As you cross that stage on graduation day and one chapter ends, another exciting chapter begins! This is a time of momentous opportunity, and while you might be feeling overwhelmed with all of the directions your life could take, there is no need to worry.
Be it your professional future, your personal life or simply matters of the heart – no matter which path you choose, the key is to remember as long as you stay true to yourself and your goals, you can shape your future the way you want it. After all, it’s your life, your future. So, how do you make sure you stay true to yourself? Here are four life milestones that you’ll soon reach, with helpful tips to consider.
Education, career and beyond
With many paths to choose, where do you start? The best place to start from is knowing your options. At this time in your life, many of your peers could be heading to university. This could be the logical next step for you – or it might not be. To determine whether pursuing a higher degree is the right fit for you, you could attend an orientation day at university or talk to counselors at school to get to know university life first-hand, and find out if a certain area of study might be interesting for you. This interest could become your major, and maybe even the focus of your career.
If further studies aren’t of interest to you, and you find yourself ready for the professional world, a traineeship might be the right choice for you. It would give you the opportunity to gain on-the-job training in a field that interests you, and learn from seasoned professionals. Similar to a traineeship, an internship is another option to “try on” a professional career and see if it’s the right fit for you. An internship is the perfect chance to a get a genuine look behind the scenes at a company or organization, and it’s possible to intern while attending university, too.
Do any of these options sound right for you? If not, taking a gap year is also a great option. You can use it for whatever feels best – traveling, helping out in the community or supporting social projects. A gap year right after graduation is the perfect time to gather valuable insights for making decisions later in life.
As you grow older, starting a family with the person you love may become a priority to you. While many young people don’t feel ready to start a family right after graduation, for some, it is the right decision. If you don’t feel ready yet for your own family, but want to start one later in your life, contraception is something to have in mind. This is a time when you’ll be meeting new people and starting new relationships, and there’s nothing more empowering than always being prepared. If you are unsure what might be the best option for you, talk to a healthcare provider to learn about contraception options. For more information, you can find an overview of different methods available here, or complete this quiz to give you an idea of which contraceptive best fits your lifestyle.
If starting a family is the next step for you, make sure to consult trusted resources such as your healthcare provider. Your doctor can provide you and your partner with your options for starting a family, and explain what will happen once you decide to stop your choice of contraception.
Home sweet home
As you embark on your next phase of life, you might also have the opportunity to change your living situation. Based on what you feel comfortable with and what you plan to spend each month, there are a number of options available to you: renting an apartment on your own, sharing a place with friends or roommates, subleasing a room at someone else’s place, or living on-campus in a dorm. If you prefer staying close to your parents or family – or find that it’s the most financially responsible option for you – living at home is a good option too.
Each option has its advantages, so consider which one you feel most at ease with. If you like living with others, roommates, subleasing a room or living with your parents are probably at the top of your list. If you attend university, choosing to live in a dorm is a cost-efficient option. It’s also a good way to quickly meet new people. Keep in mind, however, living in dorms provide a lot of opportunities for fun (read: dorm parties!), but they may not be the best fit for someone who prefers a quieter atmosphere.
All in all, it’s helpful to consider what your finances will allow, and what kind of home environment you feel most comfortable in. And if you do make a choice that turns out not to suit you, remember that the situation is temporary, and you can always move again if you really need to.
Staying in touch
In a time of great life changes, staying in touch with your friends might not always be easy. You might encounter that one friend moves away for a new job, and another becomes a parent. But even if you don’t see each other every day, and find your lives have taken different paths, there are plenty of ways to stay connected, like texting, social media or a heartfelt letter. Use this time apart as a chance to discover new things about each other! Plan to meet up at your new favorite local restaurant, schedule a sleepover at your friend’s, or plan a trip with your friends.
As you find that your old friendships evolve, and some go away, it may help to remember that this time in your life is also a perfect opportunity for meeting new people. Equally, making an effort to continue to discover who you are and finding friends who are interested in the same things you are will help you to grow as a person.
No matter what path you take post-grad – starting at university or a new career, building a family or exploring the world – knowing your options and choosing wisely is always the smart way to go.