So you’ve just graduated. You have your parents, your friends, your professors, and maybe even random people on the street asking you the same question:
“What’s your next step?”
If you’re anything like me, answering to this question is even more stressful the actual fact that I have no CLUE what to do after graduation.
While our classes may be challenging, nothing is more challenging than deciding what you want to do with the rest of your life. Here are a few of the options to think about:
Get a Job: Getting a job may be the most traditional and expected option after graduation. You have a diploma, a fresh new outlook, and an easily trainable mind that employers love. While you may have been mulling over your dream job since childhood, the beginning of college, or maybe just a week before graduation, don’t be choosy when it comes to finding your first job. It’s easy to have a specific job in mind, or maybe a job in the general field you strive to be a part of, but the fact is, you never know where one job will lead you. If it sounds interesting at all, apply, interview, take a tour around the office. No matter if it is as far away from your dream job as a computer technician to a veterinarian technician, it’s just the first step in landing your dream job.
Become an Intern: A degree doesn’t entitle you to a job; experience does. While a job seems to be the most logical first step after graduation, it may be hard to find one, especially in our country’s current economic climate. Employers have hundreds of applications streaming in, and not just from recent college grads. You have a huge pool of people to compete with, many of whom will have more work experience than you. Experience will set you apart from the crowd. If you have not had any luck securing your dream job right after graduation, start asking around for internship programs in careers you think you would like to work in the future. A lot of times, employers pull from their interns to fill full-time positions. Work your butt off during the internship program, prove yourself, and maybe they just won’t want you to leave when your internship is over.
Go Back to School: Not ready to enter the real world? Graduate school will give you more time to think about what you want to do with your future, while gaining a higher degree for a higher paying career. Though those four years of undergraduate school may have you strapped for cash, a point to consider about grad school is that most loans don’t require you to start paying them off until after graduation. This includes graduate school graduation! Search for schools that excel in the program you are interested in. Worried that you are too sick of school? Keep in mind that graduate school is a whole different playing field than being an undergrad. In undergraduate school, your focus is broad. Most colleges make you take classes in a variety of different subjects in order to get your degree. In graduate school, you are focused on the one subject you are interested in, in all its aspects.
Travel: No matter what your parents may think, traveling after graduation is not just extreme procrastination or running away from your future. Traveling after college can teach you how to interact with people, be adventurous, take risks, and to be independent: all things that will later help you begin your career. Employers, the experience-seekers that they are, see travel as a great conversation point in an interview. What better way to show that your enthusiasm than by having an amazing experience to talk about? Because of technology and our shrinking world, global knowledge is a HUGE asset to any company, and if you have experience abroad, employers will jump at the chance to make you a part of their team. But rather than spinning a globe until it stops, look in to some volunteer options that will allow you to see the world, and also help the world at the same time! Look into some larger name organizations such as Peace Corps or Americorps to be safer. These organizations will set you up with housing, food, and a group to travel with. Both of these organizations, and many others, even offer the option of discount on future education, loan deferment, or cancelation, meaning you can continue your education, travel the world, and save money all at the same time!
Whatever option you choose, remember that life after graduation is a journey, not a destination. Don’t rush through trying to figure out what to do the rest of your life. You’re preferences, experiences, and priorities will change. You never know where each step will lead!