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Congrats on Graduating! Now What?

Congrats on Graduating! Now What?

Graduation has come and gone — now what?

Congratulations to all graduates, as you take a sigh of relief and celebrate your great accomplishments. Whether you are graduating high school or college, your next few steps will be some of the most life-changing and memorable ever. Emotions fly high during this time, so it’s important for you to be prepared and ready for the new adventures life has in store. Here are a few tips to get ahead as you tackle new beginnings . . .

High School Graduates:

  • Summer Jobs: When going to college, expenses can add up for things like textbooks, a laptop, housing, etc. Because of this, many students have to get work-study jobs, on-campus jobs, or even off-campus jobs to fund these expenses. You can get ahead by getting a summer job before the semester starts. Saving the money from your summer job will allow you to be ahead of the curve when those expenses come about, once the semester starts. 

  • Get Involved: Getting involved on campus is one of the most highly recommended ideas for college students. Joining clubs and organizations on campus are a great way to network and build long-lasting relationships. In fact, some studies show that campus involvement correlates with academic performance and well-being. 

  • Utilize Campus Services: Many universities offer services to their students that many students are unaware of. Some of these services may include counseling, tutoring, building a resume, career services, and even food and essential services. Look into your university’s website and departments to find out what services they offer for their students. 

  • Time Management: Adjusting to college life may not be easy for everyone. Having a calendar or agenda is a great way to manage your time efficiently. Scheduling times to study, or for your hobbies, create a balance in your day-to-day life as a student. 

  • Have fun: Sometimes big adjustments can be overwhelming. Course loads can become a bit much. Professors can be hard to contact or connect with. Jobs can become somewhat overbearing. Remember to have fun and enjoy yourself — take a backpacking or camping trip, reward yourself with a solo trip or last-hurrah with friends or save for the things you really want next year, like housing, transportation or lifestyle desires.

College Graduates:

  • Don’t Stress the Unknown: Many people stress about the unknown or uncertainties of post-graduation. It is complete okay and normal to not have everything figured out. Trust your process and enjoy your accomplishments.

  • Budgeting on a Shoestring: After college is the time when “adulting” becomes really real. Figure out what debts you’d like to whittle down, or savings you’d like to build up, and stick to it. Allow yourself little lifestyle changes as a reward, but figure out the most practical areas for you to tighten strings, whether it be evaluating your social life, memberships, or dining and travel habits.

  • Spread Your Wings: Now that undergrad is over, don’t be afraid to chase your dreams and live the life you aspire to live. Go for that career you always wanted. Apply for your dream jobs in dream places first, and then work your way down to the more local and more practical ones. Visit that city or country you’ve dreamed about visiting. Take the risk to become who you want to be. 

  • Shape Your Future: Continue to strive for greatness within yourself. Whether it’s within the next few months, or next for years, write down goals that you want to achieve in the future. These can be career goals, fitness goals, big purchases, and more. It starts with establishing them and setting yourself up for success. 

  • Sketch out The Future: Making a “5-year-plan” sounds more daunting than it should be. If you have any idea of the basics of how you’d like to spend your time, where you’d like to live and what lifestyle you want to live — just write it down to help you see the possibilities. There are no impediments to the hypothetical and no limitations to your dreams.

  • Embrace Opportunity: You may not get the exact opportunity you desired right out of undergrad. That is completely okay. Embrace every opportunity that comes your way. Make the best of your situation because it may be the key to open the doors you were looking for. 

Whether you are a high-school or collegiate graduate, or still in school, these tips can be applied to you and possibly help you through upcoming situations. Things may not always go as planned — the one constant in life is change — but it's important to stay the course and things may fall into place. Go forth and prosper!

For more post-grad tips, view TED's list here.