Don’t stress: Finding direction post-graduation

Jimmy Lai/HIGHLANDER

At the end of every journey lies a new beginning. For undergrad students, this journey will unfold in a plethora of ways. Some will dive right into the corporate world, while others will pursue a post-secondary education at a graduate school. And others will take a gap year to reflect and decompress after all of the arduous work that a bachelor’s degree commands. Regardless of your path, there should always be a tentative plan in mind to help direct your future in the best possible way.

Everyone always asks fellow graduates what their plans are post-graduation. And as tempting as it is to provide inquiring minds with a full itinerary for the next few years of your life, it will most likely not be that simple. The best part about conjuring up tentative plans is that you can consciously leave gaps in there for changes and redirection.

If you are unsure of what to do as these last few weeks creep up, remember that it’s okay to be lost. Sometimes we need to feel lost in order to find ourselves and realize our true trajectory in life. So instead of throwing a frenzy over watching your friends move on with their lives, take agency over your own and be cognizant of the fact that everyone progresses at varying paces. Just because your colleague is ready to embark on two more years of education right after obtaining a bachelor’s doesn’t mean you are as well. And just because someone you know nabs a job right after college doesn’t mean you should rush into the first opening you see. Having a degree is only half the battle. And in order to prepare for the next stage, you need to take a breath and gauge what will be most comfortable for you. Never let someone convince you not to take a break if it’s for your own mental well-being or peace of mind. But while you’re in that space, weigh your options and research to make sure that you’re taking active steps to ensure the future you want for yourself.

Another important thing to remember after graduating is that we have our whole lives ahead of us. Some people will peak in their early 20’s while others won’t peak until their 30’s and so on. Everybody hits their stride at different points. Many of us will hear many more “no’”s than “yes’”s. But all of the failure and misdirection will only equip us with the experience to nail what we finally deserve when the time comes. Trusting in the process and prepping for periods of inactivity will help you come to terms with the flow of time.

Many college students forget that there are precious resources on campus that they can access. For people having trouble with getting a good grasp on their future, the career center on campus boasts a wealth of information and guidance counselors that can alleviate any fears you may have. Additionally, there are computers that allow you to log in and take aptitude and assessment tests to match you to potential careers.

Life is full of mystery. And the road after graduation will be a mixed bag of delight, terror, and discovery. But as many will attest to, there’s beauty in the struggle. There are people and resources around you that will be more than happy to give you a helping hand. Many generations have gotten out of college and made a prosperous life for themselves. With that being said, there’s no reason why it should be any different for our generation.

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