Oh my God, you’ve graduated! You know what that means—you’re going to have to move into your parents basement and live on Ramen noodles! I mean, the media has been telling us how screwed recent grads are, right? It must be true!!
Relax. The sky is not falling.
It may be a tough job market right now, but it doesn’t have to be your demise. There are plenty of examples of college grads that are forging a great future for themselves. And you can be one, too.
Make some smart choices and your post-graduation summer can be your best one yet.
Continue to Live at School
What? Stay at college?
If you’re one of the many students that rent an apartment off campus, you might find that your lease doesn’t expire at the end of the school year.
You don’t necessarily have to start hunting for a subletter. After finals, many students leave their on-campus jobs, creating lots of job openings with universities and colleges.
You can look for a job related to the field you’re majoring in or you can work in a different department and learn another skill.
Another plus? Some schools allow their employees to take classes for free.
Build a Blog or Website
We’ve already talked about how important building your personal brand can be for an entrepreneur.
Not only can a well designed blog or website be a powerful marketing tool, it can be a source of income.
Yes, the post-college travel year sounds like a cliché, but it really does have its benefits. Many recent grads either assume they have to move back to their hometown, or think they already know exactly what city they want to live in.
But this is huge country and you owe it to your future self to explore it. You might think New York City is your destiny but it doesn’t hurt to check out Denver. The lifestyle in San Diego might fit your personality better than Boston. Did you go to school in an urban area? How do you know you won’t fall in the love with the rolling hills of West Virginia?
Then there’s the world outside our country’s borders left to explore.
No, you don’t need to ask mom and dad to bankroll your plans. The most popular way to travel internationally is by getting a job teaching English. But getting a job as an au pair, on a cruise ship or as a tour guide are also ways to earn cash while seeing the world.
Need inspiration? Check out aroundtheworldin80jobs.com for ideas.
Stay in touch
It’s common to slip into a “what now?” funk after the excitement of graduation has worn off. Your friends may be spread out all over the country, and the instant community of college life is gone.
While you should start making a new community of new friends, through meet-ups in your area or group sports, it’s important to maintain the friendships you’ve already established.
Sure, sure, there’s Facebook. But liking a buddy’s post or commenting “lol!” doesn’t exactly convey “You’re important to me.” Pick up the phone, write an email—or even just text! There’s no friendship like a life-long friendship.
It’s important to maintain contact for business reasons, too. You never know when a college buddy is going to turn out to be an industry big-wig. It’s a lot easier to maintain contact than it is to write an email that begins with, “Hey, I know that I forgot about you immediately after graduating, and I haven’t spoken to you in fifteen years, but now that you’re successful how about we meet up?”
While we’re on the topic of staying in touch, network by using your school’s alumni resources. Most colleges and universities have alumni Facebook pages or newsletters, and many even have alumni meet-ups. These are great opportunities for networking, especially with people in your same field.
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