Graduation “szn” is rapidly approaching with tens of thousands of students about to walk across a stage and receive a piece of paper. For some, it’ll be a high school diploma. For others, that piece of paper will be a college degree that is perceived to be the ticket to the “American Dream” of a better life.
Although obtaining a college education does open doors for employment and various other opportunities, graduation can be an especially daunting season in a college student’s life due to the abundance of uncertainty.
Whether it is to go back to school, enter corporate America or return to their hometown, graduates stand in the intersection of opportunities, but not all are already.
1. Take a Real Break
Yes, college does grant students a number of perceived breaks. For most students, that consists of a winter break, a summer break and a spring break. But during these weeks, there is oftentimes still work to be done that haunts the students and prevents them from being able to truly enjoy their break.
During graduation season, most students just took finals or have finals coming up. But after that, there are no assignments due. So feel free to take an actual break doing whatever you want for however long you want.
You’ve spent the last four years working tirelessly to obtain your degree and this is your chance to kick back and relax before those real adult responsibilities creep up on you, whether that means drafting up a bucket list, finally starting a blog, getting back into shape or just lounging in front of your neighborhood pool for weeks on end.
Aside from studying abroad (which is incredibly rare for the U.S. college population), travel is not always easy while in college. Unless they’re traveling home, most kids in college are too occupied taking summer classes, working or participating in other activities to travel.
Whether it is to California or to Monaco, travel is a great way to destress and celebrate your victory. Graduating from college is a huge deal and traveling is one of the best and most common ways to reward yourself. Exploring the world is an incredibly eye-opening experience and is sure to render a fresh perspective in the next season of your life.
3. Get Another Degree
Though cliché and somewhat antiquated, the notion of “knowledge is power” still holds true to today. Although to some, the idea of going back to school and facing another graduation season of uncertainty may sound even more threatening, it’s a great edification tool.
Higher education enables people to broaden their opportunities, explore their interests or even delve deeper into their desired field. Getting an advanced degree demonstrates one’s ability to think critically and be an ongoing learner.
This looks great to future employers and can shape your own future both professionally and personally. Education is still relevant and frankly, overeducation isn’t a thing.
4. Risk It All
Risking it all is probably one of the best things a college student can do post-graduation. You have the degree, right? So why not go for everything you’ve dreamt of doing while you were studying? Make that move to New York. Apply for that grant to teach in Indonesia. Time waits for no one and start making the impossible possible.
Oftentimes, the sacrifices made to ensure the manifestation of our lifelong goals are totally worth it even if you have to sleep on your cousin’s daughter’s aunt’s couch for a year. After all, you have the degree to fall back on, right?
5. Start Your Own Business
True enough, most college curriculums don’t prepare college students for the workforce, not to mention embarking upon any entrepreneurial ventures. But it doesn’t hurt to try. Entrepreneurship is a great way to channel and monetize your own unique vision and perspective on something.
Also, being your own boss is pretty badass. If you have a love for racquetball, start a racquetball camp. Or if you have a love for fashion and a skill for writing, try launching your own fashion magazine. You never know where a little initiative can take you. Amongst all of the other things you’ll be planning for after graduation, planning your next business move could be the move.
6. Get a “Real Job”
As boring as this sounds, graduating and entering the workforce isn’t such a bad idea. The sooner you become acclimated to the tactics of corporate America, the quicker you can score that corner office of senior vice president. And, assuming you have a semi-decent GPA and at least two jobs, you could be in the position to negotiate a decent salary.
This means you don’t have to settle for noodles and off-brand fruit punch like you did in college. Also, for those with student loans, this gives them the opportunity to pay them off and be one step closer to being debt-free. This conventional post-graduation decision will definitely grant you tangible dividends.
7. Go Home and Figure It All Out
Yep, home sweet home. Returning to your hometown after graduation doesn’t have to be as depressing or disappointing as most people make it seem, as long as you have an exit strategy.
Moving back home is one of the most economically intelligent decisions a recent college grad could make. Nine times out of 10 your family will welcome you with open arms and will be willing to let you stay for as long as you need to get on your feet.
Staying home allows students to save while bill-free. Also, going home to figure it all out allows for positive influences from friends and family, helping you make a solid, concrete decision the next move.
It’s easy to be influenced by social media and peers who are embarking on perceived “bigger” moves, but moving back home can help recent college graduates to step back, have a clear mind, and strategically plan their exit. Everyone’s path is different and there’s nothing wrong with retraction and long as progression remains in mind.