3,827 students received degrees at LSU’s 277th commencement exercises on Friday, May 18. Katie Mussmann, a Spring 2012 USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent, gives fellow graduates a few tips on how to start life after graduation.
Well, you’ve finally done it. You’ve graduated and officially become a scholar.
However, after the cloud of graduation hats and diploma covers settle, what is a new graduate to do? If you haven’t found a job yet, are waiting to start graduate school or are very lucky and just waiting for your job to start, here are a few tips to keep the after-graduation crazies away.
Embrace an attitude of gratitude
It’s never too late to adopt an attitude of gratitude. Your mom will be hounding you to send your thank you cards for graduation gifts and to friends and family that attended your graduation ceremony. However, I am going to take it a step further. If you have some time on your hands, and a bit of stationary, take a few minutes and write some well deserved thank you’s to your favorite professors and mentors. Heck, even write one to your least favorite professor — they need love too.
Clean out your email box
I know this may sound stilly, but it feels great once you do it. If you are like me and never sorted all of your emails into folders or deleted junk mail, it’s time to get out the trash can. This can be a cleansing process starting with all of the old emails from your professors that you would prefer to delete. It’s also a fun walk down memory lane.
Visit your family and friends
Maybe you were one of the select few that was able to drive home every weekend and see your family. However, for many of us, we do not live close to home and haven’t for the last four to five years. So, jump on an airplane or road trip it up. If you won’t be working, bumming (in this economy) or going to graduate school close to home take this opportunity to re-visit the ones that love you most. It might be Thanksgiving or Christmas before you see them next.
Adopt a new hobby
After I graduated, I struggled with knowing exactly what to do. A lot of my old hobbies were tied to my university. So, my friends and I tried to come up with new hobbies. Take up painting, playing and instrument or Zumba. Another friend suggested belly dancing or becoming a handy-woman. Though the latter two may not be my cup of tea, they might be yours. No matter what you like to do, get out there and do it. Once you start working, looking for a job or going to school you need an activity that will keep you exited about life after graduation.
At my smaller department graduation ceremony, the speaker handed each graduate an envelope with ten dollars and a note in it. The note said “The only way to be happy is to make others happy.” Maybe you don’t have tons of money — or frankly any at all (let’s face it, you’re a poor starving graduate), but any little donation to your favorite department or club is usually well received and appreciated. Also, if you still live by your university, you can also donate your time to tutor, mento, or beautify your campus.
No matter what you do, do it with meaning and heart. Stay focused but have fun. College was definitely one of the best times of your life, but now is a new best chapter of your life. So, do it with no regrets and have fun. After all, you’ve finally done it!