Are people asking you what are you going to do after graduation? Although none of us may openly say it, there’s no denying that this question is on every one of our minds. You did the thing. You worked hard for four years. You wrote essays, took tests, and essentially worked your butt off, but, now, well you’re done. It’s probably a surreal moment, one that you can’t completely wrap your head around, and that’s completely okay. Maybe, you're ready for the next chapter of your life, or maybe you’re still anxious about the future.
No matter where you find yourself at this juncture of your life, take a moment to remember all that you have accomplished as you read through these five tips from a fellow college graduate to answer that age-old question, what are you going to do after graduation?
1. Where You Go is Not Who You Will Be
There’s a great book on this topic by Frank Bruni that I would definitely recommend flipping through when you have a spare chance. This is a lesson I’ve had to come to terms with a month after graduation and I’m positive that you probably are wrestling right now with the uncertainty of your future, too. Even though it might seem cliche (in the least), this lesson is perhaps one of the most important ones we need to learn.
Let’s say you don’t have a job or a career lined up for you post-graduation. That’s completely okay. Or, maybe, I’m wrong. Maybe, you have the future all prepared with a nice, little red bow placed on top. Look, in the grand scheme of things, the six-figure career, or even your desire to always be doing the next, ambitious thing, well they don’t really matter. Rather, the kindness and courage you showcase in your life will long outweigh the large paycheck in your bank account. I know what you’ll say now; believe me, I’ve heard it all. Kindness does not pay the bills. Not always, but that doesn’t mean we should forget exhibiting kindness towards ourselves and others.
2. Remember to Be Kind to Yourself
I don’t know about you, but I am definitely an overachiever. During my four years of college, I maintained a high GPA, while I served in several leadership roles, and was a member of not one, but two academic honors societies. On top of that, I also had a student job at the time. Like many of you, I forget sometimes how amazing my achievements really are and I don’t take the time to congratulate myself, or even stop before moving onto the next great step in my career.
Now, don’t get me wrong; it’s not bad to have ambition, but we need to remember to be kind to ourselves while we pursue our dreams. For some of us, that means taking time to recognize how hard we worked for our undergraduate degrees, and for others, well it might mean something completely different.
3. Update Your Resume
If you’re like me, then you’ve probably procrastinated on updating that resume, but the time has come for you take that digital file out and update it to express just how much you’ve achieved over these last four years.
When you’re ready, hit up indeed.com and go searching for your first post-graduate job! It doesn’t need to be full-time. If you want, you can ease into a part-time job before you commit to a job that will be the right fit for you. It may take a bit of time to find the right job, but don’t give up. Keep sending out your resume and keep looking for more jobs in your career field.
4. Keep in Touch with Your Mentors
I cannot express how important this one is. Your mentors are there for you even after you have graduated. Your professors, your supervisors, and every other professional figure in your life have taken the time to work with you one-on-one. They care about your well-being and they definitely care about your success. So, don’t feel afraid or ever feel like an obligation if you need advice from any of your professors or even just one of your close family members.
5. This is Just the Beginning of Your Life
Alright, I know you’ve probably heard this line a million times already in all of your graduation ceremonies, but, believe me, it is true. Not many have a bachelor’s degree under their belt. The lessons you’ve learned aren’t going to disappear once you have your diploma in hand, but, rather, they will stay with you wherever you go. Learning is not a one-time thing; it is a process that can be, at its worst, increasingly frustrating, but, at its best, we can become stronger, critical thinkers for having gone through this process in our lives. So, let’s not forget the value of our education any time soon.
What lessons have you learned post-graduation?