Graduation: the end of an era?

Graduation is the final “uni party” that you get to go to as a student; a very different party, one where your friends and family all join in to celebrate the fact that you survived the last few years of your life in which you faced a lot of studying, essays, presentations, deadlines, working, laughing, crying, homesickness, some more deadlines and studying. Somehow you managed to go through all of this and still look as human as possible – you have every right to be excited!

However, graduation also marks the end of your “endless” free time, lie-ins, late nights and lazy days when there’s nothing for you to do but eat, sleep relax and repeat. While you’re enjoying this time of celebration you still need to remind yourself that real life is knocking on your door and there’s not much you can do to escape it. You need a plan and even though you think it all goes downhill from here, let me just put that straight. There are loads of options for you and graduation does not have to be the end of an era; it can be the beginning of a new chapter in your life.

1. Get a Job

I know what you’re thinking “Same old, same old” but unless you win the lottery or happen to stumble across a very juicy inheritance then you have to get a job. However, as the old saying goes, if you find a job that you love then you’ll never work a day in your life, and if you go about it in the right manner, then you might just find such a job. It does sound cliché indeed, but just give it a try. Remember to arm yourself with a lot of will and perseverance though as it won’t be easy. I’m not going to sugar coat it for you: it’s tough out there. But don’t lose your confidence; you’ve got a degree and a lot of transferable skills. Narrow down your options by your degree, or even just your interests and use this useful little search tool called Google. Chances are that companies are advertising over the internet. Your dream job is out there, you just need to look for it.


2. Go Travelling

It’s only normal that after such a busy period in your life you’d like to do something for yourself. We’ve all developed wanderlust at some point in our lives, and what better way for you to treat yourself than with a three-month, six-month or a year-long trip. Someone once said that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you rich and I couldn’t agree more. You don’t have to worry about family and friends; it’s just you and your thoughts. Also, you get to learn so much about different cultures, broaden your horizons and see what the world has got to offer. You can even work while traveling – not everyone has the money required to travel around the world, so an option is always to make the money while you’re doing it. The jobs might be a bit out of your comfort zone, for example you could end up banana farming – yes, it’s a real job! – but what it’ll provide you with is a great experience and the money to further it.


3. Start your own Business

Most employers are looking for graduates with experience; this obviously puts you in a vicious circle – you can’t get a job due to lack of experience but you also can’t get experience due to lack of a job. What to do? Start your own business! Again, I’m not going to sugar coat it for you: this involves a huge amount of knowledge, work, discipline, sleepless nights and perseverance; it will all be worth it for all the invaluable experience and connections gained. Our little friend Google comes into discussion once again: there is a wide variety of online business tools that teach you how to start-up your own business as well as many networking websites where you can get a lot of support and advice from connections from all over the globe. You do need an idea though but it doesn’t have to be something boring – I know someone who opened their own doughnut shop in Lithuania and are very successful!

 4. Graduate Again

If you’re one of those people who cannot say goodbye to student life, the obvious option for you is to just go on and apply for a postgraduate course. This will not only educate you further but also add a few more letters after your name 🙂 Jokes apart, going for a postgraduate degree will enhance your employability as you will become more knowledgeable about your chosen field of study as well as improving your set of transferable skills. Moreover, you might even gain work experience as some postgraduate courses require a placement of either three, six or twelve months. As with all the other options, returning to study will take a lot of hard work, more studying, more classes, more deadlines – but what it will do is put you in a great position for coming out at the other end, and hopefully by that time you’ll know exactly what you want to do.