Most students I speak to are in such a rush to get started and jump into a job – some do in a flurry of activity the day/weeks after they graduate from University/College. Some do well with this approach, others stop in a blaze of confusion which leaves them wondering "what just happened".
Others I speak to take a different approach. They choose to travel, some fall into the comfort of a family business, part-time job or just hang out with friends on a beach, whilst they carefully consider their next steps.
I did the friends and beach thing.
None of these are in fact, the wrong approach – there are so many ways to to handle this time. In essence you have to do what fits best with your own personal circumstances and reality.
When I finished high school I stopped and reflected – it wasn't planned because I didn't get into the University/College course I wanted – so I didn't really have a choice! I spent that summer on the beach with friends wondering what the next year would look like.
Taking stock and reflecting isn't such a bad thing in hindsight. It allowed me to better understand what I was grateful for and the context of this juncture in my life.
Here's a great exercise that helps you understand moments like this.
Think about five key moments in your life so far that have shaped the person you are.
The day you were accepted into the course you just graduated from, a birthday, the day you met your partner, the day you were overcome with a profound realisation that you wanted to be a Designer. The day someone close to you was no longer close to you. All are relevant. There is no wrong answer.
Spend a few minutes on this (don't make it a huge thing) and next to each milestone, write down the year it happened and next to that, write down what it meant to you, and now it shaped your journey in one simple sentence. Think about the people who influenced the event and the things that you did to make it happen.
Here are some of the things that would be on my list:
- One year after high school—I realised that my high school friends would never be my adulthood friends and that was OK.
- Getting into a University degree after three failed attempts—persistence paid.