What Can I Do? 10 Things To Do After Graduating From University
For many university is their last stop before hitting the job market and as such it marks an important moment in your life. Unless you plan to start your own company, it is time to find a job to support yourself financially and possibly others. When you're studying things are clear: you have to finish that project or pass that exam. But what follows after university?
What are the things to do after graduating from university? This article serves as a checklist so you can see exactly what you should or could do. It's often said that being a student is the best time of your life but then, life is what you make of it! So here are 10 things of what you should do after graduating from university.
A no-brainer! Congratulations on getting your degree! It's time to celebrate! If you have the money, how about going to a city or place that you've always wanted to go to?
If your friends are graduating at or around the same time it's good to plan this together. Get together and brainstorm on what to do and where to go. You don't need to leave your country as you can have a good time almost anywhere.
2. Get a savings account
This is something you should have done years ago but if you haven't, it is time to get a savings account. The earlier you start with saving money, the more interest you will accumulate. In paticular now that you are at the beginning of your working life, it's time to get serious about money. The earlier you start, the more interest you can get upon the interest that you have already received; this is called compound interest. A basic concept but it's good to know now so you can start saving today.
As a student you may have spent your money on alcoholic cocktails, party and travel adventures. You can still do that but to ensure a good financial future you should be saving and managing your money carefully. Many people, even those with high incomes, spend their money carelessly and as a result they spend their lives relatively broke. You have a chance to do things differently by becoming more conscious about the way you spend and save money.
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3. Educate yourself about money
This is really one of the best things you can do, at any age! It is easy to spend money but knowing how to manage your money properly takes effort. Read books and magazines about money and learn more about saving and investing. Even if your starting salary is not that high (yet), you have to start managing your money now.
I know many students who are really trying to make ends meet with rent that needs to be paid and of course living the student life costs money. Let me quote T. Harv Eker from his book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (page 159) - a book I can wholeheartedly recommend by the way:
"Poor people use the excuse "How can I think about tomorrow when I can barely survive today?" The problem is that, eventually, tomorrow will become today; if you haven't taken care of today's problem, you'll be saying the same thing again tomorrow too."
Indeed, if you're not going to start educating yourself and managing your money today, when are you going to do that?
4. Pay off your student loans
It's time to pay off your student loans. The money was used well for your education: you now have your degree. Review the documents that detail how much you have to pay back. What is the debt that you have as a result of your student loan? Make a plan on how you're going to pay it back using your current income and expenses.
I don't know how you have financed your education but if the situation is complicated then you should aim to get some advice from skilled people. These people can help you to pay off your debts in a timely manner.
5. Take some time off - do something fun!
Some people take a gap year in between high school and university. The time after your graduation is also a good opportunity to do something totally different! Go abroad for a few months (or more) and explore the world by traveling or participating in a volunteering project.You can also participate in a project or sports activity nearby if that is what you prefer.
If you're looking for some ideas, you could travel around New Zealand by bus using carry-on only luggage, you could have a laugh in Singapore or enrich your life by exploring the culture of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Oh, and while you're in New Zealand, how about a bungee jump?
You also don't have to start working in your area of study just yet. You can teach English abroad or you can use your skills to help people in other countries where they are needed the most.
When you have settled into a daily routine of work and supporting a family - which may or may not be too far off - you won't have the time to do most of this. By the way, if you're not too enthusiastic about joining the 9-to-5 rat race, you can still change your mind now. You can start working for yourself rather than working for some boss but that's another article for another day.
6. Keep in touch with your friends
You may not realize it now but keeping in touch with your friends could become a lot harder as the years pass after graduation. Everyone will start looking for what they're going to do in life. They may find work nearby but it could also be somewhere else in the country or world.
It's important to keep in touch with your friends. Close friendships may waver as time passes if you don't put enough effort into maintaining those friendships.
7. Keep in touch with your university's alumni network
Universities have an alumni network (alumnus = Latin for graduate) where university graduates can keep in touch with the university and those who have studied there. Activities are usually organized for alumni, such as debates and workshops, and support can be provided, such as help with your CV or when you are looking for a new job.
Your university teachers and fellow students may come and go but you'll always have a degree from your university. Becoming a member of your university's alumni network can benefit you in many ways: it can help you with your career but it's also a way to find like-minded people.
8. Keep learning
You thought you were done with studying? I'm sorry to say but in life you'll have to keep learning. It may not be through formal education but there's just so much to learn. If you don't keep up with the latest developments then you'll be left behind. Even things that have been with us for hundreds of years, such as relationships, money and health, can be studied and explored for the rest of your life!
You can always find areas in life in which you can improve yourself. Find books, seminars and other people from which you can learn. You can always find other people who have accomplished a lot and you can learn from them. Fortunately you don't have to pass all those exams anymore but now real life has become your exam: are you doing well in areas such as finance, love and health or is there room for improvement? I'm sure there is so keep learning from those who have gone before you - and with great results!
9. Think about what you want in life
Ok, this is not the easiest one. However, it's good to give this some thought. Before you know it you'll hit thirty and you'll wonder where your twenties went. Time seems to pass quickly and you need to think carefully about the direction that you want to go in life.
What is the type of life that you have in mind for yourself? Do you want to help others? Do you want to retire early? Do you want to become a famous lawyer / doctor / scientist? What are the steps that you need to take to become such a person?
Without any clear goals of what you want, you'll probably just end up getting that: no clear results. There are many books that recommend setting goals and this has been proven to be an effective way of getting what you want. It seems so trivial but you must first know what you want before you can actually start working towards that goal.
10. Decide now not to become a workaholic :-)
There's more in life than work so try not to become a workaholic in the years ahead. Sure, if you're passionate about what you do then working hard is not so bad. But at the end of the day, life is about balance.
In many professions you can work your way up and you can have a great career but you might realize too late that you have been missing out on other things. You can work hard and you can play hard but the latter is sometimes forgotten.