College and university graduates have been gowning up and celebrating their hard work and determination by getting their diplomas and degrees and it’s definitely worth celebrating. Graduation comes with great excitement for most as it signifies one end of an era. However, the moment may also come with anxiety regarding what awaits you. This anxiety may be further fuelled by friends and family asking “so what’s next?” right after you receive your certificate.
As difficult as it may be, you must try not to get caught up in that and just enjoy the moment…your moment. Be present in your celebration and revel in your big achievement. Regardless of your choice of study, being a student is not always an easy feat. Think of the endless hours spent working on assignments, projects, and studying for exams. Think of the many weekends spent in the library forcing you to miss events, trips, and even quality sleep because of the work load. Completing post secondary school is a milestone that should be celebrated and you should be proud of yourself.
I asked people around me who have graduated to give some lessons they would like to pass on to recent graduates. It is not a comprehensive list but hopefully some things resonate with you.
Here are some tidbits of wisdom from people who have gone through the process:
- After graduation, it’s okay to take time for yourself to recuperate because school is tough. Give yourself a short break before starting to look for a job or figuring out what your next venture is. If you have your “next” figured out, give yourself a little bit of time to transition into it if you can.
- It’s perfectly okay to not know what your next is. Your ideas of what you want to do may also change based on the experiences you have after graduation and the people you meet and network with. Take the time you need to figure it out.
- This may seem contradictory to the previous point but taking the time to figure things out doesn’t mean you should procrastinate determining your next venture. Procrastination runs the risk of missing opportunities. Read, research and connect with people.
- You may need to work a job that may not reflect the dream you have as you work on gaining experience, network and search for other opportunities. The reality is man must eat and bills must be paid. In the wise words of Oprah, “do what you have to do until you can do what you WANT to do”. The most important thing is to never get too comfortable in something that is mundane for you that you end up sacrificing your dreams and letting go of your ambition.
- Your peers may all be on different pages. Silence the “comparaholic” in you that is constantly looking at what your peers are doing and feeling discouraged. We are all on different journeys, honour yours.
- You may need to block out what everyone thinks you should be doing. Advice is important but sometimes the pressure can get intense and the noise can cloud your judgement. At the end of the day, only you know what feels right for you.
- Don’t neglect financial planning, and work on getting and maintaining a good credit. Your financial needs may change after school depending on the level of independence you have from your parents or guardians. Financial wisdom is needed to navigate through adulthood. There are many resources out there that can help you to learn how to save and budget for your needs. Stay tuned for the next blog post featuring Dennis Maritim – Financial advisor and mortgage specialist on tips for financial planning.
- The work hasn’t ended. School was hard but life after graduation has its own challenges and hurdles as well. You will have more responsibilities, different routines, more independence and you will still need to work hard to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
- There is still a lot of learning ahead of you. There is a lot of new things to be learned on the job and you may end up not using most of what you learned in school. Keep in mind that learning will continue in various forms.
Congratulations to the class of 2018! Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.
Thank you to all the contributors of this blog post who shared their wisdom with me.