Life After College: Figuring Out A Career Path

Life after College: Figuring out a career path | Cocktails and Ambition

Life after college can be a huge shock for so many people. College seems like such an ideal path and a no brainer for some people right after highschool.  The picture of going away on your own for the first time, parties and meeting new people is a 4 year whirlwind of ups and downs.  However, once those 4 years are up sometimes all the fun, the illusion comes crashing down, and we are often left to wonder if we picked the right program or career path. 

It’s completely normal to feel this way

Firstly, it is completely normal to feel this way. Graduating college is a huge accomplishment and a huge change and milestone. The weight of it and the promises of all that’s to come with life after college can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. You are not alone. It sometimes feels like you have to make a decision in that very moment that dictates the rest of your life and in some ways it might but it’s never as permanent or as damning as we may feel it is.

Stop Comparing

 A huge part of feeling out of place in life after college is comparing your journey with those around you. Especially watching people on social media, making big career announcements while you are still unsure about what you want to do. Start by getting rid of the FOMO and realize that everyone is on their own journey and honestly not everything on social media is as it seems. You don’t get to see the struggle it takes to get to that point and hyper-focusing on other people’s journeys can stifle your growth and your own journey.

Get Clarity

After graduation, it might seem like a race to the white picket fence i.e stable job, house, kids and a cute dog named fido but it’s important to slow down and use this time after school to figure out what you really want and experiment with different things and fields that add value. The path you decide to go on after college will depend on this and also dictate the type of career that might be suitable for you. 

At the same time get clarity on the skills you have/ and where you are with those skills. Are you a beginner, intermediate, advanced? Are these skills useful in the field that you want to be in, are you missing essential skills and if you are, how can you close that gap?
For some closing, the gap might mean more specialized  schooling,a certificate program, an internship or a starter job that provides you with the key skill you’ll need

Plan and Implement

Once you have clarity on the life/career you want and the gaps in your skills to get there, it’s time to get working. We can daydream all day but without action, they remain dreams. Take steps to network, find a mentor, apply for jobs, apply for workshops and grants that’ll help you in building the skills you need or in gaining the experience you need.

Be patient

Not everything happens overnight and sometimes overnight success is not sustainable. This is something I have to constantly remind myself of. It’s like a puzzle piece, you know the big picture, but you have to add the pieces one after another and over time things start to come together. Your path after college is similar, it might not be a linear and immediate path to success but each step you take is working to build the big picture. So be patient and don’t be too hard on your self if things take a bit longer than expected

Much Needed Reminder from the Cocktails and Ambition Instagram

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A much needed reminder 💫 via @kathrynbedell

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