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What Are Your Plans After Graduation?

By Joana Santillana
On May 15, 2012

  • Graduation. Courtesy photo from

It is the most dreaded day in a student's academic life. Graduates finally walk down the aisle, accompanied by fellow classmates who have worked just as hard to get to this very precise moment. Yet, they seem oblivious to the fact that even though they spent around 4 years building up to this moment, the sensation of relief and accomplishment will only last for a few days before they comprehend that this is not just merely the end of their college life , but the beginning of their real life. The ceremony is magnificent and the guest speaker is inspirational and pleasing. She encourages graduates to follow their dreams to wherever they may lead. However, this is just rhetoric, actual practice must be put in place in order to accomplish such aspirations and turn them into reality.

It is normal for students to be afraid at first. After all, this is a new stage in their lives where they will put into practice everything they learned in college. Many students find themselves in a panic when they realize that they have no clue of what is next in their lives. This feeling, as opposed to what most of them believe, is completely normal and is almost a rite of passage in a way. If you are feeling confident about what you want to do to with your life and believe you've got it all figured out, that's when I would start worrying. Uncertainty and doubt are important, they make people strive for better things.

My suggestion would be to just go with the flow and see what happens. Having an older sister who just graduated, and having seen many other friends graduate in past few years, I've come to realize that taking time to really figure out what you want to do in life might not be such a bad idea.  Why take a mediocre job right away instead of waiting for the right one to come along? Or in that case, why even take a job at all! It might benefit you to do a few internships first in different fields and dip your toes a little to experience different mediums, especially if you graduated in a field as wide and full of opportunities like communication. You could intern in a newspaper for a while, write a few articles for a local fashion magazine and send them in to see if maybe you'll get published, or even try out for a radio spot. Whatever it is you decide to do, remember there are always a lot of options.

Furthermore, you should also seriously consider going back to school! I know, I know, just hearing the words school and you in the same sentence make you tremble. However, with the way the economy is right now and the high unemployment rate, which the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website indicates has risen to over 8% this year, it might not be such a bad idea to think about graduate school.

Everyone's path is different. Making the right choice for you is vital. So think about it and after you do, let us know what you decided!

(Joana Santillana may be reached at

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