5 Ways to Productively Use Your Time After You Graduate

Graduation is just the beginning.
January 30, 2019
8 mins read

Graduation is a huge accomplishment. When you walk across that stage (or just get your diploma mailed to you), you feel a real sense of triumph and excitement. You’ve finally done it. You finished school and it’s time for you to enter “the real world.”

However, as you’ll quickly realize, the real world isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. It also isn’t always your ticket to freedom. Despite what your fellow grads might make you think, most graduates don’t have a full-time job right away, and no money equals no freedom.

As a recent graduate myself, I’ve been navigating the world as a college graduate without a job for the last month. A month isn’t bad, but when a fellow graduate already has a job lined up and moved to a new state, it knocks down your confidence.

So, if you’re in the same boat as I am, trying to navigate your new life until you can find (and land) the job of your dreams, keep reading. I’ve found a few ways that you can pass the time while you keep searching for that perfect job.

1. Get a part-time job.

Most recent graduates do this one without being prompted.

For a recent graduate, making some extra money is a no-brainer. You’ve got bills to pay, people to hang out with and there’s always something to buy. Unfortunately, you can’t do any of those things without some extra money coming into your bank account. Your part-time job won’t be very glamorous, but it’ll help you start saving up for everything you need to pay.

I recommend trying to look for something related to your degree if you can. See if there are any companies looking for part-time employees. It may not be your dream job, but it could be a good addition to your resume and make you hate the job search a little less. If you can’t find something related to your major, find something that you always wanted to try but never got the chance to.

Most people never want to have a part-time job relating back to fast-food or retail, but if you were too busy during your academic career it could give you some much needed fact-to-face work experience. And, though it isn’t always fun and games no matter what you do, it might be a good break from the last 12 or more years of schooling.

To find new jobs, you can search through websites like Indeed, Linkedin, Glassdoor and Snagajob.

2. Look for a professional internship.

Despite the fact that more and more colleges are requiring their graduates to have one or more internships, they aren’t just for college students. Internships provide valuable experience that is expected of an entry-level employee in 2019. If you already have a few internships under your belt from your time in school, that’s great. However, it’s never a problem to have one or two more.

If you’re stuck in a place where you don’t have a full-time job, a part-time job or anything plans for either, maybe it’s time to look for a new internship. Don’t spend time stressing about not having your dream job yet; there’s always value in experience, and you may be able to find an internship that leads to your full-time job. Besides, if you’re going to waste time away and not make any money, you may as well be getting more experience in your industry, too.

Another option for an internship after (or during) your college career is the Disney College Program (DCP). Through the DCP, you’re able to work at one of the Disney parks about four months. Most people who talk about the program have nothing but good things to say; the only issue is you really need to plan for this one.

3. Pick up a new hobby.

Remember all that time you spent in college wishing you had a ton of free time to read more books or learn to play guitar? Well, and it goes without saying, now you have that time. If you need something to do to make waiting for a response from that future employer less stressful, do something fun.

There are endless possibilities when it comes down to finding a new hobby to spend your time doing. You could learn to paint, play guitar or knit. You could even read a new book or start writing. Two other options are starting a blog or YouTube channel. Making YouTube videos is becoming increasingly popular in this digital age, so you’re never too late.

Keep in mind, though, that both of these hobbies can take a lot of time. However, if you work really hard and put in the effort, they might just be the ticket to a new career path. If you’re interested in writing or video production, this is something you could look into.

4. Go travel.

Everyone always says the best time to travel is either while you’re in school, or right when you get out. The problem, though, is most college graduates don’t have the money to do that.

That being said, if you have the resources, you can go backpacking across Europe or take a road trip across the states. If you don’t have a lot of money, take a day trip. Gas isn’t the most expensive it’s ever been, so pick up a few friends or family members and hit the open road.

You could also spend time exploring your hometown (new or old). If you’re already there, just get up early one morning and take a walk. Visit a coffee shop or vintage stores. You’ll be amazed at what you may have missed when you lived there for so long.

Just make sure to use your time wisely. When will you have this much free time again? If you aren’t going to use your time to go get a part-time job to save up some money, then use it to see the world.

5. Create your own website.

I can’t stress this one enough; when you have a website, you have a visual resume for future employers.

Creating a website kind of goes hand in hand with starting a blog, but doing so can be fun and vital in the job search process. For creative fields especially, having a website means you have a place to store all of your best work. Whether that’s an article you’ve written for a website like Study Breaks, a video you made during your senior year of college or a collection of photographs that you’re really proud of, a portfolio houses it all.

There are many platforms you can use for one, too. Depending on your industry, you could use Tumblr, Wix, WordPress or Squarespace.

College was hard, but the period between graduation and getting a job might just be even more difficult. Don’t waste all your time refreshing your email while you wait for a response from an employer. Do something you’ll thank yourself for later.

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