Graduation, What now?

Coming to terms with graduating from college is by far of the scariest thought. It may not seem real until it is time to pick up your cap and gown from the school store or even when they call your name to actually walk across that stage.

On graduation day, students will share their favorite memories from the past four (or five) years, including meeting their first roommate or the first time celebrating the end of final exams with their best of friends. Prestigious students will give their speeches and the Dean will give his final address. 2015 Frostburg graduate, Samantha King says, “Listening to those speeches and thinking about those memories, I was completely preoccupied with two terrifying revelations: this was the last time I was going to be sitting in this gymnasium as a Frostburg student, and, in a few minutes, I would graduate from college. So, what do I do now?”

Most graduates are left with multiple options. Some have the opportunity to stay in their college towns and work for the summer, some have already applied for graduate school, and others relocate for entry-level positions. However, many college graduates move back home.

According to the New York Post, almost half of upcoming college graduates are expected to move home and be supported by their families for up to two years after graduation. However, a majority are expected to have full-time jobs, but will just need some time to get back on their feet.

Whatever the situation may be, it is important to make the most out of those first few months after graduation.

Here are some helpful tips on what to do:

  1. Take advantage of Alumni.

Without a doubt, Frostburg State University is a small school, but a strong one at that. It may not have the worlds largest alumni network, but it does have one that needs to be taken full advantage of. Do not be afraid to reach out to successful alumni working in a field that is interesting to you. When doing so, don’t directly ask alumni to help you find a job. Instead, ask them to share their story. Ask them what steps they took to become successful. Social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn are extremely popular for alumni connections.

  1. Don’t get discouraged too fast.

Submitting dozens of cover letters and resumes without receiving a response is normal. Try to remember, even the most accomplished professionals had to start from somewhere.

  1. Consider graduate school.

Considering it doesn’t mean it has to be done. If graduate school is something that does become certain, study for the GMAT exams (if you haven’t started already) while looking for a job. It is good to take these tests while study habits are still fresh in your mind.

  1. Consider Internships

Taking an unpaid internship may not be your first choice, but it is an option. When taking an internship, you have to make sure that it is worth your time. Interning can include relocation, which can be expensive. Make sure to be mindful of the questions you are asking your interviewer regarding any training or mentorship you’ll receive during the internship. Questions are key; the only way to get an answer is by asking.

     5.  Ask for challenging assignments.

In the case that you do receive a full-time job, ask for more intellectually stimulating tasks if you feel the work you are assigned is too simple. Your boss or supervisor will most likely be impressed with your enthusiasm and could award you with trust on more time consuming and prestigious projects. However, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Just because your tasks right now are easy doesn’t mean the next step up won’t be hard. Make sure that you can handle exactly what you are asking for.

  1. Figure out what you don’t want to do.

Here is where internships come in especially handy. Oftentimes, internships or first jobs give graduates an opportunity to recognize when a career is just not for them. It is important to not completely forget about a career just because the first week wasn’t what you wanted, but you might decide this after a few months. Trust your intuition, and find what you love.

  1. Teach yourself new skills.

You find a job as an editorial assistant at the magazine you have always dreamed of working for, and one of the most sought after qualifications is someone who is proficient in Photoshop. Unfortunately, you do not have this skill. Teach yourself to use it or take a class: maybe even buy a book. Just because you didn’t learn it in your undergraduate education doesn’t mean you won’t be able to learn it ever.

  1. Stop obsessing.

Obsessing over postgraduate plans can ruin so many things, including friendships, which at this point are vital. Inevitably you will talk about your job search with your friends. However, constantly discussing career anxieties can put uneasiness among you and your friends and will put strains on your relationships.

  1. Enjoy the uncertainty

RELAX, try a new hobby or do some traveling. It is okay not to know what is going to happen next. Fortunately, there is no script to life, so live it, love it and learn from it.

Graduates, in the words of Natasha Beddingfield: “The rest is still unwritten.” So, make sure to choose a good pen.

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