The idea of going to college for four years to emerge with the promise of a full-time job is a fading dream, vision and goal of today’s millennial’s.
Instead, as a community of confused post-grads, most are seeking alternatives that could last them two to three years before jumping into the black hole of 40 hour work weeks, regimented lifestyle, and most importantly, responsibility.
It’s true that (on paper) we have the rest of our lives to work, so why should we rush it? Of course there are other reasons to seek full-time employment other than just a pay check. It’s the more responsible choice for incentives such as a 401K, health benefits, paid-time off, resume building, establishing relationships, networking, etc. And for some people, this is exactly what they work toward during their time in college. For others, they want more time to do other things besides work, things that are fulfilling, memorable and meaningful. Although the people around them may not agree, like their parents, it’s important that everyone have the option to take a path other than the 9-5 sentence immediately following college graduation.
Traveling is a big alternative. In a way, the 12 years leading up to college graduation has prepared millennial’s for this. We spend a large portion of our education learning about all there is to see and do in this crazy world, it’s only right to seize the opportunity to actually experience some of it instead of just reading about it. In addition, if you’re like me and living at your parents, it’s also a good time to travel financially as you may not be paying rent yet.
Some may also incorporate more schooling into their travels by working towards a master’s degree or doctorate internationally, which is both productive and adventurous. Traveling can also bring perspective into your life and open up different opportunities that may not have existed otherwise.
Taking an internship instead a job right away is a common choice that I’ve been hearing about more and more from recent graduates. Sometimes it can also be necessary if you’re determined to enter a certain field. Whether it be paid or unpaid, sometimes you have to take this route, especially when your job search becomes discouraging.
Volunteering can be a common venture for some. Whether it be a week, month, or a year, there are so many different programs, both domestic and international, working with different organizations that are always looking for more hands. This is a good opportunity to gain some perspective as well as defer your loans while you figure out what it is you really wish to peruse. Also can’t hurt to add it to a resume…
Working a part-time job while working on job applications is something everyone should consider. If all you do is fix up cover letters, send out resumes and compulsively check your inbox in the hopes of getting an interview, you will drive yourself mad. Fill some of your time with a mindless job with people your own age, while also making some cash. The job search can be longer than expected, I can tell you that first hand, and I’m sure many would agree.
Going back to school is popular, whether it be to advance your degree in what you studied in undergrad, or, completely changing career paths and going back to study an entirely different subject. But, this leads to more debt (for most people) which is something I’m personally trying to avoid.
Or, if you went and got your given degree and never want to succumb to the 9-5 lifestyle, as many choose not to, that’s more than okay too. I think the most important choice you can make is just to choose what makes you happy even when others don’t always approve or agree with your decision.
There are also so many alternatives for people to ponder, these are just a handful of choices. If you have any other ideas, please comment below!