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5 Options New Graduates Have The Opportunity to Explore

As graduation season continues, the class of 2021 is finding themselves celebrating their achievements in increasingly memorable and creative ways. As the first class to reach such a milestone during the overlap of realities embedded in both covid and the anticipation of normalcy, one could argue that such celebrations can only exist alongside that additional creativity and elation, so congratulations for making it through one obstacle after another! 

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At this point, I’m sure nobody wants to think about the future-- and if a year in quarantine has taught anybody anything-- it’s that sometimes the best way to live is just by taking it one day at a time. But, the future and its ambiguity don’t always have to spark feelings of stress or fear. Graduating from college is both a privilege and a time for personal reflection. More often than not, the unstructured aspects of grad life can be overwhelming and induce feelings of stress, but it doesn’t have to. That is why I wanted to share some of the things that new graduates can look forward to and how having an open schedule and even more flexible options is actually a great thing in the long run.

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Option #1: Join the Peace Corps

If you’re looking for an enriching life experience after college, the Peace Corps is calling your name. In the span of two years, you are able to reside in a completely different country, as you begin learning, experiencing, and serving those communities in a variety of available sectors, such as education, environment, health and much more. 

Option #2: Start a Small Business

This option is one of the riskiest ones out there, but it always ends in great payoff as you embark on following your passions and letting go of self-doubt. If there’s a personal project you daydream about but have always put on the backburner for one reason or another, post-graduation is the perfect time to rack up enough confidence to pursue it head on!

Option #3: Intern

Interning in your desired field will not only make you a more competitive candidate should you choose to pursue something like graduate school in the future, but it will also prove to be a very fulfilling way to spend your free time.

Option #4: Travel

Travelling seems to be something all of us have on our to-do list, and for good reasons. Your 20s is a perfect time to travel, as it opens up new horizons by playing a role in self-discovery, friendship-making and life cultivation.

Option #5: Take time off

There isn’t anything wrong with taking time off, despite the fact that Western society has spent the better half of history making it seem like productivity is the only ingredient to happiness. Taking time for yourself is a great way to continue self-reflection and hone in on what really makes you empowered and inspired. This time can be used for self-growth, catching up with loved ones, getting closer to yourself or simply taking it easy.

As you can see, there is no one way to tackle post-grad life, and having more options doesn’t always have to be scary. No matter what you choose to do, try to put a little less pressure on yourself by remembering that you are still young and growing. You will have a whole lifetime to figure life out, but for right now-- trust yourself and follow the path that your heart and happiness are leading you down.

Shannon Mia Vo is a third-year student at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Disability Studies. This is her second year writing for UCLA's chapter of Her Campus, and her first year as Assistant Director of Editorial, so she is excited to learn as she goes. Shannon loves to write and believes that words are an essential catalyst for storytelling, education, advocacy, and expression. When she isn't writing, she can be found crafting, rewatching her favorite sitcoms, working out, or browsing through booktok!
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