Making a plan for life after college does a lot to limit the stress one has after graduating. Of course things change and plans are far from foolproof, but creating a general outline of what you want to do after receiving your degree goes a long way in making sure you stick to your priorities. Here’s a list of some advice that I’ve found to be helpful in designing your own personal post-grad blueprint.
1. Don’t stress.
Getting bogged down by the rigors of graduation can be overwhelming in itself. Figuring out what you want to do with your life after college isn’t much easier. Stressing every situation certainly does nothing to help, so as easy as it is to say “don’t sweat the small stuff,” just take a moment to breathe and put your concerns into context. You’ll see that there are greener pastures ahead of you.
2. Nail down an internship.
Something I wish I spent more time on while in college was finding the right internship for when I returned home. I was so busy with studying, working, and having some sort of social life, my internship search started later than it should have. We’re all busy, we all have commitments, but internships can be invaluable, especially if you find your ideal organization. Do some research; don’t be afraid to inquire about how a company works and what opportunities may be available. Your talents are likely needed more than you think.
3. Don’t put too much on your plate.
This is an easy one to fall victim to because of the sudden freedom you’re met with in life after college. Should you immediately jump into full-time work? What about a part-time job while you search for a better position? How about taking time off to travel? Have you thought about pursuing your Masters? Or perhaps volunteering for a cause you care about? There are too many options to swallow in one bite. Imagine what you’d like to be doing in 5 years and take the first step in making that happen.
4. Think about furthering your education.
This is a tricky one. Generally, more education is never a bad thing. Proper timing and planning are essential, though. If you’re interested in getting your Masters, perhaps look into taking a certificate program first to get a crash course before committing your time and money. Try giving yourself a rough idea of how your degree will help you, or make a pros and cons list to visualize what the benefits and detriments are of continuing your education at that moment.
5. Cover the bases – don’t limit yourself to one industry or field.
I realize the majority of us have a major, and hopefully the major you chose is what you’re actually interested in. If so, awesome. If not, don’t fret. As long as you aren’t doing a complete 180, you should use your free time to engage with companies in various fields. This will expand your skill set, and hopefully give you a better picture of what it is you’re truly passionate about. For instance, if you’re a Journalism major, don’t limit yourself to content creation within the news industry. Branch out to marketing, corporate communication, or PR, where gifted writers are in high demand.
6. Research respected recruiters in your area.
This is an important one. Some recruiters out there may not put forth the necessary legwork in finding you the right job. Others can be fantastic resources that search for a perfect match given your experience and interests. Do some homework before hand of recruiting firms with successful track records in your city. It can go a long way when you work with people who genuinely want to get you hired.
7. Don’t be afraid to work part-time while searching for better opportunities.
Working at a grocery store after receiving your Bachelors may not be what you had envisioned, knowing you’re capable of more. But try not to think of it that way. When it comes to life after college, many young people take up part-time, or even full-time work with businesses that they don’t intend staying with long-term. That’s nothing to be ashamed about. Make some money, save up, and look for other opportunities while earning a paycheck. The experience will be valuable, and you never know what connections you’ll make.
8. Pursue your passions – do what you love.
When you’re being pulled in every direction, it can be easy to lose sight of things you truly love. If your passion is film and you studied English or journalism, look into taking a screenwriting course. Just putting aside an hour a day to draw, if that’s your thing, will do wonders for the imagination and allow your mind to relax. Don’t lose the love for your passions, it’s what makes us unique.
9. Get creative – learn/improve on skills to broaden your possibilities.
Piggybacking on #8, creativity is vital. Every company cherishes employees who have the ability to think outside the box, keep ideas fresh, and keep people on their feet. Don’t get complacent because you haven’t found the perfect job yet. You’re young, don’t worry about making tons of money or about experience, focus on harnessing your creative powers and finding the right platform to let loose.
10. Stay hungry
Never lose the hunger to get better everyday. It can become a grind trying to juggle everything that’s on your mind, but your ideal situation will only find you if you remain focused on your end goal. Don’t get down on yourself because you’re stuck in a routine. If you make it a habit to better yourself everyday in chasing your ambitions, you’ll soon realize how possible they are to achieve.
Life after college is intimidating to think about, but if you keep these tips in mind when developing a plan for after graduation, it’ll be a lot easier to chew!
Featured image source: pizzazzerie.com
A recent graduate of The University of Arizona, Dario spends his off time writing, reading, watching movies, playing sports, scrounging for new music and hanging with his dog, Dex.