There’s a fatal flaw our generation has, and that is the mentality of living in the future. We’re always searching for “what’s next” and “how can I do more or be better,” but we rarely stop to appreciate the moment in which we’re living. We get so caught up in what we feel we should do that we forget to do what we want to do. It’s tragic, really.
That is why every once in a while it’s important to take a step back from it all and reassess what you really want out of life and if you’re headed in that right direction. And there is no better time to do this than right after graduating from college.
Because of that, here’s six reasons why you should take time off after graduating college.
Your last semester of college is insane, and those last few weeks are even more insane. Between finals, presentations, planning your graduation party and spending time with family who come from out of town, you’re likely to be mentally exhausted once everything is done. Give yourself a week, or even a few days, to do absolutely nothing. Stay in your pajamas all day while eating ice cream and watching TV — give yourself that break you never had time for during the semester. Just make sure you put a deadline on this time because there’s a difference between taking advantage of some must-needed R&R and being lazy.
Read a book…or ten
Let’s face it, we all have those books sitting on our bookshelf that we tell ourselves we’re going to read but never get around to it. They always get lowered on the priority list behind reading for classes. However, reading for leisure has many benefits, including stress relief and increased cognitive processing. So find a cozy couch or patch of grass at the park and dive into another world for a few hours.
Although there are some exceptions, the majority of us won’t have a family or a mortgage right after we graduate college. We may be swamped in student debt, but you have six months before you have to start paying those. So book a plane ticket. Go across the United States, or across the world. Go by yourself or with friends. Just go. Talk to new people, eat strange foods and experience different cultures. It’s guaranteed you will come back refocused and with a newfound perspective on life.
Spend time with family
If you went to college in the same city your family lives in, there’s a good chance you won’t stay in that city forever. On the other hand, if you went to college in a different city your family lives in, there’s a good chance you haven’t seen your family in a while. Even if neither of these are the case, it’s still likely that you won’t see your family as much after graduation because you’ll be tackling your “big kid” life. Taking time off after college allows you to reconnect with your loved ones. Go to lunch, hear their stories, just be with them. The more you get invested in your adult life, the less you’ll see of them, and they won’t be around forever so you should take advantage of it while you can. Bonus: they’ll probably cook for you, and that’s always great.
Figure out what you really love
People say college is the time to figure out what you really love, but there are still limitations to that. There are still courses you have to take and homework you have to focus on, and many times the vision of “us” gets lost underneath all of that. So use your time after graduation to start a business or pick up a new hobby. We’re never more versatile than we are right now. Now is the time to try everything you’ve always wanted to try. If it doesn’t work out, then at least you’ll know instead of spending your whole life thinking about what could have been.
Work on yourself
As cliché as this sounds, it’s actually a great reason to take time off after graduation. Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day lives we forget to take care of ourselves. Taking time off after graduation is a great time to work on being the best “you” possible. Get in shape, learn a new language or de-clutter your room. Complete all those little things you always intend to do, but never get around to. There are no excuses now.
Graduating college is probably one of the biggest transition times in your life — make sure to make the most of it. You’re young, you’re brave and you’ll never never again be given these same opportunities. Be warned, you’ll get a lot of push back from people who don’t understand – people who think you’re wasting time and you need to start a job to have a big house filled with lots of babies because that’s what they did. But that’s only aligning with what society tells you to do, and I say screw society. Do what makes you happy.