10 Things To Do Immediately After Graduating From College
These suggestions will help to make your post-grad life a little easier.
May 30, 2019 at 11:11 pm
Graduation season is underway. Throughout May, college students from across the country have not surprisingly flooded their social media timelines with awe-inspiring captions and equally jaw-dropping graduation pictures. However, after the celebration ends, the struggles associated with life after college — like searching for employment and even depression — and can leave recent graduates feeling stuck and alone. While many college graduates are faced with these obstacles, trust and believe that there are ways to overcome them. Here’s a list of things to do immediately after walking across the stage that can alleviate the pressure of some common post-graduate stressors.
1. Take Some Time For Yourself
Being out of school will take some time to get used to. After being a student for most of your life, adjusting to being away from your campus routine and college friends can be difficult, but that’s OK. It’s important to use the extra time you have after graduating to discover yourself and what truly makes you happy. If you have the means, travel alone or with friends. Develop a workout routine if you want to get healthier. Start allotting time for the self-care you deserve, because you’ll slowly learn that adulting is hard.
2. Update Your LinkedIn
Although your job hunt should start before you actually graduate, the process becomes more intense after graduation, as former college students realize that bills wait for no one. A strong LinkedIn profile makes you more marketable to potential employers, thus setting aside time to update your LinkedIn profile is worth the effort. Update your graduation status, previous internships and special activities to show employers how you stand out from the rest.
3. Reach Out To Alumni From Your School
Another way to make post-grad life easier is to contact alumni from your school, especially those who share mutual career interests. You can reach out to alumni on social media or contact your school’s alumni center. In terms of getting a job, who you know is as important as what you know. Alumni who currently work in your dream industry could potentially increase the likelihood of you getting that interview.
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4. Properly Manage Your Student Loan Debt
According to Student Loan Hero, 69 percent of college students who graduated in 2018 had taken out loans. Thus, thoroughly celebrating graduation can be hard while also being aware that you have student debt waiting to be paid back (especially if a billionaire hasn’t guaranteed to pay off your loans, like the Morehouse Class of 2019). However, the Federal Student Aid website offers resources and suggestions to help you better understand your loans and know your repayment options, to ensure you pick a payment plan that works for you. Student loan debt can be overwhelming, but if you start making your payments early, you can save time and money.
Watching these @Morehouse grads talking abt how this gift of having their student loans paid off will transform their lives has me in tears. This young man was once homeless, took about $150 k in student loans — and now it’s wiped away. Don’t tell me black folks don’t value edu.— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) May 20, 2019
5. Make Some Time For Your 'Day Ones'
Being in college, especially if you attend a school that’s far from home, can potentially isolate you from family and the friends you grew up with. Sometimes college classmates can feel closer to you than your relatives — which isn’t a bad thing. However, it’s also crucial to consider revisiting the relationships you forged with those who were there at the beginning of your journey. There’s no better time to rebuild old, healthy relationships than after graduation because you have more time to focus on the things and people who are important.
6. Check On Your College Friends
People do not talk enough about the depression and loneliness that’s often associated with post-graduation life. The disconnect from college friends and the struggle to start a career can factor into this depression.
"Although it’s not an official diagnosis, 'post-graduation depression' is commonly used to describe the extreme sadness and impaired functioning that recent grads report after they leave behind the world they created in college," Washington Post reports. Additionally, according to statistics reported by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 75 percent of all mental health conditions begin around age 24, which isn’t so far removed from the age a majority of college students are when they graduate. That said, it’s good to occasionally check on your college friends and see how they’re doing.
It’s graduation season so celebrate with your friends and loved ones— 💐🍃Alex🌺🌻 (@Alexandra_Pec) May 19, 2019
but remember post graduation depression and isolation is a real thing so check on your friends in a few weeks and months.
7. Plan For And Prioritize Important Tasks
Adulting is difficult, but that doesn’t mean you have to confront the struggles of adulting without properly planning for it. You’ll quickly learn that your credit score determines your eligibility for renting an apartment and buying a car, so it’s important to start building your credit by paying your bills on time. Additionally, budgeting and ensuring you get regular checkups at the doctor are ways you can start getting a handle on being grown.
8. If You Must Move Back Home, Have An Exit Strategy Plan
Moving back into your parents’ home after graduation is a common reality for most college students. In fact, a study by Pew Research found that in 2014 more people between the ages of 18 and 34 were living at home with one or both parents, as opposed to with a roommate or romantic partner, for the first time in over a century. Retreating back home doesn’t have to be the narrative for all college graduates, but getting your own space and being able to afford moving costs as well as rent is a huge investment many often underestimate. If you need more time to figure out how to take the necessary steps to achieve living on your own, like saving money and building up your credit, moving home might be a good idea, but make sure to set a firm move-out deadline you intend to stick to.
9. Consider Going Back To School
Truly understanding the career you want is an integral aspect of becoming an adult. Some college graduates realize that they weren’t studying for their desired job field while still in college. As a result, they choose to return to the classroom. Also, new degree holders might realize they need more skills to get a high-paying job, so attend graduate school to further their education. Either way, enrolling in extended learning courses or applying to grad school is not a bad idea.
10. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Life is hard and social media can make it more difficult when others online are posting themselves in job positions that you want to be in. There will be people on Instagram or Twitter who may appear to have achieved instant success after graduation, but realize that isn’t everyone’s story. Know that what people post online is a snapshot of reality, not a complete picture and the person you are envying might be grappling with their own set of challenges. Learn to be content with not having everything together, but trust the process and keep working toward your goals. In the end, your persistence will ultimately make a difference and be all that matters.
While graduating from college isn’t an easy achievement to come by, adjusting to adulthood can be even harder to master. However, surrounding yourself with people you love, handling your business and learning more about what makes you happy can function as the groundwork for a smooth transition.