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The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs,

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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Main image courtesy of Current School News.

Well, you did it, you graduated college! Congratulations are in order for your achievement. While we’re sure you’d like a little time to bask in the glory of completing your degree, you can’t help but wonder…what’s next? Although the past four years were a lot of work, it all pays off when you can finally walk across the stage to get your diploma. But after that, you might be wondering what’s in store?

After all, one chapter of your life has ended, and the next one has just begun. If you’re a little unsure, that’s completely normal. Your time at college was meant to prepare you to step out into the real adult world, but that doesn’t mean you have to have every detail worked out just yet. 

While post-graduation is a fun time to celebrate your accomplishments, it’s also important to think about what you want to do next. You don’t need to do everything on this list, but consider what your short and long term goals are, and see which options best suit your needs such as:

  • Living at home or moving out
  • Thinking about volunteer or part-time work
  • Spending time networking
  • Getting ready for more schooling

Remember, it’s Okay Not to Have a Master Plan Yet

You really don’t have to have it all figured out

college graduate on stage
Take some time after graduation to figure things out for yourself. Image courtesy of CNBC.

“Life Moves Pretty Fast. If You Don’t Stop And Look Around Once In A While, You Could Miss It.” — Ferris Buller.

We should all take a little time and let that iconic quote just sink in for a minute, because let’s be honest, it’s completely true! Besides being a fantastic movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was really about taking advantage of the time we have here. And what that doesn’t mean is planning everything in life to a tee, because let’s face it, sometimes things just are out of your control.  

If you’ve just graduated and are worried that you’re the only one who doesn’t know what they want to do with their life, you aren’t! Lots of students are unsure what the next step is after graduation. After all, you’ve just spent the last four years working towards a very specific goal—your degree— and this included meeting very specific requirements to ensure you could successfully graduate. 

The real world doesn’t have such rigid parameters when it comes to defining who you are, what field you want to work in, and where you’d like to see yourself. This is why it can be a little scary when you’re entering the world post-graduation for the first time. 

But don’t forget, this is also one of the most exciting times of your life! This is when you get to choose what you’d like to explore, make mistakes, and then learn from those mistakes. No one has a master plan after graduation, it’s all a series of trial and error until you find a groove that works for you. 

So, what are the next steps after graduation? Let’s take a look at some of your options! 

Decide on Your Next Living Situation

Determine if you want to branch out on your own, or come home again

One of the first steps you should take after graduation is to determine if it’s the right time for you to look for your own place to live, or if it makes more sense to move back in with your parents at home. This is a decision that is based on your own personal situation, and neither choice is better than the other. While your own space might be ideal, sometimes it’s just not a feasible move right after college. That’s why we thought it would be helpful to explore both options, so no matter which one you choose, you can build your space just the way you want it.

Moving out on your own

If you decide that moving into your own apartment is the best decision, that’s great news. This is your first chance to really get your own space set up. Although living away from home while you’re at school was also an opportunity to branch out on your own, it was still under the control of your school, and likely had different rules than an apartment. 

Most students who choose to go out on their own post-graduation do so because they have a job lined up, whether that’s in their current city or somewhere else. Depending on your situation, you may also need roommates to help split the rent and utilities. This is a great opportunity to plunge head first into new experiences, and learn along the way. Of course, you’ll need a couple of basics when you take the leap and decide to branch out into a new place.

  • Bedroom must-haves
  • Kitchen essentials
  • Bathroom decor
  • Living room staples
bed set
Setting up your new bedroom with a fancy bed set is definitely something to look forward to. Image courtesy of OCM.

When you move into your new place, one of the first things you’ll have to figure out is how you want to set up your bedroom. There are all kinds of styles you can follow, from boho, to minimalistic, to an artsy vibe— any of which will look good in your new space. Now that you’re no longer in a dorm room, it’s time to upgrade your comforter and sheet set. 

The pale green of this comforter featured above would look fantastic in any room, and would complement wood flooring or wooden bedroom furniture with ease. Make sure to add some green plants to complete the look!

You can check out even more bedding options in all kinds of colors and styles here

When it comes to kitchen essentials, this may be where you need some extra items. After all, dorm rooms aren’t known to be great places for cooking. When you’re first starting out in your new digs, take some time to pick up the kitchen basics, because it gets very expensive to eat out or order in all the time. Plus, cooking is a great life skill that you only get better at the more you practice, and it’s a lot of fun to practice! 

