Published Sept 25, 2020
When you were at school, you probably have planned out your life. You’ll graduate from college, land a stable job, get married, have kids and you’ll be settled for life. Unfortunately, life is much less straightforward.
Truth is, graduating from college isn’t the end of your struggles. It’s just the beginning. And the first few months after your college graduation is one of the most confusing times in your life.
Now that you’ve got your degree, your career options have significantly widened. This onslaught of choices can bring about confusion, uncertainty, and even fear. Some lucky ones may have long figured out what to do after college. So trekking this uncertain road is a no-brainer. But for the majority of us, the big question is “what now?”
Should you apply for a job? Take a gap year? Where will you live? What do you really want to do in life?
Most of us don’t really have a ready answer to these questions, and that’s okay. You are young after all. If there’s one thing you have, it’s time. You don’t have to decide right now what you want to do for the rest of your life. Some people found their passion in their 20’s while others still haven’t figured out life even in their 60’s and that’s fine. Each of us moves at our own pace.
So if you still haven’t figured out what to do after college, here are some things you can try:
1. Move to a New Place
Graduating from college is turning a new leaf on the proverbial book. You cease being a student and is now starting a new phase in your life: that of a productive member of society.
But most of the time, we can only truly start a new life if we are in a different place. Besides, opportunities in your home town can be rather limited. So moving to a new city or state after college graduation might be better for you.
2. Stay With Your Parents
Though its pretty common for new graduates to move back home, there’s still some stigma attached to it. But if you really think about it, staying at your parents’ home during this time is more practical. As long as you’re not planning to stay there forever, of course. This allows you to have more time to explore your options since you won’t be burdened with rent.
One of the most common options for people freshly out of college is taking up volunteer work. You can volunteer for your local charity or look for opportunities abroad. Many NGOs around the world are always in need of an extra pair of hands. If you’re volunteering abroad, make sure that it’s a legit organization. After all, you don’t want to go volunteering only to end up getting scammed and stuck in a country where you don’t know anyone.
4. Teach Abroad
Aside from volunteering, one of the things a lot of people do on their gap year is to teach abroad. There’s a teaching opportunity for basically any subject. But the most popular right now, particularly in some Asian countries, is teaching English. It’s an excellent choice if you want to explore a new country and culture while figuring out what you want to do long-term.
5. Build Your Network
Whether you’re planning to apply for a job or start your own business after college, it pays to build your network. Use this time to meet people and build connections. You can attend seminars or symposiums related to your industry. Or join basically any activities or clubs that will help you meet the right people.
6. Find an Apprenticeship Opportunity
Apprenticeship not only helps you further your skills. It can also boost your resume. So while you’re still not sure about what to do after college, use this time to do an apprenticeship. Most industry experts are usually willing to take in an apprentice. Who knows, this might even be your ticket to your dream job.
7. Pursue Graduate School
Another popular option for people in a post-college limbo is pursuing graduate school. While this is a good option, don’t do it if you’re not sure about completing it. Remember that graduate school requires commitment and sometimes it’s more demanding than college. So before submitting that enrollment form, make sure you understand what you’re getting into.
8. Learn New Skills
If you’re still not sure about what career path to take, maybe its high time to update your repertoire of skills. If you think you’ve got a future in cooking or baking, go enroll in one. Or if you’re dreaming of going to Hollywood someday, take an acting class. Sometimes, we can only find our passion when we go out of our comfort zone.
9. Start Your Own Business
Not all of us are cut-out for the nine-to-five grind. If you want to be your own boss, starting your business after college is a great way to go.
You don’t have to start big. Remember, Steve Jobs started one of the biggest tech companies in his parents’ garage. If renting a full office space is way out of your budget, you can also opt for co-working spaces. You not only get to pursue your passion, but you won’t also have to worry about being shouted at by your boss. Plus now, you have a degree to fall back to if things go south.
10. Consider Freelance/Seasonal Work
If you’re looking for some side income while keeping your options open, freelance and seasonal jobs are perfect for you.
Thanks to technology, there are now a lot of online jobs you can do as a freelancer. You can make money out of practically any skills you have. Not to mention that it can also boost your resume.
11. Apply for Jobs
This is one of the most obvious paths for people who just graduated from college, especially if they’ve got student debts to pay. But don’t be pressured to look for a job if you’re still not sure about which career path to take. Chances are you’ll end up in a job you hate which, in turn, can affect your relationships with other people and even take a toll on your mental health.