8 Things Every Girl Should Do After She Graduates
Graduating is a huge milestone! You’re all wrapped up with school and it’s time to take on the real world. But before you jump right into the rat race, consider diving into these amazing things:
1Take time to relax.
Once you graduate, your mind goes into overdrive stressing about what you’re going to do next. When are you going to find a job? Where are you going to work? Where are you going to live? It feels like there are a thousand things you have to figure out all at once. This is NOT true! Don’t rush this phase of your life. Never in your life will you have this kind of free time again. Once your classes are over, take some time for you, if possible. There is not doubt that the transition comes with a lot of big decisions you have to make for your life next, but you also deserve to relax and calmly reflect on the time you spent in school and what you are looking for in the future. If you have the option to take it easy before jumping into the real world, take advantage of it. It’s always better to take a deep breathe and make meaningful next steps, rather than to throw yourself into a new phase of your life and create a new lifestyle that isn’t necessarily what you want just because you feel the pressures of having to do something immediately after graduating.
2Travel and explore!
Now that you’ve graduated, there are no more traditional classrooms to sit in and no more structured ways to learn about the world around you. One of the best ways to remain an active learner and involved citizen of the world is to travel. You’ll arguably learn more about all of the cultures in all the books you read by actually being amongst them in different countries than you did from anything you ever read or were taught. Traveling pushes you to see things differently, and to develop deeper understandings of other people and other value systems around the world. If possible, always travel with a buddy. Not only does it help to keep you safe, but it is always an amazing experience to share with someone else that you care about! That being said, there is no doubt that travel is expensive. But travel doesn’t have to always mean taking grand trips to see all of the most incredible sights and sounds in the entire world. Travel could mean exploring your neighborhood, finding new places that are already right there in your community or in your state. At the end of the day, travel is about exposing yourself to something and somewhere new and expanding your understanding and appreciation of what is around you.
3Save your money.
This may seem counterintuitive to relaxation and travel, but if there is any way you can start to put away a bit of money — do it. Getting into a habit of saving money early on in your career, regardless of what it is, will serve you so well in the rest of your life. As you get older, you start to realize how much it actually costs to live the lifestyle you want, and having a savings fund that is slowly but surely growing will help to reassure you that the things you desire are attainable. Whether you plan on moving, or buying a car, or taking a vacation, a modest savings will help make those things all the more possible. Saving now will help keep you from scrimping and scrounging the closer it gets to going after those big ticket purchases.
4Make time for your friends.
Just because school is over, doesn’t mean your friendships have to end. There’s no questioning that they’ll be different than they ever were before, but your friendships will remain strong if you give them the attention they deserve. It can be challenging at first to figure out how to fit in time for your friends while adjusting to a new job, a new schedule, and even distance, but it’s never been easier to keep in touch with people given all of the tools we have to communicate with each other. If you do happen to live in the same place as a lot of your friends, make time to go out and explore your new city. Invite them over, go to dinner, see shows, go to galleries – find new things to do together that weren’t necessarily possible while in school. If you’re worried about losing your friends, know that it is totally natural to grow apart as you age and mature. As sad as the reality can be at first, it isn’t always a bad thing. You will make new friends, too! Whenever possible, try to invite both your new friends and old to hang out in the same place, and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to maintain relationships.
5Reach out to one of your role models or someone you’ve always admired.
It may seem daunting to try and get in contact with someone that you’ve always looked up to, but you literally have nothing to lose when you’re fresh out of school! It’s true that people higher up are incredibly busy, but a lot of people really do take the time to meet with people that express genuine interest in and appreciation for what they do. If you can, take informational interviews or go to coffee with anyone you can. Again, now that you’re not in school, one of the best ways to learn is from the people around you. Now, this won’t guarantee you your dream job or even guarantee that the person you reach out to becomes a connection in your field, but it does give you invaluable information about the things you care about. If you’re smart, you’ll apply the advice that you’ve received and what you’ve learned to the way you carry yourself in your career. If no one stands out to you initially as someone you’d like to learn from, start learning about an industry you’d like to work in, and look for movers and shakers in that field.
6Cleanse your life.
Throughout the course of your life, you accumulate a lot of things. From books, to clothes, to knick knacks, you end up with a ton of crap that you simply don’t need. Do you really need those 18 sorority tank tops, or the note your crush passed you in tenth grade? It’s fun to be nostalgic and look back sometimes, but it also feels so good to get rid of all the excess things in your life and to move forward with a clean slate. When you move into your first apartment, or home, or start traveling, you probably won’t have room for all of the stuff you’ve been collecting and holding on to for your entire life. Plus, what’s the point of having it sit in your parent’s basement or attic for however many more years? Hold onto the memories, but maybe not all of the ~stuff~ that came with them. Pick a few things that are super important to you that you cherish, and get rid of any other junk. Not to be harsh, but this also applies to people. Not everyone in your life needs to be there for the next phase of your life. If you have toxic friends or people who simply seem to be hindering your growth as an adult, it’s totally okay to let them go. It’s harder to do this than to throw away an old box of toys, but it’s even more essential to your cleanse.
7Make new habits.
They say that the habits you make in your twenties will last you for the rest of your life. And while that may be daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Like saving, you can do little things here and there that help to assure a healthy lifestyle going forward. You won’t have a dining hall to go to for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so making healthy choices with food is a good place to start. Especially as you start making money, picking up fast food or always eating out as restaurants may seem like the easiest option. Resist the urge and start cooking for yourself! You won’t have classes to walk to or gyms scattered around you to keep you active anymore. In fact, you’ll most likely end up sitting at your desk for long periods in the day. Try to exercise when possible. You don’t have to go crazy, but try taking more walks and at least getting those ten thousand steps in! You won’t have assigned homework or be given a syllabus filled with a ton of new things to learn. Find ways to actively learn new things, whether that’s going to museums or making a pact with yourself to read a new book every month. Keep your mind active, too! You’ll thank yourself later for starting these habits now.
8Set goals for yourself.
I can’t emphasize this enough – there is no one right path for anyone after graduation. Take the time to think about what you want out of life. The kinds of places you want to live. The kind of career you want to have. The kind of people you want to be around. The kind of people you want to help. Set short term goals that will help you achieve you long term goals, because we all know that certain things take time to achieve. Have fun and enjoy life, but also be purposeful in your journey!