Thursday, April 19, 2018

Graduation is Around the Corner: Now What?

Recently, I was introduced to a student who was now entering a new phase in her life. She is about to graduate from college and is currently doing research on what she should do following graduation. Should she go to graduate school and attain a graduate assistantship? What university should she attend? Should she take a gap year and do post-bach work to enter medical school? Should she apply for a full-time job and take a break from school? The questions may seem endless, and that is okay!

I distinctly remember my journey of graduating college and experiencing what seemed like the highest anxiety of my life. The anxiety came to a point where I was no longer able to make a clear decision, but going back and forth between one option to the next. Much to my parents’ chagrin, I walked across that stage, gathered my diploma, and was still unsure on where I should go from there. The summer seemed daunting with no prospects, but I decided to hold off on my decision for a little bit longer.

Now here is the part where I tell you the secret to how I finally made a decision, and knew it was the right one for me. Unfortunately, there is no secret or magic tip. In reality, deciding a career path is hard! It seems uncertain, and how will you know you made the right decision? Well the truth is, you need to do some research. It is okay to realize you do not want a career in your major! There are plenty of ways to market yourself correctly for the path you want, and the Career Center is here for it! I would say what really helped me was reaching out to people and asking a million questions. Informational interviews are the best way to find out the ins and outs of any opportunity.

The key to your path is understanding your values. For example, if you value diversity and inclusion, make sure to ask the organization what policies they have about that. If you value flexible time or a casual work attire, then look for companies in which this is an option. And know that it is okay to feel as if you made the wrong decision. Take a deep breath, decide where you want to go next, and take the necessary steps to make the change happen.

And in case you are still feeling suspense as to what I ended up deciding on, I decided to work the summer at a bank. I then decided that Fall to obtain my Master of Education in School Counseling from Hofstra and take a position as a Career Fellow. I have since then switched from School Counseling to the Mental Health Counseling program, and am now a current Graduate Assistant for the Career Development team. Not everything turns out the way we anticipated but that is what makes life exciting!

Kristi Riecker
Graduate Assistant, Career Development Team

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