May 28, 2019
“Now what?” This is the question many recent graduates are facing today. They may not always see the completion of their undergraduate studies as reaching the finish line. For these former students, there are three primary perspectives among them: those continuing their education, those entering the workforce immediately, and those that choose to take some time off before making decisions about their long-term future.
Earning a bachelor’s degree is no small feat, but for some graduates it may not feel like enough. In many fields, obtaining a master’s or Ph.D. can help provide the knowledge and experience necessary to be successful in their future careers. Additionally, completing higher education can show future employers that candidates have what it takes to contribute to their new organizations. Furthermore, it can be comforting to know what comes next; obtaining that bachelor’s degree is not quite the end, but they still have an idea where the final destination is.
Similarly, for those that choose to enter the workforce after graduation; beginning a job right away can also remove the stress and anxiety that can accompany uncertainty about their future. Having a bachelor’s degree opens the doors for certain jobs that they might not have been considered for without this degree. In addition, obtaining job experience early in their careers can help college graduates determine what kind of work environment they are more likely to excel in. Some students may prefer structure, while others may want flexible hours. Moreover, entering the workplace early gives many graduates the chance to begin taking steps to move up to higher positions–especially those that have years of service requirements.
For some college graduates, there are no immediate next steps; making it through those undergraduate years can take a toll, and they feel the need for a mental and even physical break. In other cases, some are simply uncertain about what they want to do next. Life as an undergrad can often feel like it is moving extremely quickly, but after graduation, things finally calm down. With this calm comes the free time to refresh and get back in control of their lives, to make intelligent decisions about their future. This kind of break can help them be more equipped to continue their education or prepare for their future work. This free time can also be used to do things such as travel or spend time with family and friends.
The period after graduation can be an interesting time. For some graduates, this is only the beginning. For others, this may be the last time they hold the title of “student” for the foreseeable future. Regardless, deep introspection and acknowledgement of their needs moving forward in this new life phase is the key to success, and this new crop of college grads have bright futures, no matter which category they fall into.
Chinonso Uzowihe, Talent Pool Intern, American Geophysical Union