Friday, April 18, 2014

What are YOU gonna do after graduation?

Reading time: 5-7 minutes


"Are you planning to take master's degree afterwards?"
"How are you? Have you got a job yet?"
"Do you think I should go for the Master's degree scholarship or should I find a job instead?"

.. and so on, and so on.

Those questions above are every year's questions of the year for fresh graduates. I believe all of my friends who are graduating (or have just graduated) have got these questions asked to them a zillion times. They come from your friends, parents, relatives (you know, the countless aunts and uncles, the older cousins) or your mom's friends.. and even neighbours! Suddenly your graduation, your future, has become everyone's number one concern.

So, how do you react to them?

Do you become as excited about the 'life-after-graduation' as they do? Are you becoming afraid of stepping into the real world? Or instead, do you get so annoyed that you use "We'll see" as an answer template?

Honestly, I was contemplating on what I want to do with my life after graduation, or at least after I have finished my thesis defense. I surely have learned a lot from the thesis writing process, yet I did not have the time to focus on what's next while I was writing my thesis. Most of the time I'm a person who is spontaneous and impulsive at times, which does not help when it comes to long-term life planning.

Based on this struggle, I have since then asked a lot of people I know the very same questions: to my friends, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, anyone I could ask, to get their opinions on this matter. Now, although I still find these questions rather daunting, I know there are several things every fresh graduate can do after they have finished their study. So, if you are a fresh graduate, you might want to consider some of these options worth-considering that I have compiled.

1. First, you can find a job. It's very easy, right?

Now before you stop reading, let me make this clear. Finding a job is easy, there are tons of jobs that you can get, and there are also companies who would hire you just because they need people to work for them. 

So finding a job is actually easy, but finding a job that fits you is hard. Chances are, it's even harder because you don't know what you really want, YET. That's why after applying for some random jobs, none of them gave you a satisfying result. 

My dad told me that back in his days, applying for jobs was A LOT harder. They had to write their own CV and application letter with their hands, and the companies were also harder to approach because there was no internet at the time (they had to buy the newspapers and look for job vacancies there), and the companies did not pass any company brochures or came to any job fair. Job fair did not even exist back then. So he said "becoming jobless for around 6 months is totally normal because it takes time to find a job you want".

"Six months? Are you crazy? All of my friends would have got a job if I waited that long!" You might think. But not like in old days, our life is much easier now. We have internet to find almost anything, and the companies actively reach out to the students as early as on their first semester of college. It doesn't need to take 6 months to actually get a job. But we could probably use the time to understand what we want to do.

I would rather think carefully before I land my first job than getting the job I don't really want ASAP just because of, you know, peer pressure. Do you agree?

Don't take any job that you're not sure of. Take your time.

2. Take A Master's Degree (or a Diploma, or any other degree you want)

There are a lot of reasons why you should take a Master's degree right after you get your Bachelor's degree. You probably want to pursue a scholarship opportunity to study abroad (which would probably not come twice), or maybe you are already sure of what you want to study.

I have friends who are still doubtful about whether she/he's going to take a Master's degree directly or get a job experience first. Nowadays, we all try to solve our problems by Googling it. But if you searched about this so-called-dilemma, you would find too many of pros and cons about getting a Master's degree.

If you are one of those who are having this dilemma, I don't have a good answer to solve your problem, but I'll share my opinion with you. If you ask me whether I want to take a Master's degree, I would say "Yes, I want to". But am I taking it right after I graduate? No. Because first, I am not sure enough of the major for my Master's degree. Therefore, I have decided to get a job first, and when I am sure that I want to build a career in a certain field, I will pursue my Master's Degree. This way, I am taking the major I want with more confidence. I also have several personal considerations which have led me to that decision. How about you? It is your call.

Do not use the articles you find on the internet as your guide. They are made by people, and different people have different kinds of opinion because they have their own circumstances. You may use them as references, as some of them are telling their facts, but most of them are purely subjective opinions based on their own experiences. Make a decision based on your circumstances and your own considerations. 

3. Do Cool Internships!

This could be a choice if you felt like you need more working experience before getting a real job. Internships could even get you a full-time job afterwards, because you get to be evaluated for your performance, not only from your short resume and a 15-minute interview. You may have graduated, but getting an internship to warm you up before landing a job would not hurt. Instead, it could give you time to build your strategy and preparation to get the job that you aim for.
Good luck!

4. Make your own awesome thing.

I also have friends who are passionate to become an entrepreneur. Most of my friends are coming from Computer Science major, so there are a lot of them who are planning to build an IT start up after they graduate. I find them to be very passionate and independent. I also know some who have great values for their own start-ups. The thing is, their ultimate goal is not to become successful. Their goal is to become useful, to make something that creates huge positive impact to people.

It's amazing how you can build something with values you don't only keep. I think that's an example of trusting your own values, living them, and making them happen.
Do you have values and dreams that you wish to come to life? Entrepreneurship might be the right choice for you.

5. Become the super housewife!

Hey, I'm not kidding. This probably works for the ladies. If you feel like you want to be the ultimate, best housewife in the world and you are supported by your parents and your future husband, why not jump directly into practice? You will have plenty of time to master your skills in cooking, taking care of households, and later, if you have kids, you are going to be the full time mom every child wishes they had. What is more, instead of working from 9-5, you can start your own home business. What could be more exciting than being able to arrange your own working hours and spend plenty of quality time with your kids?

There are a lot of things you could do after you graduate, and when it comes to making the decision, you sure could have a lot of fears to overcome. To answer that, I will quote what Mahatma Gandhi said.
"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes".
We will ALWAYS make mistakes no matter which path we take, but letting those mistakes bring you down is only one of the life choices you can take.

This is dedicated to all fresh graduates. May your next life stages be blessed.
© Janet Valentina
Maira Gall