Kitchen basics include:

  • A set of pots and pans
  • Kitchen knives
  • Utensils such as wooden spoons
  • Baking sheets
  • Plates and glassware
  • Flatware

While there are certainly more items you can add to make your kitchen comfortable and useful such as appliances, rugs, and additional storage, you’ll be off to a good start just including some of these basics. You can check out OCM’s options for kitchen items here

One of the best parts about moving on from dorm life is that you no longer need to share a communal bathroom. While that is considered one of the many quintessential parts of the college experience, there’s nothing quite like having your own bathroom again. And having your own bathroom means getting to decorate it the way you want too. 

shower accessories
Who wouldn’t want to see this beautiful shower curtain greet them each morning? Image courtesy of OCM.

When you first start out, you’ll want to make sure you have a shower curtain, towels, a shower mat, and places to store your toothbrush and other bathroom essentials. You can choose to go with a color scheme, or a theme such as flowers or geometric designs. Your apartment’s bathroom might not be huge, but you can definitely make it feel like your own personal spa.

You can pick up everything you need for your new bathroom here!

And finally, you’ve got to make sure your apartment’s living space speaks to your personality (and that of your roommates’ if you have them). It doesn’t matter that you don’t have completely matching furniture, or that your end tables aren’t all Instagram-worthy. You want to make sure you have a space with items that mean something to you, and really tie your living space together. So why not frame your diploma in a handmade frame?

Moving back home

If you’re moving back home you can still make your room reflect your personality. Moving back in with your parents shouldn’t be something you’re embarrassed about, in fact, it’s a great way to save money to put towards your own space! Dismiss those feelings of not being truly independent just because you’re back in your old room—this time around, you made the choice to save money and decide what you want to pursue next.

While you’re living at home, you can still work at updating your room to reflect where you are now. When you left, you were just out of high school. But now you’re a college grad who is ready to take on new things! Switch up your bedding to a more elegant option, or choose to add a new rug, curtains, or lamp to change things up a little.

All of these things are easily done, and can make a huge difference without costing too much or taking up too much space. 

Consider Volunteering or Getting a Part Time Job

Both can help figure out what avenues you’d like to pursue professionally

retail shop
Start getting experience as a volunteer, intern, or with another type of job out of your comfort zone. Image courtesy of Racked.

Now that you have decided where you’re living, you can either start your job if you’re moving out on your own, or decide to volunteer or get a part-time job if you’re moving back home. One of the biggest perks of moving back in with your parents is that you don’t have to worry about paying rent, utilities, or for additional expenses like groceries. 

It makes post-graduation the perfect time to get experience in an area you’re interested in, by either volunteering, interning, or working part-time. All three of these avenues are great ways to get experience and gain valuable skills, without having to worry about making ends meet. You can get a job at your local retail or service industry business and start making money to save for an apartment, additional schooling, or even a trip abroad. 

Volunteering or interning is also a great way you can get your toes wet without having to make the large commitment of holding down a steady job. Here you can learn, for example, if you’d like to pursue additional schooling in teaching after spending a summer with AmeriCorps. Any volunteer or other work experience is an important step towards you finding your calling!

Spend Some Time Networking

Get to know people in your area

In addition to volunteering or interning, it’s also a great idea to start networking. If you graduated with expertise in a certain area, but just can’t seem to find a job in that field after graduation, don’t lose hope. It’s hard to land a job right after school, but there are things you can do to stay in the loop. 

Networking with other professionals in your area is a great way to build connections. Even if there isn’t a group specifically for the type of job you’re looking for, there are definitely other people who are at least willing to make connections. Although this sounds intimidating, not to worry, it gets easier the more you do it. You never know who you might meet at a local networking function, so stick with it and see what develops!

Prepare for More School

Start getting prepared for your next step in schooling!

If you’ve taken some time after graduation to think about what your long term goal is and it requires additional skills or degrees, then you’ll need to consider applying to schools. Whether this is law school, medical school, or graduate school, it will take time to research, apply, take entrance exams, and work out your finances for additional schooling. 

Make sure this is something you really want to pursue, as additional schooling can also be quite expensive. Do your research!

You most certainly do not need to have a master plan as soon as you graduate. Take some time and figure out what it is that you really want to be involved in, and whether that entails you moving to a new place or moving back home, you’ll be sure to put your best foot forward.