Looking forward to life after college
By Duncan Fingarson, Senior Columnist
The winter semester is here, and for many Douglas students that means graduation is fast approaching. For some of you reading this, there will be no more semesters once this one is done. Some will go on to another institution, some will achieve their Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree right here. Either way, you’ll be leaving Douglas, and might be wondering: What happens now?
It’s safe to say that at least one graduating student will walk forth into the world after graduation and say to themselves, “What do I do now? I have no practical life experience.” It’s true, while college does an excellent job of preparing people for exams and facilitating learning, there’s a lot less focus on what happens once you graduate.
For all too many students, this will be their first time entering the workforce. That shiny new degree tells employers that you know a few things, but more importantly, it tells them that you know how to buckle down and work towards something for multiple years. College isn’t easy, and none of this is intended as disparaging. The ability to take the long view, look forward and see what you’ll get out of something, that’s a really important skill to have.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do now to get started preparing for life after college. This might be a good time to start thinking about what sort of careers your chosen degree could lead into. The college hosts a career fair every so often, which is a good opportunity to speak with people working in your field.
One of Douglas’ demographics is working students, people who have a part-time job on the weekend. If you can manage it, picking up part-time employment helps with earning some valuable work experience. After college, it might be possible to turn that part-time job into a full-time gig, especially if it leads to something in your chosen field later on down the road.
Of course, with employment comes taxes. Tuition is no longer an issue, but there are always other expenses. Rent and food are big ones, even while college is going on. Picking up a few life skills like cooking and filing a tax return is a good idea for anyone who hasn’t already done it.
Lastly, don’t worry too much about landing your dream job right out of college. That takes time, especially with no prior work experience. Find something to do, and shift into the groove of working full-time instead of attending classes. Go from there. Graduating from college is a milestone, not the end of the journey.