5 Tips For Navigating the Year After College Graduation
Year One Mentoring
“So, what’s next for you after graduation?”
If you’re a recent grad or a soon-to-be grad, you know this question well. You probably can’t seem to escape it. It shows up at family dinners, job interviews, and yes, even first dates. Maybe you have the perfect response. Maybe you have your 10-year plan etched in stone. Or maybe you’ve become an expert at brushing off the question altogether.
Regardless, the thought of post-grad life can be intimidating. So, if you’re feeling like you have more questions than answers, here are five ways to make your first year after college an adventure, not a roadblock.
1. Begin at the end
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says to “begin with the end in mind.” Fast forward to the end of your first year after college. What would define a successful year? What steps have you taken in your career? What relationships have you created or nurtured? How have you grown spiritually?
Translate these successes into goals for your year. Break them down into action steps. The clearer you can see your future, the easier it is to get there.
2. Stay flexible
You might find yourself in a situation where things don’t turn out exactly as you expected, and you might not be sure what to do next. The key to moving forward is being open to opportunities you may have never considered. When you try new things, you might find what you were looking for all along. Remember: your first job doesn’t have to be your dream job. Or, just because you haven’t found many new friends in your new city doesn’t mean you never will. Look at each situation with humility to God and grace toward yourself.
3. Put it all in perspective
Don’t buy into the lie that everyone is ahead of you. You’ve just begun your post-grad journey. A shift in perspective will help you enjoy the small victories along the way.
Put in the hard work. Keep showing up. Demand excellence from yourself, even in the smallest of tasks… even when it’s the last thing you want to do. Because one day sooner than you think, you’ll look back and see how every tiny step forward was still a step forward.
4. Celebrate where you’ve been
When you’re on the verge of graduating college, it’s only natural to spend most of your time focused on the future, not the past. But when you take the time to learn from where you’ve been, you’ll begin to see more clearly the path ahead of you. Think back on your college career. What have you learned about yourself? Which experiences shaped you?How did God show up? How can the lessons you’ve learned help you in your post-grad life?
5. Don’t go it alone
More than anything else, prioritize your people. Don’t let distance or busyness get in the way of connecting with those who mean the most to you. And, if you’re left feeling isolated, seek out people who will support and challenge you.
Join a book club, or a soccer team, or a small group. Find people who get excited about the things you get excited about, and start there. Invite them into your struggles and your goals for the future. Practice the art of vulnerability. Seek out accountability. Because life transitions are always easier in the context of community.
So, the next time someone asks you “what’s next?”, remember the success of your future isn’t dependent on having all the right answers. Explore what’s most important to you and the answers will come. Be open to changing lanes. Put in the work, even when it might not be exciting. Let your past experiences inform your future plans. And most importantly, find some people to join you along the way. Not only will they help you get where you want to go… they’ll make the trip a lot more fun.
Logan Porter is the founder and Executive Director of Year One, an organization offering virtual mentoring to upcoming college grads as they navigate their transition from student life to adult life.
Are you a rising college senior graduating in Spring 2020? Learn more about Year One’s Class of 2020 cohort and apply online today.