Are you one of those people who know exactly what they want to do in their life? Are you one of those who has it all figured out? Or are you just like me, one of those who is scared to think about what happens after graduation, who love the moment and get panic attacks when a five-year plan has to be done?
There is no doubt that our graduation ceremony signifies the end of an era and the start of something exciting and new. However, whereas some students know exactly where to head after graduation, some of you will ask yourselves "what next?" And maybe you're scared to not fit in; scared to miss an opportunity; scared to make wrong decisions. Or simply scared to start aiming somewhere? This article is for you: for those who are scared, for those who are clueless and for those little runaways, who imagine that ignoring this topic will make it go away.
First, let me tell you that your life does not have to be a straight, clear street. Don't get me wrong; those lives are good, too. Today, however, you don't need to stick with your first job choice for the next 40 years. Don't be scared to do the first step! Maybe your life is rather a zigzag, and you're like Tarzan jumping from vine to vine, swiveling right and left, but definitely getting forward, waiting for the next liana to appear. So, let's take a look at some of your post-university options!
1. Get a graduate job
This is probably the road that the majority of new graduates will take. In order to find out the precise career, you want to pursue, sit down, take a moment and find out what you actually can do with your degree. The next step is inevitable: you need to put yourself out there in the real world. Take an internship, attend networking events, work a part-time job. You will be noticed and you'll gain experience, which will help you decide which job to choose. And remember: be open-minded, your first job does not tie you to a specific career forever.
2. Pursue a postgraduate degree
Are you interested in studying more deeply a particular aspect of your undergraduate studies? Then you might consider returning to university for postgraduate study. A Master's degree can boost your CV and give you better job opportunities in certain areas. Be sure, though, that this is really something you actually want to do and that it will be useful for whatever you consider doing afterward.
3. Take a gap year
More and more students decide to travel the world for a year, contemplating their options and figuring out where their professional interests lie. Maybe you are one of them? Back-packing in different countries allows you to gain life experience, to learn languages and cultures, and to meet new people and their working lives. Traveling in a mature, organized and self-sufficient way also makes you a much more interesting candidate for a future job interview!
4. Start your own business
Do you have a great business idea and are interested in a more independent and autonomous work life? Perhaps you should think about founding your own company! Check if your university will support you in doing so! Don't forget, though, that together with the freedom and flexibility of self-employment come also a great responsibility and a blurry line between work and home.
Probably there are a lot more options for you to consider and the ones above only the most chosen ones. In order to find out which one is your 'liana' to take next, you have to sit down and consider every aspect of those options. Me, I am taking a mixture of gap year and study/work as I chose to come to the United States for two semesters.
Now, my time at Illinois State University comes slowly to an end which means that this is the moment for me to sit down and think about the next liana myself. Who is joining me?