A short self-help guide to help you decide
“What’s next?” is a question plaguing almost every graduating student’s mind these days. According to recent statistics released by Allaboutcareers.com—a career exploration platform—44% of undergraduates don’t know what they’re going to do after graduation.
More than 1500 school and college students and 37,000 undergraduates were interviewed about their post-graduation goals in the same context. 52% of the school students agreed/strongly agreed with this statement: “I have no idea what I want to do with my career.”
So, if you thought you were the only one worried about what to do after graduation, you’re not alone. Whether it’s quality of education to blame, lack of responsibility or another external factor, the majority of graduating students these days are clueless about where they’re headed.
But then again, as Faith Sullivan put it, “The best things in life are unexpected.” Even though planning from time to time doesn’t hurt anybody, it’s still exciting and spontaneous to keep your mind open to the possibility that a good, unexpected thing might happen.
It can be pretty overwhelming to decide what you want to do after graduation. Everywhere you look, you’ll find differing points of view. In the end, it’s your decision. That is why we’ve compiled the following list to help you make that critical decision.
Where to Start?
The first step is indeed always the hardest. In this case, the first step would be to evaluate your current situation (once you graduate). Are you financially in need of work? Is there some time to kill before you start the daily 9 to 5 grind? Is there something or someone in your life who needs you to be there for them right now?
Before deciding what you want to do in the future, it’s essential first to sit and think about what you have to do right now. Look around yourself, and observe all the people who committed to a job or another educational program before taking care of unfinished business.
You don’t want those things to weigh you down once you start a career after graduation, for instance, now, do you? It’s, therefore, a necessary step towards identifying your future goal: take care of the current, unfinished goals first.
You probably read about brainstorming everywhere, no matter what it’s about. But it makes sense. Brainstorming is necessary for life, especially when you don’t know for sure what will happen. Laying your thoughts out and planning a route to reach your objectives is practical.
For instance, you can start by making a list of things you’ve always wanted to do after graduation. Put those goals in categories such as “goals I can easily achieve right now” and “goals I can’t achieve right now.” from there on out; you’ll have an idea about whether the dream job you’ve always wanted is even attainable right now.
Do you have the proper qualifications for that dream job? If not, would it be a good idea to attain those qualifications while doing some volunteer work on the side? Come up with such items while brainstorming—the more, the merrier.
Is there a career counselor at your college/university where you graduated from? If so, visit them. Discuss your situation and what you want to do from here on out. See what they have to say.
And if not, try to seek career advice from someone in the family who’s been there and done that. Who knows, their life might set an example for you after all. And if that doesn’t satiate you either, try reading some real-life experiences from graduates who have faced the same dilemma as you’re facing right now.
Exciting read: Check out this list by Time magazine about myths related to life after graduation.
Fill up your resume
Now that you’ve graduated take a long, hard look at your resume. Try to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. If you come across such a resume, what would you tell that person?
Whatever answer you come up with, does it give you a clue about what to do next? For it’s not always about getting a high-paying job right after graduation. It’s also about personal growth. Have you done anything concrete lately that you can put up in your resume?
Is there something part-time you can enroll yourself into, something you can continue doing even with a full-time job later on? Are there some additional online courses you can complete?
Do you have a portfolio for showcasing your art, writing, etc.? If not, wouldn’t this be a good time to create one and benefit from later, during job hunts? All in all, before proceeding with a life-altering decision, try to improve your current skills to increase that personal growth everyone is always talking about.
Things to do After Graduation Besides Work
In these COVID-19 stricken times, many graduates are taking advantage of the work-from-home opportunity. And those that haven’t been lucky enough to find an excellent job post-COVID are making use of their time in other ways.
In other words, it’s an excellent time to take those pottery or music lessons you always wanted to. A perfect time to redecorate a friend’s room or even start your own little business on the side selling art pieces!
The world is your oyster, after all. You have to be willing to consider other alternatives than the ‘graduate and get a job’ option. It’s getting old and irrelevant in these changing times. So, check out the following list of things you can do after you graduate:
- Community volunteer work at a local elementary school, clinic, etc
- Certified online classes
- Driving lessons, cooking lessons, music lessons, and so on
- Continuing your education.
- Reconnecting with those at home
- Adopting a pet (if you can)
- Building a portfolio for your art, photography, writing, etc
- Starting an entrepreneurial project, such as selling your art, DIY crafts, etc
- Giving tuition.
- Renovating a personal space, such as repainting your/someone else’s old furniture.
- Building a journal
- Supporting a local cause
As the genius behind SpaceX missions to Marks, Elon Musk, put it, “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.” if you’re meant to do a 9 to 5 job, you eventually will. If you’re meant to learn gardening like a pro right after graduation bells, you will.
It would help if you weren’t worrying about what you ought to be doing after graduation. The options are limitless. Furthermore, there’s no shortage of where to look, especially with today’s numerous self-help books, guides, online counselling, and what not.
Instead, focus on whether you’re your best self before starting a new life chapter post-graduation. Whatever you choose to do after graduation, be confident in your decision. Some pitfalls are inevitable along the way, but your path to success is a surety when you give it your best.
Good luck for the future!