First things first, CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who recently graduated! The class of 2023 is now moving on to the next chapter of their lives and I could not be any happier for them (partially because I am a part of this wonderful graduating class). Not only does walking across that stage represent the completion of your studies, it means so much more to a student. This moment in your life reflects the countless hours of hard work you put in to get to this point. I hope you fellow graduates rep your diploma with pride, you earned it!
After years of long study periods, complex assignments, and strenuous exams, there is one big question that is on every grad’s mind:
Now that the academic challenges are over (unless you are pursuing further education), there is a new endeavor to face. And that endeavor…is life.
Today, we are going to talk about how to identify and pursue the life you want after graduation.
Life After Graduation
The beautiful thing about life is that we each have a unique experience. We can do various things and have whatever kinds of adventures we want. So, life after graduation can be whatever you are willing to make of it. Many students want to go straight into a career field, some pursue further education, and some change their minds and seek other ventures, such as entrepreneurship or travelling the world.
The life you seek is one that you must create yourself. It can be challenging to do so with so many options out there for fresh graduates. I have struggled to find my path. During my journey, I discovered some useful tips on pursuing your ideal lifestyle. Here are 3 things you can try:
1. Life Planning
When it comes down to pursuing the life you want, there is nothing better than creating a solid plan to guide you there. A plan is like a blueprint for the design of a house. You have to understand how the structure will look on the inside and out before grabbing the tools and starting to build. Some people have the instinct to wing everything. That may work sometimes, but you are better off making a plan of action to have more control over what could happen.
Remember, this is your future we are talking about.
The benefits that come from planning are endless. Studies show that life planning has a positive effect on people’s lives. These positive effects include higher life satisfaction, a clearer sense of direction, and an increase in positive beliefs about the future.
A life plan allows you to take control of your life and mold it into what you want. This is because you can see your goals, desires, interests, strengths, and dreams all on paper instead of in your mind. You can write out your passions and establish a strategy to fulfill those passions. You can even write out what you want your ideal life to look like in about 5 to 10 years.
For example, I would only talk about being a self-improvement content creator and never act. I was nervous about making videos and did not know where to start, because I did not have a clear-cut plan to look at. I recently started writing out my missions and accomplishing them one by one. It gets easier to complete goals when they are visible to you. Now, I have a small but still growing YouTube channel where I motivate and inspire other young people to find their life purpose.
Check out my channel for valuable life advice and motivation! This was all possible because I started planning out how I wanted my life to go and my actions followed.
You can do the unthinkable if you put it in a thinkable perspective!
Life plans sound great but can be hard to make. This is because, like me, people may be confused about where to start. The best place to start with a life plan is the present moment.
Ask yourself a couple of questions:
"What am I doing in my life right now?"
"What do I want to change about my life this year?"
Start by writing out some current goals and aspirations. This will give you a starting point and clarify what it is you want in life. You can split your life plan into multiple parts to analyze the numerous aspects of your life. If you would like a more in-depth explanation of how to create an exceptional life plan, visit my other article: The Importance of Life Planning as a Student and Where to Start.
2. Reconnect With Friends
This is an underrated method for pursuing the kind of life you want after school. You can utilize the friend group you graduated with or maybe hit up some older friends you made in the past. This can give you a support group of people who are probably in the same boat as you. Reconnecting with friends is something that students tend to overlook, especially in a world where genuine connection is becoming scarce.
Friendships are helpful for a few reasons:
There are so many stories of successful business people making friends in school and working with them to produce something that benefits the world. It is a lot easier to make something happen when you are surrounded by people who want the same results as you. Friends can make excellent business partners when they cooperate and have a shared goal in mind.
New Perspectives and Motivation
Friends can challenge your beliefs and help you see the world from another lens. They can also be great accountability partners to keep you on track and aligned with your purpose. I cannot tell you how many times my friends motivated me when they saw me slacking on something I cared about.
I have done the same for them, and having mutual motivation is an amazing feeling.
Some students want to move out with their friends because they yearn for independence but do not want to break the bank to get an apartment. Having friends as roommates does cut down many of your expenses for items that can be shared (which is helpful in these times). This gives you a chance to live on your own and save some money that you can use to fuel your passions.
If you can, try to reach out to some people from school and reconnect. You never know what doors you will open!
3. Practice Skills You Learned In School
In the years you have spent studying in your select field, you have acquired certain skills to make you better in that field. Some of those skills you gained subconsciously and some you deliberately practiced. Focus on those skills and use them to propel you into the life you want.
This is a time when you can play to your strengths. Maybe revisit some of the college books you purchased to brush up on knowledge or spend time researching on your own. Use this time after graduation to enhance any experience you have in your ideal career.
This can be in the form of internships, self-study, apprenticeships, online programs, etc. Write down some things you are good at and find ways to practice new techniques that can give you an advantage over everyone else.
You can even pick up old fun skills or interests from back in school to find new hobbies, or rekindle previous ones to see if they will work for you again. All of this can aid in your mission to find or create the life you want.
What Life Do You Want to Pursue?
If there is one thing you take away from this article, let it be this: your life is yours to live. This is the start of a new branch on your tree of life. Water this tree with the passion you have developed from the time you were in school. Be proud of what you have accomplished, and what you will accomplish as life goes on.
Even though the choices are endless, so are the resources to help you make good choices. Your lifestyle should maximize your potential and provide purpose for you. Things like life plans, friend groups, and revisiting past skills can help you with that.
Allow yourself to feel the greatness of what is to come. If you cannot see something that you want, create it.
Good luck with your endeavors, graduates!
So, what's next for YOU?
Head to the comments below to share a goal that you are working towards! 💬👇🏼
Yuliawati, L., & Ardyan, E. (2020). The role of Life Planning in finding purpose and living out one’s career calling among Indonesian emerging adults. Journal of Career Development, 49(3), 538–550. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894845320950834
Written By: Avion Howard
You can also check out "A Day In The Life of a Grad" - our new series that was created in collaboration with Avion to dig deep into the journeys and perspectives of recent college/university grads, to help future grads find their way. 👇🏼 👇🏼 👇🏼