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Graduation – you may be shuddering at the word, or the thought might feel like the light at the end of the long (and expensive) tunnel that is College, but either way, you know that date is getting closer every day, and so is the day you’ll step out into the ‘real world’.
While in the education system, you know exactly where to be and when. You’re told exactly what to do and have the security of knowing where you’ll be in a year. Leaving what has been 18 years of education for most can feel like stepping into the great unknown.
If you’re reading this blog, I can guess that you have pretty ambitious goals for your life and want to achieve great things, but that doesn’t necessarily make the anticipation of that Graduation date any less anxiety-inducing, right? In this post, I will explore finding purpose after graduation with you.
By Lauren Barlow, Business Strategist.
How I found my purpose after graduation.
I’d just graduated with a Business Management degree and it was fully expected for me to get a 9-5 office job in something like finance. But the idea of doing that had me feeling… empty? Graduating during a global pandemic made me feel like the Universe had given me a permission slip to pursue the thing that had really been on my heart throughout my degree. As I’m writing this, I work 1:1 with a couple of amazing ladies as their business coach, seeing them transform day by day. I’ve genuinely never felt a greater sense of purpose.
As I sat down to write this article, I had a realisation. This had been an option for me all along.
This path had never been off limits to me, there was technically nothing stopping me, apart from myself. I had been so consumed with listening to others’ opinions and beliefs about what I SHOULD do after my degree to be successful, that I forgot to listen to the one and only person whose thoughts really mattered – me. I had pushed down my inner voice for so long that I barely even knew what my gut was telling me anymore.
5 Things to do when looking for your purpose after graduation.
If you’re feeling as overwhelmed as I was at the idea of Graduation and deciding on your next steps as you enter the ‘real world’, I wanted to share with you my advice for how to ensure you make the best possible choices for you.
I might not know you personally, but I can confidently say that you have a LOT of decisions ahead of you, and a lot of different people’s opinions about which path is ‘right’. These voices can so easily drown out your own, and make the idea of taking a step in ANY of these directions hard, because when we’ve spent 18 years following what others have told us to do, suddenly being put back in complete control of deciding your own next steps can feel a bit daunting.
Here’s my advice for creating a plan for a purposeful and fulfilling life after Graduation:
1. Write a possibilities list.
This is a list of EVERYTHING that is on your mind, every idea, every possible job, every opportunity, anything that lights you up, write it all down and get it out of your head. You’ll be surprised how many things you hadn’t even dared to consider.
2. Ask yourself: What would you do if you could do anything?
Ask yourself: What’s your big vision? What’s that massive dream of yours, the thing you’ve ALWAYS wanted to do but not pursued? Even if you can’t currently do that thing, how can you start taking the first steps, and what else can you do until then?
3. Make a plan!
Graduation is scary, there’s no denying that, but when you have some kind of plan of what you are going to do next (even if that means planning for several paths), it takes a huge weight off your shoulders, and makes it feel less like you’re dropping off the cliff that is education without a parachute. So choose your top options and look at what those first steps would be for each. If you’re ever feeling stuck with where to go next, refer back to that possibilities list technique!
4. Listen to yourself.
Yes, your professors know a lot about the industries you’re looking into and the different career paths, but only YOU know what the right decision for you is. Follow your own heart, and your own intuition, above everything else. Get the information that you need to make informed decisions, and then see what the right choices are for you personally.
5. Be open to whatever opportunities come your way.
Sometimes the best things happen in our life out of the blue, right? And this is no different with your post-University life. When you’re in the process of searching for that perfect job placement, let yourself be open to things that you might not have considered. For me, I did an Internship at Disney World in Florida Summer 2019 (I’m from the UK so this involved moving country!) and it was something I NEVER expected to do, but it was hands down the best experience of my life.
A new perspective.
The end of education is an endless world of opportunities for you. You do not have to fall off the edge of the metaphorical education cliff without so much as a parachute. You can be prepared for this big jump by looking at all your options and figuring out the best path/paths to pursue. And it doesn’t have to be a set-in-stone decision on one singular career. You don’t need to tie yourself down to one job role for the rest of your life.
You’re right at the start of your career, and guess what? You’ve got more than enough time to experience them all, so decide on at least that first step, get out there, follow those crazy dreams, and start a new adventure.
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