Congratulations, college grad! The last four years of studying hard with all the blood, sweat and tears going into exams has paid off. You’ve walked the boards, scored high marks and now your life has begun. You may well have dreamed of this moment since the day you began college, fresh faced and eager to learn, but now you’re here, the panic may well be starting to set in: now what?
When college starts, you’ve got roughly four years ahead of you of soaking in experiences with your friends, learning new things, and passing assignments and tests. You’ve had an immersive, life-changing experience because you were a college student. The problem is that most college students don’t give much thought to what comes after – even those in their final year put it off as long as possible, because they’re too busy enjoying themselves to worry about the next stages. (Trust me, relish that while you can!)
The world is your oyster, but if you’ve never had oysters, you’re bound to be a little unsure of what to do and how to handle life without the routine of college that you settled into so well. There are options ahead of you and the route that you choose to take is likely to be based on pressures from people around you and pressures that you put on yourself to do well at the next step.
Parents are going to pressure you to get a job, start thinking about moving out and standing on your own two feet. Your mentors and tutors will be pushing you in the direction of internships and work experiences to start you on the first steps towards your career. Your friends will be pulling you toward traveling and having a blowout vacation to celebrate the four years you’ve all done together. And you? What about you? Are you hoping to get in the door of a job with cash, or do you want to find a mentor and learn voluntarily? What about that much-needed break? Perhaps you just want to go and find the right RV dealer and disappear on a solo trip where you decide for yourself without all the noise of what your ‘next’ will be. Doesn’t that sound amazing? I wish I had done a trip like that! Charlie did something similar sans RV with one of his best buds after graduation – they drove across the entire country and saw so many cool places – v jealous!
Either way, you’ve got to start making a decision. You need to think about what you want to do, and it has to be what YOU want to do, not what other people want from you. The best news about it is that no matter what your decision, whether it’s to dive into a career, or live on a new RV on the road and spend time with the world for a while, you have time to choose.
It’s very important to know your options, though, and whichever path you choose to take is going to be the right path for you. Let’s take a closer look at your post-graduate options, so that you can be clear on your available paths.
Get A Job.
Almost all new graduates decide to get up and get a job once they finish school. They’re done with being poor from the lack of finance throughout the college years, and they’re ready to go out there and make some money of their own. If this is the route you want to go down, you need to decide what you want to be, then get some help from your college careers service. Some of these services even provide professional interview clothing if you have none – how cool is that? They also can look over your resumé! Most colleges provide support with what to do next, and some will be able to help you to get interviews with certain employers, too. Where possible, look for roles with smaller businesses so that you can gain your experience before jumping to the big names out there. My first job as an RN was in a smaller, local hospital outside of Salt Lake City. After about a year I made the jump to the much larger University of Utah hospital and had a store a knowledge in my pocket already!
Work For Yourself.
A successful side hustle in college can change the game for a student, as it can start you on your path to self-employment. You don’t have to be hemmed into an office when you’re self-employed; you could take the RV you dreamed of and get out onto the road. You get to take some time to work and earn money, while gaining some space between you and your college years. Even if you remember those years fondly, college is the you that studied (or was supposed to). The you now is the one that is out in the world and enjoying themselves. Take that and roll with it! You get the chance to travel – shaking off the college cobwebs – while earning, and that isn’t a position that a lot of college kids find themselves able to do once they’ve graduated. Do you have a side hustle?
Study A Little More.
There is every chance that while you’re ready for the world of work – or travel – you are not yet qualified enough for what you want to do. Medical students, for example, do their undergrad, then head to medical school before interning as a doctor. More often than not, nurses now have to complete and internship before being on their own. You may have a desire to study something that requires a lot more of your time and energy, which means more time to study, too! Post-graduate study can be expensive, so make very sure that this is what you definitely want to do before you go and do it. Speak to the careers service at college and speak to your professors, too. You need some insight.
Take A Break.
A year out is common to take before you start college, but you can also take a year out afterwards. A year out isn’t a time to slough off, but it’s a time to get to know yourself and who you are in the world. You cannot make your mark unless you know this. It’s your time now, to road trip and get out there and see the sights, meet people, work in a diner for a few hours to earn money for spends and then head off to the mountains for a hike. Taking the time to travel is looked at favourably by employers, too, because they see you as mature and worldly.
Your life? It’s in your hands right now. Nothing you do is going to be a mistake. You just have to choose what comes next for you.