Life after graduation: ideas for post-college

Kris Stewart,
Online and Social Media Editor

If you’re a graduating senior, chances are that you’ve been bombarded with questions surrounding what you’ll do after graduation. While some may have their life planned out down to the colors of their wedding that will happen in two and half years at a winery in Napa in the middle of June, others have no clue as to what they’re going to do next. Aside from the traditional “get a job” mantra that looms over your head like a halo, here are a few other ideas to consider after the rented cap and gown has been returned and Cal State East Bay has stopped retweeting everything with the hashtag #Pioneers2015 across social media.

Celebrate. No, seriously, treat yo’ self. Reward yourself with a mini-celebration. Throw a party or a small hangout with the people who supported you throughout your journey. Do something that acknowledges the achievement you’ve just made and offers you a pat on the back.

Do Nothing. I know it sounds crazy but doing nothing could be just what you need once you escape the hustle and bustle of college life. You’ve spent the last four to five years consumed with assignments and tests, grinding to ensure your grades don’t drop below an acceptable average. Don’t you think it’s time you had a break? Allowing yourself a few weeks or even months to breathe will help you reboot and give your mind a clear space to think about your next move instead of jumping head first into a job that you may or may not really want.

Clean house. This is a great time for you to clean house both figuratively and literally. If you’re anything like me, during finals week housework gets neglected. Netflix looks better after you’ve gotten rid of the inches of dust mounted on top of your flat screen TV. That T-shirt you got for free at the last campus event — you don’t need that.

Organizing consultant, Marie Kondo offers great advice and suggests the best way to de-clutter is to take each item and ask yourself whether or not it sparks joy. If it doesn’t spark joy, then throw it away. Another way to clean house is to tidy up your social media networks. In this digital age, majority of jobs you apply for will look at your social media.

Cleaning it up will show hiring committees or snapchat followers that you use social media but also use it responsibly. Get the twerking and ratchetry off of Instagram. While transitioning into the next chapter of life, it’s also a good idea to evaluate the people around you and decide whether or not they can join you in the future.

Travel. Shake the cash out of those “Congratulations Graduate” Hallmark cards from friends and family and take a trip. Traveling abroad opens you up to a new culture, which can broaden your perspective and ignite inspiration. You never know, you could go to Spain and decide to never return to the U.S. There’s several ways to get overseas without having to empty out your entire bank account. Internships, volunteer work and teaching opportunities can get you out of the country and catapult you into your career.

Read. Haven’t you ever heard reading is fundamental? Well, it is. Reading is a great way to travel without leaving your home. Learn about different lifestyles and cultures with a simple “click to download” on your Amazon Kindle app. Reading improves your writing ability. Read more books, you’ll write better and that makes you a stronger candidate when you do decide to enter the workforce.

Intern. Internships are fun — or even if not always, they are a great way to explore career options without the commitment of having to be there forever. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development show that in 2012, 37 percent of college grads wish they would have been more careful about selecting their major or wish they would’ve chosen a different major. Degrees aren’t life sentences. Take the time to explore different options.

Volunteer. Yes, I know you need money. Don’t we all. However, volunteering will help you get in touch with a community you may have neglected while focusing on your studies. It can offer a new outlook on life; looks great on a resume and helping others is an all around feel good experience. Volunteering abroad is a great way to afford travel as well as offer inspiration while figuring out what you want to do.

This is an exciting time. The decisions you make after graduation can take you on a number of different paths. Yes, you may regret some of the choices you make, but the road will eventually lead you to the place you’re meant to be. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to opportunities and don’t let the need for cash deter you from enjoying life. Congrats Pios! You did it!