Monday, 22 May 2017

Post-College Life Experiences To Try

Me at my graduation with the parentals. Photo credit to my NY based photographer friend: Jo Yanez
Graduating from college is one of those milestones in life that you can sometimes miss in the moment. You’ve been working so hard to obtain your degree and your mind is already focusing on what you’re going to do next - grad school? An internship? Perhaps even delving into full-time work? - that you miss the fact it is such a seismic event in your life.

However, the end of college is the end of a way of life you have become accustomed to. The idea of having to go from being a student to someone contemplating the full-time world of work for the first time is pretty jarring. There’s a lot to learn, to the point where it can feel there’s just too much happening to you at once.

While running away from real life isn’t an option most of the time, chances are, for those post-college days, it might be just what you need. Taking a bit of time to experience life outside of the student realm you have been inhabiting for the last few years could be just what you need to get some perspective.

TRAVEL
Travel is often posited as the main thing that people do before settling down to a “real life”. There’s something to this thought process. Expanding your horizons and seeing what the world has to offer can help shape what you want to do with your life, giving new perspectives, molding the way you see the world.

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen if you go for the standard sun-and-sea holiday. While sitting back on a Caribbean island might sound like your idea of heaven, it’s unlikely to teach you much apart from the fact you like sunning yourself on a Caribbean island!

The best choices are those which can give you new skills and understanding. It might be backpacking through Europe, just you and a few essentials, having to negotiate all of the different paperwork and changes that that requires. Or it could be something simpler like volunteering for tiger or elephant conservation projects; worthy causes always in need of an extra helping hand. You could even try working yourself across a country like Australia, or somewhere in Southern America if you speak the local language. Whatever you choose, it should be more an experience than a straight vacation.

As for me, I took a planned vacation to Hong Kong with the best friend right after I passed my board exams. It was one of the most rewarding travels of my life since we went #sansparentals. It happened two months before I started working my first job and I think it was the perfect transition phase.

VOLUNTEER AT HOME
If a trip overseas is outside of your budget, then there’s plenty you can do to expand your horizons (in a metaphorical sense) right at home. Volunteering in your community - especially within an industry that you might one day like to work in - can help give you insights that the somewhat closeted nature of student life kept from you.

Volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes. You could offer a helping hand working with children, those with learning difficulties, or with the elderly. Or if you like working with animals, you won’t have any problems finding a local shelter who will be glad of another pair of hands to help them out.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be a huge commitment for you - one day per week will still make a huge difference in your community, while helping you settle yourself before you make your next steps.


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