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The Graduate Diaries Part Three // What Exactly ARE Your Options?

19 Feb 2016

Let's call this one: What exactly ARE your options?

One of the biggest mistake that soon-to-be graduates can make is assuming that they have very limited options, be that in career choice, what to do after University altogether. You don't even have to get a job straight away but when you have people constantly bugging you with question after question it can get a little stressful, and there are times when you feel like you'll be disappointing everyone if you don't make your mind up immediately. At the end of the day, it's your life, not theirs, and there are three things that I think all soon-to-be graduates should remember:

Firstly, your two options are NOT to get a job for September or fail at life.

Secondly, you don't actually have to decide right now.

Thirdly, whatever you decide doesn't have to be forever.

So, what can you do next?

1. Take a year out to travel
If you didn't take a gap year and have never been travelling, or you're just stuck with an overwhelming desire to see the world (like me), then taking a gap year after graduation is a great idea. Now really is the best time because you have no career or studying commitments so you're as free as a bird ready to fly around the world.

2. Work abroad
I know a couple of people who moved abroad for the year once they graduated and taught English in some amazing and exciting places. Thailand, Vietnam, you name it, they'll be the opportunity to teach there (probably.) You can take a TEFL course which is expensive, but you will get your money back and it will be worth it. There are other options for working abroad as well, especially if you're learning a language and want to improve it. If that's the case then I'd highly recommend working as opposed to studying, as you're pushed out of your comfort zone and forced to immerse yourself in the language.

3. Get onto a Graduate Scheme
This is the best option for those of you who know what you want to do and already have the confidence and motivation to go and get exactly that. If you have the time then just getting through applications is great experience and practice, whether or not you end up with a job or not.

4. Apply for entry level jobs once you've graduated
A lot of companies, in fact, the vast majority of companies don't have grad schemes. The reason why everyone goes for the big old grad schemes is because they're the ones that are advertised everywhere, they're the ones that your university will push you to apply for, and they're the ones that look the 'most impressive'. The applications for these big schemes take a very, very long time to do and require a lot of effort, so if you have that time then great.

5. Carry on studying
Whether that's a whole new degree, a Masters, or something else, further studying is always a good idea if you want to go into something very specialised, or if you just can't get enough of studying.

If you graduated a while ago, what did you do straight after?

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Please feel free to leave a comment, it really makes my day! Imogen x