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10 Things To Do After You Graduate College: A Guide To Staying Sane
Congratulations! You've Graduated From College! ...Now What?
1. Take A Deep Breath
Sit down and take a nice deep breath. Congratulate yourself! You just graduated from college, and that is a huge accomplishment. This can be a very overwhelming and stressful time in your life. What are you supposed to do now? You're in for some big life changes, but I know you can do it. Just don't forget to breathe.
You've just completed two to four years of college, if not more. You deserve this break! You've worked your ass off for the past few years writing papers, studying for tests, and putting together projects. Now that you're moving onto the next stage of your life, you'll have a lot to do. However, don't be afraid to take some time off and relax. You have the rest of your life to worry about being busy; don't feel guilty if you don't jump into adulthood right away!
3. Discover Yourself
Spend some time alone. You've probably just moved out of a dorm room or an apartment building. You may have had a roommate, or you may have had to share the kitchen or bathroom with a group of people. Whether you're moving back home or into a place of your own, take some time to rediscover yourself. Chances are you're not the same person you were a few years ago when you started college. You have different hopes, dreams, and desires. With all of the new steps you are going to take soon, re-evaluate what you really want to do with your life. Make a bucket list, and start working on it! You won't be able to figure out where to start next if you don't know who you really are.
4. Explore New Opportunities
You've more than likely moved out of your college and back to your hometown. If you commuted to school, you finally don't have to worry about spending all of your gas driving back and forth to and from campus. Go explore the nearest park or hiking trail. Take a road trip with your old high school friends to reconnect. Volunteer for that charity work that you've always wanted to do but never had time for. Enjoy yourself, and all of the new opportunities that lay ahead of you!
5. Find A Hobby
Don't be afraid to try new things! You're so used to managing your time. You've been scheduling classes, doing homework, working side jobs or internships, making time for group projects, attending club meetings, hanging out with your roommates. You've been so busy for the past few years. Now you're home, and you suddenly don't have to worry about all of that. What are you going to do with yourself? Find a new hobby. Take up scrap-booking, walk around with your camera and practice photography skills, learn how to play the instrument you've always dreamed of. Just because you've graduated college doesn't mean you can't stay enthusiastic and spontaneous. This is the time of your life when that should be one of your main goals. Take advantage of your new found time and use it wisely. Don't spend your weeks lying on the couch watching movies. Get out into the sunshine and live!
6. Build Your Resume
Now that you've graduated college you either have to apply for grad schools or start looking for jobs. Get the most out of your degree! Make a list of assets and skills that you've gained throughout your college courses or internships. List the new things that you've learned and what you've learned that you're amazing at. You should be your biggest fan, so make yourself look good! List any of those accomplishments such as honors or awards that you've acquired. Check out your old college website to see if they have a department or specific teacher that works with career links. You could also reach out to your old favorite teacher or your adviser. They would most likely be glad to help you build your resume. Your success is important to them!
7. Apply, Apply, Apply
Apply EVERYWHERE. Go on local job search engines or check out the listings in your newspaper. Ask friends and family to keep an eye out for openings. You will see a lot of job titles that are looking for applicants with two to four years of experience. Even if you do not have this, apply anyway! There's a good chance that some of your skills or assets will catch employers eyes, or maybe your references will give a good enough word to get you in. Don't worry about rejection. Apply to each and every job that you see open. Worst case scenario, you don't get hired. However, you could end up with a dream job! You'll never know if you don't try.
8. Stay Determined
Do not take rejection personally. There may be people better fit for the position that you've applied for, but this doesn't make you any less wonderful. You're still great at what you do, and you've still worked so hard for that degree. Someone will notice your potential and give you a chance to get your foot in the door. This may not happen overnight. Never give up, and never settle for less than you know you deserve. You have have to start out small, and work your way up in the professional world. That's okay! Everyone has to start somewhere. Just imagine the great things your future holds and let the determination guide your way.
9. Stay Connected
Stay in touch with your college friends. They could be there forever! They've graduated at the same time as you, or they are about to. You have a built in support system. In each friend holds someone who knows exactly what you're going through. You can complain about new jobs or rejections together, and reminisce about all of the great times you've had in college. You can plan trips or vacations together for visits, and you'll always have someone there for you. Also, stay in touch with your college professors! They're wise, and believe it or not they've been in your position before. They're always glad to see a familiar face pop up in their office or inbox and they'd love to give you advice. Whether you know it or not, professors love hearing updates about your new life. They've worked so hard to shape you into the graduate that you've become, and they'd be the first people to celebrate your successes. Professors are also excellent references. They can write you admission letters or be listed as professional references for job interviews. Choose professors that you had a good relationship with, and that you know you worked hard for. Just because you've moved on from college doesn't mean you have to forget about the people who got you through it.
10. Be An Alumni
You've earned the right to call yourself an alumni of your college. However, this is more than wearing sweaters or putting a decal on your car. Stay connected with your school. They'll have job fairs, community activities, and get togethers that you'll be invited to. Take time out of your life and go once in a while. Seeing your old campus will always be refreshing, and it would be a good time to catch up with old friends or professors. Another excellent thing about alumni associations is the benefits that you get. Having that colleges name on your resume is wonderful. However, colleges typically offer alumni specials. Check your email and the college website frequently for these! For example, my old college has "PNC Nights", a night where you pay an extremely discounted price for a ticket to a Pittsburgh Pirate's baseball game and get additional benefits such as great seats and free food. They also have days where you can get all day park passes to certain amusement parks for more than half off. These are great opportunities to get away with friends and family and have some fun! You've graduated from college, you deserve it!