From videos and a post-graduation checklist to tips and advice from fellow alumni, find everything you need for your journey as young alumni.



Uncover Your Personal Values

We agree with Socrates when he said, “the unexamined life is not worth living” as well as the
words Shakespeare put into Polonius’s mouth “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it
must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Self-awareness is a life-long journey and there are many ways we come to know ourselves. What
makes self-knowledge such an important aspect in having healthy and happy relationships is
this - the better we know ourselves, the more we can trust ourselves to make good choices that
are based on our true heart’s desire.
Knowing our personal values are essential areas of self-knowledge. Much of the struggles and
pain in life come from stepping on our values or selling out on what’s really important to us.

Personal Values

When we know our personal values, we can honor and live by them. When we don’t, we live by
guesswork. Not being conscious and intentional around our values means we are operating
How do we describe what a personal value is and how it works?
This is a really good question because values, on the one hand, can be elusive and difficult to
pin down. On the other hand, when we clearly identify and understand our values, they seem
like the most obvious things in the world.
Having said that, here is an introduction to some of the qualities that are shared by all values.
There is a list below of many words that have been used to describe values, so you may want to
peek at that now to see some examples of what we are talking about.
That list is only a guide. The words that you will come up with to describe your values will be
unique to you… poetry from your heart.
A value is an essential powerful force in your life, an important idea, concept or principle that
has always, and will always, guide your life. Generally, our most important values are invisible to
us yet ever-present.
When made aware of them, we realize the meaningless torture that life is without them and the
paradise it is with them. They seem to be consistent throughout a lifetime, although our ways of
thinking about, experiencing and describing them continually change.
Values are the source of our greatest joy when we are honoring them or experience others
honoring them, and deepest pain when we sell out on them or experience others stepping on

Values are always a positive force. There is nothing negative about a value. Think of it as a light
beam of pure, delightful, loving energy emanating from your heart. It is chock full of
unchanging positive energy…
What we do with it, how we react to its presence or absence in our lives and how we think
about them… that’s where negativity can enter the picture.
We can tell when something is not right because we usually get signals from our heart or our
gut. Without knowing our values, we don’t know what to do or how to bring about a change.
When we know our values, we can consciously choose to honor our values and become aware
of how to avoid selling out on them.
One of the ways to discover your values is to notice when you are most alive, excited and
feeling peaceful, grounded and trustworthy. This feeling comes about when you are living into
your values. A great example is my cousin who deeply lived out his value of putting God first. So
many unexpected opportunities opened up as he lived this out.
When you are cranky, agitated, angry or bothered by something, it’s usually an indication of a
value being stepped on. Like when my value of Fierce Finances was stepped on.
Look over the list of values below. Pick the top ten that resonate most with you or feel free to
make up ten of your own. These are your own personal values - not ones you think you should
have or that sound good - but the values that you know are truly the most important to you.
When you have chosen your top 10, take those words and play around with phrases and similar
words that are more meaningful to you or more fun to say and think.
When you land on the most resonant words and phrases, make a list and bring it with you to
William and Mary’s Welcome to the City event on September 15th, 2021.
We’ll dive deeper into what your personal values are and talk about how you can live them out
every day.

Sample List of Words That Could Represent Values for You
Acceptance Accomplishment Acquisition Adventure Aesthetics Affiliation Authenticity
Authority Autonomy • Balance Beauty • Challenge Commitment Communication
Community Companionship Compassion Competence Competition Conformity
Connection Conservation Contentment Contribution Control Cooperation Creativity
Cultural Heritage Curiosity • Dependability Diversity Differences Duty • Education
Elegance Emotional Awareness Emotional Expression Equity Ethics Excitement
Exploring • Fairness Faith Family Fitness Financial Security Flexibility Forgiveness
Freedom Friendship Frugality Fun • Generosity Global Responsibility Grace Gratification
•Happiness Harmony Health Helping Home Honesty Humility Humor • Idealism
Influence Independence Insight Integrity Intimacy • Joy Justice • Kindness • Leadership
Learning Listening Love Loyalty • Meaning Moderation Morality Mutuality • Nature
Nurturing Nutrition • Parenting Passion Peace Perfection Personal Growth Play Pleasure
Politics Power Predictability Pride Prosperity Purpose • Quietness • Recognition
Relationship Religious Respect Reciprocity Responsibility Risk-taking • Security SelfAwareness Self-Care Self-discipline Self-esteem Self-sufficiency Service to others Sexuality
Social Status Socialization Space Spirituality Spontaneity Stability Structure Supportability
Survival • Teaching Teamwork Time Tolerance Tradition Trust Truth • Variety • Wealth
Wholeness Wisdom Wonder Work

Learn more about about Denée Reaves '11 and the work she provides.

Welcome to the Real world: Adulting 101 resources 


Budgeting tips for recent grads

Remote work etiquette 

Ways to Flourish Podcast: Meditation Concentration for the Mind 


Post-Graduation Checklist

SwitchboardJoin Switchboard

Looking for a job or know of a job opening in your company? Moving to a new city and need advice? Have expertise to offer? W&M Switchboard has you covered! Switchboard is an exclusive platform to ask for what you need and offer what you have. Joining is easy and so is making connections. Check it out!

Alumni Admission ResourcesLooking for a way to give back to W&M?

Help recruit the best and brightest. Alumni are a vital component in sharing information about William & Mary. We’re always seeking more fun, engaging and dedicated alumni to join our efforts.

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Discover the latest updates from W&M and alumni through our social media channels. Be sure follow, like and tag us @WMAlumni and #wmAlumni with your love for W&M!


Health, Wellness and Community-Building

Adjusting to life as a young professional after graduation? In this young alumni panel discussion about mental health and wellness, hear some tips and advice on how to manage stress, thriving vs. surviving and optimizing your life post-graduation.

From the Fall 2020 Welcome to the City series

Welcome to the Real World: Adulting 101

Recently out of college and starting out at your first job? Get tips and advice to help you organize your post-college life from fellow W&M alumni! Topics include tips for saving and budgeting, building strong credit, understanding the different retirement options your employer may be offering, navigating your first job and office etiquette.

From the Fall 2020 Welcome to the City series

The Next Step: Careers, Grad School and W&M Resources

You have your first job! Now what? In this young alumni panel discussion hear how others have navigated career and industry transitions, graduate school and leveling up from their first job out of college. Learn what resources are available to you from the W&M Alumni Association to help you with all your career and networking needs.

From the Fall 2020 Welcome to the City series

What Does Equity Look Like? Diversity & Inclusion in Practice

A panel discussion with young alumni who share their experiences post-graduation and discuss how we can all work towards promoting diversity and inclusion within our W&M and local communities. Topics include microaggressions, how to be an ally, how to promote diversity and inclusion at work, and more!

From the Fall 2020 Welcome to the City series