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Decision time seems to be lurking closer and closer. The time of no more lecture and no more books is drawing closer. After years at university enjoying student life and pulling all-nighters the night before an assignment is due, you’re now faced with a question. Yes, that big scary question, the one all university students dread:
What am I going to do after University?
It is the dilemma of every new graduate, what to do after graduation. After you’ve been thrown into the jungle that is real life, and the new goal is to earn money – and lots of it.
So you’ve found yourself a graduate with an Art’s degree; wondering to yourself what on earth can I become? Or what job can I get with an Art’s degree?
I believe there is a SIMPLE answer! I recommend the following steps.
Take a break: I know it might sound weird only having just finished university and all your thoughts are on getting a “real” job – and to get out of the crappy hospitality job you had while you were at university. I think this is an important time to think and grow. If you’re not feeling ready to jump straight away into the job market, then don’t. Take some time to find out what it is you really want to do. For the immediate future anyway! A chance for a bit of soul-searching to find out who you are now that you are older and more mature. (Well you’d hope you were more mature.)
Do volunteer work: Perhaps while you were embarking on this soul-searching journey, complete some volunteer work. This will give you exposure to different organisations and areas which you may later consider employment. It will also help you keep to some-sort of a schedule and commitment, so you don’t lose all sense of reality and responsibility. (Plus it looks really good on your CV!!!) Employers have said work experience is important – 80% of bachelor degree graduates who undertook any paid work in their final year of study had secured full-time jobs within four months of course completion. The figure for graduates who undertook no work was 62%. (GCA, 2011)
Travel: This is a perfect chance to see the world. You are a twenty-something year old; this is perhaps one of the only chances that you won’t have any ties. You are free in a sense, no financial dependants (kids), or house repayments. It doesn’t matter if you spend all of your savings – that is the beauty of living at home. If you aren’t living at home then box up all of your stuff where you are living, drop it at home to Mum and Dad’s garage and go see the world! It can be an enriching and rewarding experience. There’s honestly no reason to dive into the rat race right away, you have the rest of your life to work 9-5, 5 days a week.
Graduate Positions: These are newer for those who know what they want to do after University. In a survey conducted by the 2011 Australian Graduate Survey it was found that, the median starting salary for bachelor degree graduates aged less than 25 and in their first full-time employment was $50,000, up from $49,000 in 2010. (GCA, 2011) Dentistry remained the highest-paid field of education at $80,000, followed by: optometry ($70,000), earth sciences (geology, geophysics, soil mechanics, geodesy, surveying, cartography) ($65,000), engineering ($60,000) and medicine ($58,500). (GCA, 2011) Such graduate positions can provide people with a clearer idea of what they want to do, and by signing a contract ensure employment for a specified amount of time.
Be prepared to learn: This is an important point, everyone in life is always learning and growing. You may think that now that you’ve graduated and received your degree/diploma you won’t have to ever read another book or take any more tests. YOU ARE WRONG! Every day you are reading and absorbing new information, which may help you with your job. Don’t keep a closed mind, always look, read and absorb.
Go back and complete further study: Some people find it beneficial to go back to university and complete further study, or complete short courses involving their interests. Further education is never a bad thing – it may open up your eyes to a new concept of way of thinking. It can also provide an individual with a more specialised and personal learning path. Honours and Masters aren’t a waste of time if you want to continue learning and maturing your brain.
With all the options available, I’m sure you’re now thinking;
“that’s great, but how do I choose which is the best one for me?”
It is important to remember life is a journey not a destination and while there may not be one single right path – it is a marathon not a sprint! If you talk to other people, they will say that it took them many wrong turns and mistakes to get to where they are. It will be a journey full of coincidences and happy wrong-turns.
A last thought…
All University Students (once they finish) are in the same boat. Don’t think you are alone. All your choices and decisions link to a higher definition of who you are and what you want to achieve from life. Your journey beyond University is in your hands and is an open book!
(GCA, 2011, Australian Graduate Survey 2010 Manual, Melbourne: Graduate Careers Australia.)