It’s safe to say that a lot of new college graduates know the struggle when it comes to navigating life after college graduation. Whether or not you have a plan for post-grad life, the reality of leaving college and arguably some of the best four years of your life, can seem a little daunting. Believe me, I’m living it! Graduation itself is an exciting day filled with a mix of emotions, but suddenly you find yourself thrust into the world as you come down from the high of graduation. Whether you’re reading this as a new college graduate or as a student looking to that future day of commencement, here’s some words of advice, and thoughts worthy of consideration as you figure out how to navigate the post-grad life.
1. Actively Apply And Search For Jobs
If you’re one of the lucky ones to score a job before graduation congratulations to you! For a lot of new grads though, the job search can seem endless. It may seem like a job itself just applying for jobs, given all the time and effort you put into applications and cover letters- but keep it up! Don’t be afraid to look for jobs outside your major too. Any degree you earn will give you valuable skills that can transfer to any number of positions or employers. You may not find your dream job right away, but you’ll get there!
2. Keep In Touch With Future References
Speaking of the job search, what is especially useful for life after college graduation is keeping in touch with potential future references. As you embark into the real world and the many opportunities it offers you, it’s important to keep in touch with professors, employers, coworkers, friends, etc. in case you need a good word from them in the future!
3. Volunteer Your Skills
So maybe you’re having a hard time finding a job and/or don’t have a lot of experience in your major. While you keep applying for positions look for volunteer opportunities that allow you to put your skills and knowledge to work. These opportunities will make for great resume boosters too! Sites like Volunteer Match and Catchafire allow you to search for different local and virtual volunteer opportunities that can exercise a wide variety of skills, from analytics to copy writing. Not to mention you may get to meet some new people and network yourself to your next job!
4. Practice Makes Perfect
While it’s just as important to practice or demonstrate those marketable skills you’ve gained throughout college, practice for acing the job interviews you’re bound to receive as a new grad. Get advice from friends and utilize (college) career services websites for common job interview questions. Practice makes perfect! (This might be a good time to take a look into your closet to see if your attire needs a more professional upgrade, too!)
5. Have Optimism And Don’t Get Discouraged!
Life after college graduation is tough when you’re broke and drowning in loans. Having difficulty finding a job and/or living back home after graduation is common and can be a bit disheartening but don’t get discouraged! Things take time to fall into place and in time you will find the job that will be the fit for you. The best piece of advice that I’ve read regarding post-grad life, said that every rejection you receive is just one step closer to where you’re supposed to be! So don’t give up, there’s a lot of people in your position just waiting on that moment too.
6. Take A Gap Or Service Year
If your job search seems to be coming up short or you just don’t know what you want to do after graduation, consider taking a gap or service year. Use that money you saved up for and take that trip you always wanted to go on and explore the world. You just may discover something new about yourself or have a moment of clarity that opens your eyes. If you want to contribute to society, there’s lots of programs out there like Americorps, College Possible or Service Year that you can apply to that run the range of skills and position type.
7. Save Up And Budget
Saving up money during those first months after college is a smart idea, whether you’ve found yourself in your first professional job or not. Trust me, this is definitely going to help you in the long run, especially when Sallie Mae comes calling for their money back. Saving up and making a budget with your money will definitely help you keep up with those aforementioned student loans and any emergency or moving expenses you may acquire.
8. Don’t Freak Out About Moving Back Home
Finding yourself living back in your childhood bedroom again is definitely not the ideal situation for most new grads. (Trust me, I would know.) Yet, if you find yourself in this situation-don’t freak out about it. Remember that the situation is only temporary. Make the most of the situation by keeping busy, applying to jobs around the area and meeting up with your friends that still reside in the area.
9. Think About Grad School
Transitioning from college to the real world can definitely be a challenge some of us aren’t ready for. However, if you’re missing the challenge of higher education think about going back to school and earning that Master’s or Doctorate’s degree. There’s so many programs and universities out there offering a wide variety of programs and schedules. Explore your options from online programs, to part time or full time study on campus.
10. Enjoy Every Moment And Embrace The Unknown!
Last but not least, whatever situation you find yourself in life after college graduation – just be sure to live a little and embrace the unknowns! Trust that things will align and work out in time, and enjoy every moment you can!
What is your advice on life after college graduation? Let us know in the comments below!
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"University of Wisconsin La Crosse '17, English Rhetoric and Writing Major. Just a writer, philosopher, student, pop culture fanatic and hair color chameleon who loves all things unique and quirky."