The Redundant Graduation Mantra 

You’re probably going to hear this one too many times from your professors, friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else you run into as you approach graduation ranging from:”So, what are your plans after graduating?”, “Do you plan on attending graduate school?”, “Have you been searching and applying for entry-level jobs or internships yet?” etc. The list of questions will become endless and even tortuous for some, if not most of you.

While graduation is an exciting and surreal time to celebrate the relentless, ongoing four years of your undergraduate life, it can also be a time of great distress for others. The endlessly strenuous nights of staying up, writing papers, cramming for exams, rushing to finish last-minute assignments, mental breakdowns, etc. has finally come to an abrupt end.  Whether you are planning to seek employment first or go straight to grad school, there is never really a wrong choice here.

Planning for the Future Ahead

“Congratulations, Grad! You’ve done it!”

Okay, now what? What do I do with my life? I am so used to attending school for the passed sixteen both excruciating and best years of my life, that I am not so sure I am ready for this whole “adult-ing” thing. While the majority of my friends will be graduating in the May term, I still have one more semester left in the Fall term. Everyone works at their own pace, remember that. There are countless reasons for “not finishing on time,” but stray away from this mindset, (as I was once there) and realize that what is most important is that you finish. At the end of the day, just because your best friend graduates earlier than you does not necessarily mean he/she will be more successful or more fortunate than you ought to be. What potential employers value more, is what you can bring to the table and how you can utilize all the knowledge, skills, and experiences you have claimed to learned throughout your academic career into the rigor and expectations of everyday tasks.

Due to the fact that I still have an entire semester left, it has not struck me that I will be graduating soon myself. Honestly, I do not know how to feel. I’m certainly read to quit this “broke, college student” lifestyle, but I am unsure of what exactly I want to do in the future due to my recent change in my major concentration area. I think many recent or past college graduates experience these similar recounts of what to do next and how to go about finding your first “real-world” job. Keep in mind, this is not just going to be a job anymore, it should be the career you have built for yourself after all these elongated years. It is what you deserve!

However, don’t fall entrapped into the guilty mindset of many college graduates where you believe jobs in your intended field will come easily handed down to you just because you have a Bachelor’s degree now. Of course, this outstanding achievement in your educational pursuits will qualify you into being able to apply to certain positions, but this will by no means, grant you the job of your dreams the minute you receive that diploma. Especially for those (I do not mean this offensively in any way) who have never worked a day in their life, you cannot and should not expect such drastic outcomes in your career endeavors. While a college degree will enhance your likelihood of getting hired or expand your pool of opportunities, it does not guarantee anything YOU did not work hard and diligently enough to achieve. Depending on the choice of your specific career, there is probably a long line of other recent college graduates just like yourself that are waiting in that same line with you.

Embracing Change

To shift focus, after recent changes that I would have never expected throughout my academic career as a full-time college student, I decided to allow God’s miraculous workings to guide me towards a satisfying, fulfilling, and intellectually stimulating career that will allow me to accentuate the skills I’ve acquired thus far with opportunity for advancement.

I began my journey in college with hopes of becoming a high school English teacher since I was a junior in high school myself. Unfortunately, a couple semesters before graduating I realized that this was really not the suitable career to maximize my full potential of self-growth. I wanted to gather experience working in a secondary setting in order to adequately prepare me to advance my studies of the English language, literature, writing,  and communications disciplines in a Master’s program. The purpose of this is to achieve the opportunity to pursue my teaching desire, but instead of beginning at a high-school and working my way up to a professor, I can begin as an adjunct professor. If my dream to become as a future educator still remains deeply rooted in my heart, I will follow this path while continuing to write, as that is my passion.

Plan B

On the other end of the spectrum, my second option was always to pursue the business world. After gaining exceptional customer-service, sales, some marketing, and operations skills while working in the retail-banking industry, I realized I was becoming freakishly good at it. In other words, this job came surprisingly easy to me. Therefore, I always thought of going into the Human Resources/Business Administration field, if pursuing the education field backfires.

Given the circumstances, I decided I would expand on this “business” idea further by applying them with my “English” major such as Public Relations, advertising, free-lance, technical writer, etc. to explore my options; which was something I did not quite do since I stubbornly set my mind to become a “high school English teacher.” Many of my close friends and family members even hinted that they could see me taking on more proactive or creative roles such a journalism or publishing because I love to write.

Currently, I am going to be taking on my first internship role in the Digital Marketing field, where I hope to gain hands-on experience of what a job in this field would entail. This time, I decided to take a more laid-back approach by treading along with the flow instead of attempting to control certain elements of my life that I assume will work themselves out as they always have.