Congratulations! After years of hard work and hard-paid tuition, you’ve made it to graduation. Now, the difficult part really begins. The real world is a bit more complex than a college campus. There are more decisions to make, more places to live, and endless paths to pursue. Of course, there’s also the pressure of making enough money to sustain the lifestyle you want. With all of the pressure of being beyond the insular world of academia, this guide should help provide you with a few ideas of how to decompress and adjust to adult life.
Take a Gap Year
If you’re looking to achieve the utmost inner peace and fulfillment after graduation, take your decisions into your own hands and take a gap year. While many have documented the pros and cons of a gap year, it’s really up to your own personal preferences as to what a gap year could entail. Some recent grads choose to travel around the world and immerse themselves in other cultures. Others choose to stay close to home and volunteer in their local community. If you’re thinking of attending grad school or have big plans the years after graduation, a gap year can be a way to reset for a period of time before moving into a high-pressure environment. When you take a year to choose exactly what you want, you may find some truths about what you want to pursue in the future that you wouldn’t have discovered had you gone right into the working world.
Work at a Startup
Notions of what constitutes the perfect post-grad job are changing. Over the last fifteen years, the startup boom has created ample job opportunities in cities around the world. Working at a startup offers opportunities to be involved in emerging industries such as tech, healthcare, and business in entry-level positions that often do not require a ton of experience. Plus, the new generation of startup culture allows for casual dress in the office and flexible hours. When looking for a jumping-off point in the business world, a startup can provide you with a structure that is easy to transition to after graduation. At a startup, you’ll be able to find work that contributes to a new and interesting cause as well as be in an environment with other young professionals.
Attend Graduate School
For the academically inclined, graduate school is a way to extend the academic environment you thrived in during college to a specific interest that you’d like to pursue professionally. Graduate programs range from the traditional law school and medical school to programs in the humanities for those focused on publishing literature and historical research. The transition directly from undergrad into an office can be a difficult one to make. Graduate school can act as a hybrid of the academic and working worlds through which you can further develop your skills and learn to take on a professional mindset. It also will provide you with a solid background in a particular field that you can use to advance your career at a quick rate upon completing your program.
Use Your Network
The most important part of being able to thrive in your post-graduation life is having a level of comfort in your environment and your day-to-day routine. One way to ensure this comfort is to conduct your career search through the people you trust the most. Use your network, be it family, friends, classmates, or coworkers to get feedback on your plans and career aspirations. You never know what opportunities might be available from a family friend operating a new company, or a classmate that has an idea of a graduate program that would fit your needs.
Finding yourself after graduation can be a laborious process that presents the challenges of adjusting to new locations, work environments, and people. However, by taking a gap year, working at a startup, attending graduate school, or using your network to ensure a good fit, this transition to the “real world” can be customized for you to find inner peace. Best of luck in your journey!