For most 22-year-olds graduating college, not being a student anymore is unfamiliar territory. Many recent graduates find themselves asking, “what next?”. Regardless of if you have a plan beyond school or not, here are some ideas and advice for post-undergraduate life.
Your next move may be to jump right in to the working world. If you are graduating with a job, congratulations! If you aren’t, no worries! There are plenty of options out there if your goal is to find a full-time job. Make an excel sheet and try to apply to five jobs a week. Keep track of where you are finding postings, when you apply, and who you are talking to. Looking for a job can be frustrating, but don’t get discouraged! Be patient and keep searching- you will find a position that is a great fit for you.
It is totally normal to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life. There are many benefits of a post-graduate internship (check them out here!). It is estimated that gap years have a positive impact on over 60 percent of students’ career choices. Taking time to consider your options can give you a chance to think about what you really want your next step to be. Don’t be afraid to explore.
Many people choose to take this time after graduation to travel. You’ll never be this young or have this much time to yourself again. Make the most of this opportunity! Seasonal or temporary employment can be a great option if you want to explore a new part of the country without committing to moving permanently. Do your research and plan. Read through this blog post to help prepare for postgraduate travel!
Many graduates choose to continue their education. If this is your next move, it is incredibly important to prepare.
If you are starting the process of applying to graduate programs, make sure that you know the application requirements. Mark down dates and deadlines so you can plan accordingly. Most schools require application essays; use these writing pieces to highlight your ability to think critically and show your interest in the profession. When it comes to letters of recommendation, give your references plenty of time to write. Lastly, research the schools’ entrance exam requirements and make sure you are well prepared for the test(s).
If you have already been accepted to a program, you should take time to research your program, curriculum, and professors. Many programs have Facebook pages- be sure to network! Learn about your classmates and ways to get involved. You can also start preparing for life after graduation by getting familiar with the school’s career development center- it’s never too early.
Whether you’re working, traveling, or continuing your education, it is important to be financially responsible (duh!). Take time to go over your student loans and understand your repayment plan. The six-month grace period will pass by before you know it! Now is the time to keep track of your expenses and start learning about retirement savings. These things may sound intimidating, but they are a very important part of ‘adulting.’ Future you will appreciate it.
By Bailey Weber