Finishing school is electrifying! It marks the commencement of a new adventure in life. It is common to hear the wiser folks saying “welcome to the REAL world,” putting maximum emphasis on the word ‘real’ as though you were living in a virtual one. The celebrations for finally being done conforming to walls of time and fixed schedules barely lasts a week. What should you do now that you are done with school? A series of options flash across your mind. Should you apply for a master’s degree as soon as possible? Should you look for a job? Should you travel around the world? Or should you get married to your college sweetheart?
Opportunity Desk digs deeper into the aftermath of college and university graduates. Here are the steps to help you figure out what you want to do with your remaining life span.
1. Pause and Reflect:
The pressure to immediately look for a job will always be there. Many graduates fall into this ‘trap’ due to lack of appropriate guidance or being under constant pressure to move with the ‘clock’ the world has imposed on itself. It is okay to refrain from looking for a job immediately. It is okay not to get married by 25 and have children by 30. Take off as much time as you need and reflect on what you want to do with your life. Take a closer look at your past, the experiences you had, how they shaped your life and what lessons you learned from your failures. Remember you don’t have to be a prisoner of your past. Use your past experiences as a stepping stone into your greatness. Steve Jobs so wisely put it, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that somehow the dots will connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
2. Construct a list of things which make you happy: Not all graduates were privileged to study for the courses they were passionate about. If you fall into this category, taking some time to reflect is paramount. Make a list of things which excite you. Those activities you can do even without being paid. No one knows you better than yourself. You could decide to get employed immediately for fear of having ‘wasted’ four or so years in college or due to the excitement of earning your first salary. Life is full of curves and can sometimes give you a huge blow. At such moments only passion could keep you clinging onto your career. It is important to get yourself into an industry you are most passionate about.
Here is an inspirational quote from Steve Jobs concerning passion. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
3. Make a plan and Prioritize: After identifying your passions, you have to formulate a plan on how you are going to achieve success in the field you want to exploit. Lack of planning is a sure way of failing. Ask yourself what you need to do at each particular stage you find yourself in. Not everything will go according to your plan but be sure to aim so high that if you fail to reach the stars, you will land on the moon!
Keep first things first. The pressure to do what your peers are doing will be there. For example, refrain from moving out of your parent’s house for the sake of looking cool. Consider living with your parents as long as possible or move in with two or three trusted friends. Not only will it help you cut down your living expenses but also help you keep the focus on what matters. While at it, save, save and save lots of cash and for as long as you can. Where possible invest your hard-earned money into worth-while ventures which will bring you more returns.
4. Engage in activities which will help you discover who you truly are: The journey to discovering our identity is one of the longest in the world. Consider engaging in activities you enjoy doing. Volunteer at an organization to determine how they effectively do things. Consider applying for short study courses in another country or participating in great forums. These activities may not give you what you want, but they will help you discover your passions and act as a huge stepping stone into your destiny. Sometimes, it requires an effort of an outsider to help us know ourselves. Therefore, networking could also help.
All in all, identifying what we want to do with our lives is not as easy as people make it appear. Life is also not as severe as older folks put it. Relax, just breathe. Discover your identity and while at it have lots and lots of responsible fun! And when you finally identify your purpose, don’t stop. Work hard on them, and it will eventually lead you to discover things which make you even happier!
About the Author
Josephine is a gifted writer and an emerging social entrepreneur. In the early stages of her Telecommunications career, Josephine believes in doing what she can with what she has to bring about positive transformation in her community. Josephine lives in Kenya.
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