I Just Graduated - - Now what?

Congratulations! After countless days (and nights) of sleep deprivation, writing last-minute papers, microwaving buckets of Ramen, and slaving yourself away for that well-earned degree, the day has come to start your life! Not only should you be proud but go ahead - - give yourself a pat on the back for all those long years of figuring out what to major in as well. I don't know about you but I had the most difficult time finding out what I really wanted to learn about and essentially specialize in.

How many of you actually knew what you wanted to do straight out of high school?

Lucky you! Personally, I did not have any clue and took some trial & error decisions to land on Communications for my 4 year degree.

Quite honestly, the only thing I truly wanted to do was travel and create new experiences abroad. I wanted to see the world, meet people from every country, and become a solo female traveling guru. So, why did it take me so damn long to actually do this?

I graduated college in 2007. Immediately started a full-time job at a mortgage company (which I hated) and went with the flow of 'what I was supposed to do after college'. I've always expressed my traveling dreams to friends and family but time after time, I was battling with some criticism. I was told:

'You'll ruin your life'
'You need to have a set plan to go abroad'
'You can't just go there and see what happens, what if you get stranded and have no money?'
'You're supposed to gain work experience immediately after graduation to land your dream job'
'But what about your degree? Don't you want to put to use right away?'

Waiting to get on a fish-tailed boat on Ko Phi Phi Don, Thailand
I'm going to be real with you. Traveling will NOT ruin your life. You WON'T regret it (unless you want to) and most importantly, this decision will NOT ruin the lives of others. While you're here, read this post:


10 Things I Wish I Knew About Life...At the Age of 18

I am 27 years old now. Left a great paying job that I was at for almost 3 years, sold almost all of my belongings, saved up a decent amount of money by working two jobs 2 months before leaving, and here I am - - typing this blog up in Paris. Do I regret it? Absolutely not! Will you regret it? Of course not!

A day market in Binh Thanh district in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Why I chose to travel


1. Gain new perspectives 
When you travel the world, you become exposed to various different cultures, mores, norms, and expectations. You will see that there is not one specific way to think, to live, to be. You'll see that there is no right way but your right way to be. It's good to gain a little cultural perspective and bring that back with you to further understand what you are all about. Which brings me to the next point. 
 
2. Find yourself
Now I'm not saying once you travel, you will find all the answers pertaining to who you are. Before leaving, one of my main goals was to just understand myself a little bit better. Don't expect to get out there and figure it all out. That's really not the point. The point is to gain more clues as to what you're really good at, what makes you really happy, and where your true passions lie. Even if you don't find those things, traveling is a great opportunity to see how self-reliable you can be cross-culturally and fine tune whatever skills you're looking to sharpen. 
 
3. Gain more experiences 
When people tell you that you are making a horrible career decision by traveling, they are dead wrong. Not only will you create fantastic memories abroad, the sky is the limit as far as gaining experiences. With so many resources out there on the web, you can even do a volunteer work exchange to gain skills/qualifications to tack onto your resume. Although I have not personally experienced this, I heard from friends that Helpx.net as well as wwoof.org is a great starting point for volunteering opportunities in whatever industry you are interested in! Even if you choose to just travel without going through the official volunteer exchange programs, the personal experiences from budgeting, adapting to new cultures, and socializing in a cross cultural context is priceless. 
 
4. Global networking opportunities
Whether you choose to travel solo or with a friend, there is no doubt you will make new friends anywhere and everywhere. Having friends all around the world is not a bad thing at all. You can learn so much from one another - - sharing personal experiences coming from two different countries is also priceless. In addition, you never know what types of opportunities lie in making new connections such as teaching abroad.
 
5. This is the best time.
This may sound a little cliche and for that, I apologize in advance. However, I'm going to say it anyway. After graduation, you have this time to do whatever you want, see the world, make friends, and figure it all out - - piece by piece. Your reality is, well - - your reality. You create whatever you create. The reason why this is the best time is because the older you get, you may have children and have a house to make payments on. And even then, it's not impossible to travel at a later age. It's just a bit easier to get up and go at this time. 

Convinced that you're not crazy to want to see the world yet? If so, make the decision and stick with it. Start saving up some good cash and digging up some good resources to get you going. Stick to it x 3! Have confidence in yourself that you are doing what YOU want to do and following the desires of others or - - following others' fears. It's your life. Do you want to live it or do you want others to live it for you? 

It's your decision. Live it. 

-Ms Cathy.


2 comments:

  1. Love this, thanks so much!
    (I'm currently 19 but can nonetheless relate)

    (:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you loved it!! Thank you for stopping by :)

      Delete

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