For many students, graduation is the celebration of years of hard work, exams, projects, midterms, finals and more. It is the culmination of years of challenges and learning opportunities and the promise of a future with great things. It is most of all the beginning of a new adventure. Having graduated couple years ago, I got to experience some areas of life after graduation and in the spirit of “sharing is caring”; here are some tips that I’ve accumulated over the years:
- Choose a major that makes you happy. Your major doesn’t matter to some extent: choose one based on how you want to view the world not your bank account. This doesn’t mean that you should randomly pick a major. Absolutely not. It just means that if you have to spend three, four, five or more years doing homework, studying for exams and working on projects, you better be enjoying the content. It has to be worth it.
- Enjoy your college years. Your classes, schoolwork and grades might seem like the center of your universe. Don’t fall into that trap. Branch out, engage in extracurricular activities, join clubs, write on your school newspaper, participate in the talent show, play sports, volunteer for a non-profit organization… These are just some examples of things you could do. Academics will feed your brain but don’t forget to feed your soul and grow your personality. You will learn life critical skills such as leadership, compassion, organization, ownership, accountability, teamwork, communication, time management and more. Go out there and explore. Aside from strictly personal development benefits, extracurricular activities are looked highly upon on postgraduate education, grants and award applications. They set you apart and make you a well-rounded student, and they are fun!
- Make friends and network. Don’t isolate yourself and try to mingle and meet people. Whether you are living on or off campus, make sure you spend time with your college mates outside the classroom. If you are away from home, making friends will make the journey more bearable and fun overall. You’ll find a new family away from yours in college. This will also be the base to your future professional network when everyone goes his or her own way.
- Be yourself and stay true to your values. College is a time to learn and grow, but it is also a time when students might experience a lot of peer pressure. It’s totally normal to want to fit in. This goes back to the previous point of making friends and networking. What might happen though is caving in to habits or things you don’t necessarily want to do just to fit in. It is hard and might take a lot of self restraint to resist or you might even be consciously experimenting with new things. As long as you know who you are and what you are doing and having a say in the choices you make, it is okay.
These are obviously not all of the tips but the foursome that I think are key. If I could rewind to the days where I worried about life after graduation I would tell myself: don’t worry just enjoy the journey!