Recently Graduated? What’s Next?

By Rachael Smith, Alumna of Radford University

Congratulations to all of the fall 2012 grads! You have now successfully beat all those pesky May graduates who will soon swarm the job market like a bunch of overconfident bees.

If you are anything like me, you are exhausted from senior capstone classes, graduation, Christmas with the fam, New Year's with friends and now that everyone is beginning to pack back up for spring semester and others are headed back to work, where does that leave you?

This is literally what they call “The New Chapter in Your Life” era. It’s right now. And don’t psych yourself out in believing that everything happens for everyone at the same time, because it doesn’t. So here are a few options for you in this prime time of your life.

“The Homebody”
You are burned out. You’ve just spent a good 17 years of your life being schooled. Maybe you just now realized how great it is being in your hometown for a while. If this is you, spend a few months volunteering at a Humane Society or the library. If you loved soccer in high school but didn’t have time to play in college, help coach a junior team in the area. Try to remember what you really love to do and spend time in the community with others. It’s also a good chance to learn some cooking tips from your momma.

What you risk: In this option, you have fun but risk losing job opportunities, so try to still send out about five applications a week just to keep your head in the game. Also, you used to live by your own rules at school, but living at home with mom and dad could cause a chore list to evolve. Beware.

“The Louis and Clark”
If you are neither married nor have children, you have no obligations to anyone at this stage in life, so you can explore the world! This is the most classic time to go abroad. Gather ‘round other winter grads and take this extra time before May to see the sights or try to see if you can find work while abroad. The easiest version of this option is to visit your friends at their universities. Have them take you to all of their favorite local spots while catching up with old friends!

What you risk: Basically, becoming poor. It isn’t as cheap as it used to be to travel around the globe. So while it’s very appealing to want to ditch the States for a bit, where are you going to get the cash? Once again, you risk missing out on career opportunities.

“The Horse with Blinders”
No if, ands or buts about it, you are determined to find work no matter what it takes. I am doing a mixture of all of the above options, but this is the route I’m sticking to the most. I realize that I hold an advantage with my degree coming from December instead of May. Use that advantage and be as aggressive as possible. Perfect your resume and cover letters and send in those applications, network wherever you go and even go into businesses and hand them your resume. The sooner you start an entry-level job, the sooner you will move up in your career.

In the end, do what is right for you. But whatever you do, don’t become a bum who mooches off your roommate or parents. Good luck, grads!

Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!