So You Graduated, Now What?

Although it’s considered to be one of life’s greatest moments, graduation can be extremely stressful. When the celebration starts winding down and all of your grad photos are up on the wall, that’s when reality sinks in:

“Well, I graduated. Now what?”

The following tips are intended to give you that reassuring guidance that only a big sister could offer a younger sibling. 

1. Dionysus: Opening the Gates of the World 

There’s life outside these walls, and graduating is the perfect excuse for you to get out of your comfort zone, break your routine and indulge in new experiences and adventures. If you can afford it, travel; if you can’t travel, travel still. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t even have to be far:  you can just go camping for a week with some friends in a nearby town. We tend to forget how big the world is – and how small our problems actually are. There’s something so grounding and comforting about staring into the distance or being in a completely different environment. Visit museums, slam poetry bars, medieval fairs, try out new restaurants and soak up these moments. The perspective that you gain from stepping out of your safe space once in a while is truly life changing. Remember that it takes an open mind to open up the world.  

2. Begin: Reconnecting with Yourself 

Who am I? What am I going to do with the rest of my life? These existential questions hit pretty hard once you have that diploma in your hand. I want you to understand that the first few months, or sometimes the first few years after graduating is a period of self-exploration and personal discovery. Nobody knows what they’re doing! Even people that have their career path lined up and ready to go, or #thatgirl on Instagram bragging about her perfect morning routine don’t have it all figured out. Post-graduation depression is real and affects most of us. Don’t be ashamed to seek professional help – even if just to receive a bit of guidance. 

3. Best of Me: Who am I? 

Graduation is commonly known to symbolize the transition into adulthood. So take this opportunity to invest in and create your personal brand. The good part about the unknown is the ability to start fresh, to reinvent yourself. This can be such a fun exercise that can help improve your confidence so don’t neglect the power of appearance.

Konmari your closet and only keep items that truly represent you and your style. Wear only what makes you happy – and select the items that project into to the world the message that you intend them to project. 

Schedule time for a long overdue digital declutter. Clean up your social media accounts, unsubscribe from those 30 random brands that keep sending you junk mail, and create an online presence that you feel comfortable showing to your future boss. 

Rethink your rituals and daily routines. Because you are in a transitional phase of your life, this is the ideal time to implement new habits that will benefit you in the long run. So choose them wisely – and take care of yourself!  

4. House of Cards: The Building Blocks of Success 

What are employers looking for? What does an ideal candidate look like to them? Coding, budgeting, diagnosing are examples of hard skills meaning teachable and measurable abilities. The proof that you know these is your degree. However, just by doing a quick google search – you can see that the top 5 most valuable, sought-after skills that will help you get hired are all soft skills like communication, teamwork, adaptability, and leadership.

Hard skills can get you to the interview, but soft skills help you get the job and excel at it. You need both.

As a grad student, you will quickly realize that soft skills are hard to prove on paper. That is why I encourage you to invest in leveling up by taking public speaking lesson, volunteering, joining a soccer team, or starting a small business – all of these give you the chance to practice and improve your soft skills. 

5. Young Forever: Do You Think You’re Alive? 

There will come a time in your life when you find yourself wondering if this is it. You wake up, go to work, come home, watch a few episodes of your favorite show, go to sleep and start all over again the next day. What’s the point? The point is, you need to find your purpose. And by that I mean you need to find a higher calling that will be the reason you wake up in the morning. I am not referring to wanting a million dollars, what I mean by this is how you want to be remembered – what mark do you want to leave on the world? What is your master plan? Aiming to ace your algebra final is no longer the end goal. It’s not that simple anymore. To find happiness, to be successful and to enjoy your journey you need to find your purpose, you need to find your cause. Animal rights, education, mental health awareness, or health & fitness promotion. What cause are you fighting for?