The academic year has recently ended, and with it, another graduation season. For new post-graduates, you have your diploma in hand, the years of your educational trek behind you, and the world is yours to conquer…if only you could just figure out how. Indeed, there are few questions in a young person’s life more panic inducing than. “What will you do now?”
Today’s headlines and social media all seem to scream the same thing: the job market is failing our generation and soon all the good jobs will be taken. This is terrifying; once you felt so qualified for life and graduation could not have come soon enough. Now, you find yourself without a step-by-step plan and having finished school feels a little premature. In fact, the idea of obtaining a job worthy of the rest of your life makes you sweat and want to bury yourself deep within that lengthy television series you unfortunately just found online.
That being said, taking time between graduation and a career is one of the most underrated things you can do. Yes, it might feel initially irresponsible to not immediately throw yourself into the first place willing to hire you, but investing in your future goes beyond diving headfirst into the job market. Besides, how is volunteering or working an unpaid internship elsewhere any worse than mooching around your parents’ house for the next few months, desperately seeking any job that is remotely paid? Spending time abroad gives invaluable life experience that you cannot gain from sitting behind a desktop computer or in a cubicle. To use the cliché: The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read a page.
If feeling doubtful that travelling could benefit your future, hear me out. It allows for immeasurable personal growth that is not only useful while abroad, but also in the workforce back at home. Through learning other languages, for example, you develop communication and cross-cultural skills that can get you miles ahead in future jobs; independence gained will help you become self-reliant and productive; witnessing the world through others’ eyes will make you more humble and self-aware, qualities that we need a bit more of in today’s world. So, in response to the dreaded question of “what will you do next,” defend yourself as not only becoming a more employable individual, but an overall better human being!
I realize this may sound easier said than done. You’ve just made one of the biggest financial investments of your LIFE by going to college, and may have little to no disposable income. Yet, this does not mean going back abroad is impossible. Plenty of programs are seeking individuals much like you—scholarly, young, willing, and wanting to experience more of life before making long-term career decisions. Organizations are willing to pay you to teach English, do environmental restoration, help in medical clinics, and many other endeavors.
If you yearn to be overseas and exploring, there is no time like the present. While this limbo-like state of post-graduation may seem daunting, it has more to offer than you would think. Without weighty responsibilities that tend to accumulate with years (a mortgage, marriage, children, etc.), you are primed for this opportunity. Fear not, the job market will continue to exist well beyond your return and, you will have ample opportunities to get locked into a career, should you desire. For now though, the world awaits you—go abroad!
Kate studied Environmental Studies with double minors in Political Science and French at Franklin University Switzerland (formerly Franklin College) in Lugano, Switzerland. She has additionally lived in Iceland, studied abroad in Chile, and spent ample time traversing other parts of the globe with her trusty pack. Having seen more countries than years on the earth, she has an unquenchable thirst for travel and exploring the natural environment. When not working as content editor of Life After Study Abroad, Kate can be found drinking maté, doing headstands, reading, or living in her tent. Feel free to message her about writing and the like: email@example.com.