So You’re About to Graduate, Now What?
Graduation tends to creep up for college students every year. While you’ve got plenty of warning, it can feel like an abrupt halt from the lifestyle you’ve grown to know and love. No more late-night study sessions, cold pizza for breakfast, or attempting to make ramen noodles in the microwave you’re not supposed to have in your dorm room.
While it can be bittersweet to graduate, it’s also a time of great opportunity. The world is out there waiting, and the options are nearly endless.
What you decide to do after graduation is ultimately up to you and your needs/wants. However, it’s important to start thinking about it now. The sooner you have a post-graduation plan in place, the more comfortable you’ll feel about your future.
Let’s take a look at a few different paths you might want to consider after graduation, and how to make the most of each one.
Hit the Road
Depending on what you went to school for, chances are you’ve been tied down to one place for at least four years. Days and nights of studying, paper-writing, and cramming in as many assignments as possible can take a toll on anyone’s mental and physical well-being.
Now that it’s all over, it’s a perfect time for a change of scenery – especially if you didn’t take time to travel before college.
Traveling after school is a great way to boost your mental health and offer you a unique and refreshing perspective on the world before you officially start the next chapter of your life. Some of the greatest benefits of traveling include:
- It reduces stress.
- It allows you to disconnect.
- You’ll be exposed to new things.
- It can boost your creativity.
- It can help you discover your passions.
Whether you decide to go on a solo trip to a place you’ve never been or you want to hit the road for one last “hurrah” with your college buddies, the best thing you can do for a trip is to plan ahead. That way, you can stay comfortable during your travels and keep everyone safe during your trip.
Make sure you have a reliable vehicle, stay up-to-date with local laws, and pack plenty of snacks and drinks for everyone so you won’t have to stop as frequently (or blow your budget!).
Reconnect With Friends and Family
Not everyone decides to move back home after college. You might want to spend a year or two traveling the world. Or, maybe you want to move to a big city for better job opportunities.
Whatever the case, consider taking at least some time to go home after graduation to reconnect with your roots.
Thomas Wolfe may have famously coined the phrase, “you can’t go home again.” In some ways, he was right. You can’t go back to the past and try to recreate the life you once had in your hometown with family and friends.
However, it’s important not to forget where you came from and the people who made you who you are today. Reminding yourself of those connections and why they were (and are!) important can help to ground you before you set off on your own for the first time. There’s comfort in those relationships, and you might find that you can get a bit more helpful advice from the people you love, trust, and respect, before deciding what to do with the rest of your life.
Plus, it allows you to have your mom’s famous lasagna again, so it’s really a win-win situation.
Related: Graduate resume example
Consider a Career
Many people attend college with a specific career path in mind. Others discover what they want to do along the way.
By the time you graduate, you likely either have some idea of the field you want to dive into or you’ve received a degree specifically for that field. It’s often a good rule of thumb to get a job after you graduate, though taking a gap year isn’t a dealbreaker.
If you know what you want to do and you’re ready to start a long, successful career, now is the time to dive in head-first. Follow your passions by applying to different jobs that interest you. Consider moving to a new location for a job opportunity. Put down roots somewhere new and learn what it takes to become a professional. You can adapt to a new work life by:
- Building people skills;
- Establishing a healthy routine;
- Managing your expectations;
- Striking a healthy work-life balance.
Ultimately, there’s no one ideal way to live your life after graduation. Despite some stereotypes and pressures from the world, there aren’t checkpoints you need to reach by a certain age. Set goals for yourself that make sense, like things you want to do before you turn 30. They shouldn’t be burdens. Rather, they should be aspirations that push you to be your best, no matter what you decide to do.
Now that you’re ready to walk across that stage and get your diploma, the world is your oyster. Whatever path you take after graduation, do it with gusto.
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