I know first hand that working and going to school is mega stressful and exhausting. Graduation must seem like a light at the end of the tunnel, except for the fact that whether you’ve been working or not, people are expecting you to land your dream job right out of the gates. Well, I’m here to tell you that not having a job right after graduation is totally and perfectly OK.
I’ve worked throughout my entire college career — mostly out of necessity (living in LA is expensive, y’all), but also because I know the importance of having job experience before officially entering the "real" world. But when I left college, I realized I still had a lot of "figuring things out" to do before I was able to really start doing what I wanted, career-wise.
With graduation comes a lot of pressure to have a plan in place, but if you don't have something immediately lined up the second you walk across that stage with your diploma, not to worry. Take this time for yourself. I don’t think anyone would blame you for wanting to take a little break before putting yourself back out into the working world. Here are five reasons why it's completely fine if you don't have a job right after graduation.
1. You still might not be sure what your dream career even looks like
When I was a freshman in college nine years ago, I wanted to major in journalism so I could become one of those ball-busting newspaper reporters who exposed complicated conspiracies that would earn me a Pulitzer. But, um, yeah. That’s not where the journalism jobs are these days — and it took me a while to figure out how to refocus my career goals. I’m sure some of you are going through similar transformations regarding your intended job path. Take some time after graduation to figure out what your skills, interests, and goals are, so that when it comes time to find a job, you’re not trying to fit a square into a circle.
2. You have important things to learn they didn't teach you in school
Even if you spent the last four years hitting the books at school, you’re still going to need to learn some new skills. Use your work-free and school-free time to develop some resume builders that will help you land a job whenever you’re ready. This could be at an internship, or through a program like Lynda.com, which offers courses on web design, photography, business, education, and more. And even if you’re all set for your career path, you could always pick up something like needlework or tennis instead. If you're not going to do it now, when will you?
3. You have a chance to level up your life skills
College teaches you a little about a lot of things aside from your actual major — remember all those astronomy, art history, and theater classes you took for GE? But there is rarely a college class for Laundry 101 or Filing Your Darn Taxes 215. And once you get back to the grind of a 9-to-5, you’ll have even less time to hone these types of skills. Instead of rushing to get a job, use this time to at least learn to cook a few grownup adult meals.
4. Now is the best time to travel
Lots of people will tell you that you should travel after graduating from college (or even after high school) — and they’re right. While most college grads aren’t exactly financially capable of jetting off to Europe for the year, that doesn’t mean there still aren’t places you can go. You could take a road trip with your friends and split the costs, or you could volunteer with Habitat for Humanity or other humanitarian organizations that travel to other countries. I know it might be tough, but your life is only going to get more complicated and busy, and you might not get another chance.
5. You need to allow yourself some time to recharge
Graduating from college is similar to a breakup. It might be sad, it might be amicable, but it will take some adjusting to either way. For years, your life has been a structure of classes, studying, homework, projects, papers, exams, work, internships, sports, and whatever else you could fit into your day. Graduating from college and not immediately taking a job gives you the time to readjust and just relax a little. Don’t set an alarm to wake up, go see some matinees, attend some yoga classes — do things that you enjoy with no pressure, and bask in your achievement for a while.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy