st. Patrick's cathedral

10 Things To Do After Graduation

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

The beautiful, and possibly terrifying thing about graduation is that you have choices. A lot of choices. Never before have you had such freedom (no one told you freedom would feel so…overwhelming). If you’re a little lost, drifting in all possibilities, here are ten things you can do right now.

  1. Write your Wikipedia page. What would you want it to say ten years from now? Twenty? Forty? Allow yourself to get a little carried away. Maybe you’ll be able to see, knowing that no one else will ever see it, what you truly want out of your life. What you want, not what others want for you. There is a difference.
  2. Why do you keep going? What motivates you to get up in the morning? Finding out why you do the things you do could be important in understanding what you want out of your life, and also how you might go about getting it.
  3. Set goals and find your quests. Use “SMART” as a template for goal-setting: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Results-focused, Time-bound goals that you evaluate and revise frequently. Now that you have an idea of what you might want and why you want it, you can set small goals to start taking you in a direction you’re okay with testing out. For long-term goals, create quests, which are just bigger goals with more steps. Maybe you want to visit every country in Europe before you’re 30 – that’s a quest.

    champlain college graduation

    Photo by Stephen Mease

  4. Find a mentor. The people you are closest to are the people you model yourself after. Ideally, you want one of your models to be someone who does something you want to do, or someone who is the kind of person you want to be. From a mentor you can find opportunities and advice that not only open doors, but lead you down paths you didn’t expect. And often these unexpected paths are the ones we end up loving.
  5. Find your crew. Collaboration allows you to grow beyond yourself. You can take on another’s lessons without having learned them for yourself. Find two – five people with similar ambitions as you to talk with every week about life, career, and the struggles therein. These are the people who help you go on when you aren’t sure you can.
  6. Create a visual. Remember that Wikipedia page you wrote? In a similar way, create a visual of words and pictures that sum up where you want to be. What values do you want to have? What goals do you want to have accomplished? Hang this up on your wall and refer to it often.
  7. Remember: money is something. Purpose, a deep-seated reason and will to do something for the love of it, is everything. Live for your purpose, not for your paycheck.
  8. Create something other than a resume. It’s great if you had four internships in college and had a stellar GPA (seriously, it’s great). But what about you? What about the person behind these words on a resume? What you do, the things you create and the results you yield are much more telling than anything you’d put on a resume. Don’t live to build a killer resume. Live to build an incredible legacy, a story that lasts far longer than the ten seconds someone spends reading your resume.
  9. Share your bucket list. Write down things you want to do before you die and share it with someone else who will help hold you accountable. Twenty years down the road, you’ll stumble upon this list and see how much things have changed, how much you have grown. Maybe you’ll still want to do the things on your bucket list or perhaps not, but it will serve as a guidepost for where you right now, and a marker of progress for you later.
  10. Build habits. Find a routine that works for you. Find ways to feel fulfilled in your life, no matter what is happening day to day. Build habits of someone who is adaptable and changeable and you will go much further in life than someone who does not have these skills. Now is the time to quit procrastinating. Build the habits of the person you want to be and you will be the person you want to be.

These are only ten choices, ten actionable steps you can take to try and find your direction in the avalanche of freedom that comes after graduation. Make one choice or don’t. Take steps forward or don’t. That is the beauty and crux of your freedom.

Sources: Huff Post