insurance

Advice on seeking insurance: health, car, life, renters, and homeowners insurance.

C) Taxes

Advice on W-2s and withholdings, preparing taxes yourself v. with a professional, and tax advantages to philanthropy.

Session 4: Transitioning to a New Place to Live and to a New Style of Living
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I. Decisions, Decisions: Where, How, and with Whom Should You Live.

A) Living situation

What to consider when assessing job opportunity v. job location including: cost of living, public transportation v. buying a car, how to find a place to live, how to find roommates, and apartment lease types and breaking them.

II. Transition from College Life to Work Life: How to Create a Work/Life Balance

A) Social Life

Advice on developing a social network (friends and dating), adhering to where you are at on the spectrum of introvert/extrovert, engaging in the community civically, publically, and volunteering.

B) Balancing It All

Advice on creating a work/life balance, stress-management, prioritizing/structured-time, and figuring out practical needs in a new location (doctor, grocery store, haircuts, etc.).


Get Ready for Life After Bowdoin


Bowdoin College Financial Education Center (Session 2)

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Bowdoin College Financial Education Center (Everfi)