As graduation day rapidly approaches for hundreds of seniors at the University of Nevada, Reno, the soon to be graduates have taken to LinkedIn, rewritten their resumes and applied to as many jobs as possible. What they fail to see is that post-graduation may be the only time in the next few decades of their lives where they are offered a chance to relax and enjoy their freedom.
For more than 16 years, you have been forced into school and the last four have cost you thousands of dollars, leaving you in debt and searching desperately for a job to help pay it off. Once you get that job, you will be constantly paying off loans not only for college, but eventually for a house and a car and the cycle continues. College and life force you into an endless cycle and a rut. Post-graduation is a time to put that cycle on pause and enjoy a few moments of freedom.
Stop checking LinkedIn and email every 5 seconds and take a break to go on a road trip with friends, or just pack up and move to a different city. Get out of your college town and your parents’ house. You have already learned and experienced everything college can provide for you, and now it’s time to go out into the world and make new mistakes, memories and experiences.
You go to school to make your parents happy and you get a “good job” to again make your parents happy and then pay for stuff to make your future family happy. Post-graduation may be the only time you can get away with taking care of yourself and only yourself. You don’t have school anymore tying you down to any particular city, your good friends will understand that you have to leave, now is the time to be selfish.
It is not the time to work your butt off for a boss who doesn’t even know your name. It is the time to go out and meet new weird people, who knows maybe real human contact is a better networking mechanism than LinkedIn. Don’t think about your parents right now, they should understand that this time is for you.
People want you to have a plan and will tell you that the best time to get a job is when you are fresh out of college and have learned everything you need to get a “good job.” People will say the more time you spend out of college and not working is the more time you waste and employers will wonder what you’ve been doing. But I think the time you take for yourself will give you more knowledge about the world and yourself than any school or job could give you.
A good job for you isn’t the same thing as a good job for anyone else. You don’t need an office job or even an office in a building. You can do anything you want as long as it pays the bills. Be a bartender, be a gardener, work for you parents’ dry cleaning business or be a bum. Just have fun doing it.
People say now is the time to make a plan, but I think if there is any good time not to have a plan, it is now when you can go anywhere with anyone and don’t have to call in sick or email a professor.
What college has drilled so deeply into you is that you must work hard to graduate as soon as possible and then go right to graduate school and then find a job. Sometimes you hear about that kid who took a year off and it is such a bad thing. I used to look at my graduating friends who didn’t have jobs yet, or were planning on taking time off and I felt bad and promised myself that I wouldn’t do that. But now that graduation is upon us again, I feel that now more than ever we need to celebrate our accomplishments and enjoy our freedoms.