Life After Graduation

Jessica Carrington

Ohio State Newark Alumna, English

First, congratulations! You are graduating college and that is no small step! Take a few moments to be proud of yourself and celebrate your accomplishments before worrying too much about the “real world”. This is something to be proud of. You’ve put in a lot of hard work to get to this day, and I’m proud of you for it.

Enjoy some free time if you have it. Do some traveling this summer, even just day trips around the area. Go somewhere new, do something outside of your routine, and learn something new! Learning experiences are everywhere, and a lot of them are free– take advantage of that.

One of the biggest tips I can give you is to network. Networking is vital, I know you’ve heard that a lot but honestly, it is incredibly important. I didn’t realize just how important it was until after I graduated. Stay in touch with your professors and mentors after graduation, they can put you into contact with people in your field. Look into volunteer and community service opportunities in the community–it’s a great way to do something productive and meet people to network with. You never know what sort of opportunities may fall into your lap, take advantage of those.

If you’re in search of a job post-graduation, apply for everything. If it is mildly interesting and you’re mostly qualified, apply. Your first job probably won’t be your dream job but apply for your dream job anyway. Write a new cover letter with each application and tweak your resume to be tailored towards each specific job. You will get rejections, you will get people who never contact you back, you will get interviews, and you will get a job. It takes time, but stay positive. Do practice interviews with your friends or even yourself. Research frequently asked interview questions and prepare answers to those in advance. Remember that you are on your own journey and it doesn’t have to match up to exactly what your friends and peers seem to be up to.

If you’re going to grad school, congrats! This is another huge step in life and I’m proud of you for being accepted and continuing to reach for your goals. Remember the study skills you’ve learned so far and the most effective ways you personally learn and apply those. Connect with people– peers, professors, mentors… network! Remember to take care of yourself, too. Sleep, eat, hydrate, go for a walk. You are your most important asset, so make sure you are taking care of you.

If you aren’t sure what your next step is, that is okay too! That’s where I was. That’s where a lot of people are. Take some time and do some soul-searching–figure out what you really want to do in life and what you’re passionate about, and start taking steps toward achieving those things. Don’t forget that as alumni you have access to various career services and career fairs, too. I’ve discovered that a lot of adults still don’t know “what they want to be when they grow up”, and that is perfectly okay. Stay positive.

Lastly, you are graduating from The Ohio State University, and that is nothing to scoff at. I’m proud of you. Lots of people are proud of you. Take a moment to be proud of yourself, and then go out there and tackle the world–in whatever way makes the most sense to you.

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