Holy mortar boards, Batman! I cannot believe that it has been a year since graduation. In light of that mystifying fact, I thought that it might be fun to share a few of the things that the class of 2014 can expect of life after graduation.
1) Free Time
You don’t have hours of homework anymore. You don’t have to go to varsity sport practice every day. You don’t have student senate meetings or newspaper layout or what have you. Even if you start a full-time job right out of school and volunteer or join a club sports team, you are still most likely going to have way more free time than you did in college. It will feel strange at first. You might experience phantom homework syndrome–that indefinable task that must be completed, but doesn’t actually exist, nagging at the back of your mind. However, after a while, you will embrace the freedom to read books for fun and hang out at bars for long lengths of time. No guilt necessary.
2) It Takes More Effort to Get Involved
Student activities, impromptu frisbee games, free concerts no longer wait just outside your door. You have to go out and find them. Friends and classmates scatter to the wind. Some might stick around, but work schedules will differ. It takes more logistical effort to round people up for a game of Cards Against Humanity or find like-minded people to advocate for coal divestment with. Plenty of opportunities for community involvement exist, but they aren’t going to float your way on the breeze.
Oh, that. Yeah. Unfortunately, rent and water and Wi Fi and student loan payments and hard cider all require funding. So maybe try to make some money, preferably in some legal manner. And be careful about going crazy with spending after college. Traveling took a good chunk out of my savings, and if I had not been lucky enough to find a job soon after I started looking, I would have been living with my mom for a lot longer.
4) People Want to Help You
This isn’t something that changes after graduation. In college, you have professors encouraging your studies and extracurricular pursuits. After college, you can still get in touch with your old professors. You can also look to your employers as mentors, to fellow alumni, to other professionals in your field, and your peers. If you have the courage to ask for help and advice, it will usually be willingly and happily provided. Don’t worry. You don’t have to strike out on adulthood alone.
(Side note: Every job that I have been offered since graduating has resulted from asking alumni and previous employers for help.)
5) New Endeavors Pay Off
When I graduated, I had no clue what I was going to do with my double-major in East Asian Studies and Studio Art. At some point I decided it might be fun to try graphic design, so I taught myself how to use vector graphic software. Then, I posted on LinkedIn that I was looking for freelance work. Three Lewis & Clark alumni responded, and I wound up doing graphic design work for all of them. In some roundabout way, that led to me pursuing freelance social media consulting as well, which led to the job that I am starting next week: Communications Coordinator at Northwest Health Foundation. I’m certain that this job will lead to even bigger and better opportunities.
(Shameless plug: If you like the Facebook page I am working on for one LC alum, you will have access to all of the cute videos, interesting facts, and pictures of artwork that I post on the page. And, I will say thank you.)
p.s. If you have any questions about info interviews or job searching or are looking for someone to connect with in your field, I would be happy to share my resources and year of insight in the process, for what it is worth.