Do you feel stress or anxiety about what is to come after you graduate? Do you feel unready or scared to finish school? For many students, life after graduation is a difficult concept to fully grasp. Many people feel they are unprepared to handle the responsibilities that come with the real world. Perhaps this is a reason why students often drop out of school or fail. They may be having feelings that are difficult to deal with.
On Tuesday, February 18, CSUSB hosted an event called “What’s Next After Graduation?” The event was hosted on the main campus but was accessible to students who could not physically get to the location, and by students at the Palm Desert Campus via a zoom link. This event was hosted by Jennifer Carhart and attendees received really helpful information that they could apply to their own lives, and possibly ease some of that anxiety or tension they get when they think about finishing school and post-graduation jitters.
Carhart and her team started off by talking about post-graduate pathways, which one of the pathways included getting a job. One could either get a part-time job or a full-time job. If a paid job is not available, then one could consider an internship.
Internships allow one to gain experience in their field, usually working for free, but some internships do pay. Perhaps a job isn’t readily available, so another option might be to join a specialized opportunity, such as the peace corps or the military. Jobs value this type of experience because one is able to give back to their country or those in need. Sometimes students are seeking more education, so another possibility would be to continue in higher education, baccalaureate training, certification or gaining credentials.
With all this information in mind, it is important to start planning ahead, even if you are not yet nearing your graduation date. Planning ahead for your life and career can help alleviate some of the stress and help you focus on your goals.
Senior student Ibeth de la Torre, 21, stated, “I started taking my life and career goals more seriously at the start of my junior year. I know that I’m not going to be in school forever. I needed to start having a plan and possible backups so I wouldn’t fall behind after I graduate in the fall.”
When considering career goals, it is important for one to reflect and self-evaluate. You should ask yourself if you are doing enough to put yourself out there, if you’re gaining adequate experience, and what you can possibly do better. Another step would be to explore other options.
Junior student Ana Garcia, 22, said, “In my major, which is bio, I have had to consider other possibilities for my career. I’m always thinking ‘What if this doesn’t work out, what am I going to do next? Students need to always be thinking of plan B, C, whatever.’”
A third step, as mentioned by Carhart is decision making and goal setting. Students should have a goal and make proper decisions to reach that goal. If you’re straying from your goal, you will never reach the point you would want to be at.
The fourth step in planning for your post-grad life would be to gain experience. If possible, students should seek experience in any which way they can. Employers value experience and you can get ahead simply by working a few hours a week, dedicating yourself to your career and goals, and eventually landing a job.
The last step is implementation. Once you have the other four steps, the final goal would be to properly implement them into your life. Execution of these steps is important because eventually, you may be able to figure out what you want from life, your career, and if you want to choose a different route to explore.
After all is said and done, you may want to reconsider or self-evaluate your current situation. Some questions you could ask yourself are “What career am I pursuing? What have I done to prepare for this career, or what can the career center do to help me prepare?”
Remember that you are not alone in this. Careful planning and seeking help will put you at an advantage. Junior student Carolina Alvarez, 23, said, “I often ask myself what more can I do to put myself out there. I always forget that I can visit the career center which people seem to forget we have. They can give you helpful information so that you are not worrying about your future. If you aren’t doing anything to help yourself, then life isn’t just going to come and say ‘Here, you have a job.’”
With the pressure that comes with finishing school and achieving your goals, one should always have a plan. It is never too late to start planning and getting ahead. Once you graduate, you can be presented with so many opportunities if you put in some work. There are many resources online and in school that can help you with your goals, so start planning today!