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Our Graduating College Experts

Elina Furman

Elina Furman

Consultant and author of The Everything After College Book...

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Andy Masters

Andy Masters

Author of Life After College: What to Expect and How to Succeed...

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Marcos Salazar

Marcos Salazar

Author and Founder of the Life After College Project

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There is Life After College Graduation

Finding a job was high on Chris Spagnuolo’s list of fears after college. The University of Southern California graduate moved from Los Angeles back to New York and wasn’t sure he was going to make it. “Finding the right job, as well as one that paid enough to be able to pay bills and loans, was stressful,” he admits. “I also had a fear of not doing as well as my friends and classmates. They had secured jobs in consulting and investment banking well in advance of graduation.”

Chris realized that getting discouraged over his friends’ successes wasn’t going to get him a job any sooner. He focused on his career hunt and was able to find a great job in publicity, an area that genuinely interested him. “In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t allowed that to stress me out so much,” he explains. “Don’t give up or start sulking if you don’t have a job. Eventually you will find one, but it may take some time.”

When it comes to deciding what type of job or career you want, don’t be afraid to make a mistake: The average person will have more than 10 jobs during his or her lifetime. Treat your first job as a learning experience and as a way to determine what you love to do. It is the starting point of your future career.

A Career Versus a Calling

There’s no rule that you have to get a full-time job right away, so don’t panic if you aren’t ready to enter the corporate workforce just yet. In addition to the Peace Corps or graduate school, you could always follow your dream of becoming a bartender or surfing instructor. “If you’ve always wanted to be a ski instructor, do it during the first month, six months or year after you graduate,” Wallace advises. Once you enter the workforce, taking an extended period of time off to follow your dreams may not be as easy.

In the first 30 days, be sure to reward yourself for all your hard work during the past four years. If that reward is heading to the beach or traveling through Europe, then pack light. Just remember to stay focused and use your time off to think about how you can parlay your interests into future jobs.

Anne Buckley, a 2007 graduate from the University of the Pacific, thought that she wanted to become a lawyer but wasn’t really sure if it suited her personality. After graduation, she traveled around the United States and Europe, all the while thinking about what she wanted to do with her life. “Law school ended up not being something I really wanted to do,” she explains. “I felt like I could have a better career in nursing. I have more of a passion for taking care of people rather than suing them.” Anne quickly applied to a nursing program and has since started classes.

Posted: 10/3/07