The 7 Things You Should Do After You Graduate And Before You Join The Real World

by Andrew Schmitz

Finally, you’ve graduated, so now what? Maybe you’re thinking about going to graduate school, or maybe you have your eyes set on a dream job. Regardless of what your postgrad plans may be, check out these seven things you should do between graduation and settling into real life.

1. Travel

One of the most powerful ways to awaken your creativity is to adopt and understand new worldly perspectives. The most practical way to accomplish this is to travel.

But, when traveling, don’t just go to that 5-star resort in Paris or that weekend getaway in the Bahamas. Those are vacations, not traveling. Pick somewhere that will challenge your mind and assumptions. This might mean hiking in the Himalayas or simply sipping coffee and talking with Turkish friends at a café in Istanbul. Whatever it may be, have an open-minded attitude and make sure you try something new.

2. Learn a skill you have never attempted before

Maybe you’ve always marveled at your friend’s piano skills, or maybe you wish you could speak Hungarian. Well, now is your time to learn. Designate an amount of time (30 minutes to an hour per day will do) to your intended skill — be persistent and soon you will master it.

3. Volunteer

Your academic experience taught you to strive to be a good employee in order to make money. You focused on yourself and your source of validation came from your grades (along with the pats on the back from friends and family). But, a secret to living well is to give back.

Share what you can give to world to make it a better place. This might mean joining the Peace Corps or volunteering at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, but make sure to do something that’s not about you.

4. Go through the process of starting some business

If you weren’t a business major in school, you may have no idea how the business world works. Now is the time to study entrepreneurship, finance, sales and marketing. Unemployment rates may be high, but individual business ventures have limitless possibilities. Finances permitting, experiment with a new business idea. Put your heart into it, test the market, and get your idea out to the world. In the process, your business acumen will sharpen tremendously. You might fail, but failure is the first step toward a successful future.

5. Stop seeking answers, start asking questions

Up until this point, you may have been following someone else’s path, but start asking yourself what you want from your life. Constantly ask yourself questions like “Who am I?” and “What do I want?” every day for the rest of your life.

6. Start investing in your health if you haven’t already

How you treat your health in your 20s will affect you the rest of your life. Unless it is of your own volition, you will no longer have to pull all-nighters to cram for exams. Also, your desire to party all weekend, every weekend may begin to wane, so start to invest your health now.

Without your health, you have nothing. Take care of your body to maintain the energy and stamina that other parts of your life will necessitate.

7. In every sense of the word, experiment

The months surrounding graduation may be a confusing time — feelings of uncertainty about your future will likely arise. Contrast will part those clouds of confusion and uncertainty. Once you understand the contrast that all situations possess, you’ll be better able to assess what you desire in life.