For those of you who don’t know, I’ll be graduating from college (Chapman University) in less than four weeks! It’s crazy that four years flew by this fast, but I think we all know by now that time just flies and we hit the next chapter quicker than we know it. With that being said, the past year or so I’ve been preparing for post-graduation and my ideal 3 year plan and I thought I’d share my tips on how I’ve prepared and where I’m planning to go next.
For starters, if you are in the same boat as me and you’re a Senior graduating from college shortly, congrats on almost hitting the finish line. If you’re an upcoming Senior or Junior, perhaps these tips will be more tangible for you while you still have the time to think, plan, and prepare. The best way I can explain this is by sharing it in the same way I planned out my post-graduation life/career, so here it goes:
- 1) During the beginning of my Junior year, I began to think about who I wanted to become and evolve in as an individual. I thought about my values, my character, and who I am currently surrounded by and who I want to be surrounded by more. By doing this, it allowed me to reconsider some life choices and what I needed to remove out of my life and add more of. This also helped me deeply consider the type of life I envisioned myself living 1-3 years from now and what I ideally wanted 5 years from now.
- The result of this was simple. I recognized that I value integrity, honesty, rationality, human connection, and I wanted to build more of that. I wanted my work, my relationships, and everything I involved myself in to have more of that.
- I also noticed that quite a few of my friendships were surface level and not that fulfilling. I didn’t truly have friends that were aligned with what I wanted to do in life later on or let alone have distinctive values like mine where they could make better decisions. As a result, I slowly shifted away from some individuals and sought out others who were more likeminded, driven, tenacious, and passionate.
- Lastly, I recognized that I want to live a life with a lot of freedom. Freedom of choices, freedom of time, freedom to purchase what I want/need without financial debt, and etc. How could I achieve this kind of life? I saw that it would likely take a lot of dedication and work during my early 20s (aka now) of grinding, hustling, figuring out my passions, working during my free time rather than doing the same unproductive nonsense, and networking with a community of other individuals who were in a similar boat and had a clear direction. I worked three part-time jobs majority of my college career; tutoring for 3 hours a week, coaching figure skating for 2-5 hours a week, and interning remotely for 16 hours a week, on top of managing a business. I utilized my part-time jobs as ways of making consistent income for light spending, but also saving to invest in my business and other aspects that I wanted to build on, but needed cash to do so.
- 2) I became super clear in my vision of what I would be doing one year after graduating. This didn’t become as clear until halfway through Senior year because of other factors coming into play, such as my podcast, current revenue of my business, and other creative opportunities; but again, I knew that I wanted flexibility to travel as needed for freelance opportunities and that I wanted to keep my toes dipped in my passions. I figured the best way to do so would be to keep my living environment as consistent as possible for another year, aka staying in a similar area like OC, and continuing to hustle with my side projects/jobs, while maintaining a full-time (contract) job. In this sense, I had the vision of continuing to coach figure skating for 5-8 hours a week (because I’m very passionate for the sport, obviously after doing it for over 10 years, I’m good at what I do, and this sport is expensive and lucrative for coaches), expanding my skating dress business full-time, working remotely as a contract position in a digital branding space full-time, and continuing to build an audience and community with my podcast during my free time (which would essentially be close to full-time too).
- 3) Knowing what my vision was (as stated in my second bullet point), I began to work towards this vision. For example, I knew I wanted to ideally work in a remote position that was also a contract position to allow for some flexibility in my schedule and work lifestyle. With this in mind, I knew what to look for specifically. It’s kind of like when you’re looking for a partner or significant other, you know a good amount of traits you need and want in your partner, so if it doesn’t fit, then you move on to the next or keep looking (haha). This was my approach to finding the right fit for me.
All in all, it wasn’t an overnight process or plan. I had thought through what I wanted, how I was going to achieve it, and what I needed to do now to get towards it. This plan was something I started to work towards my Junior year, so it has been a work in progress. It’s not always the most “exciting” to think about, especially if you’re only a Sophomore or Junior, but if you want to be able to create a future where YOU pick instead of being picked, then I’d advise to start thinking about it sooner than later.
I’ll leave you with 5 tips to get started on planning for post-graduation:
1) Create a document and type out your ideal vision of what your life will look like FIVE YEARS from today. If 5 years is too much, then just try 3. From there, work backwards and plan out how you will get towards that and implement a strategy that you can take action on once you graduate.
2) Build professional (and slightly personal) relationships with people in industries that you are interested in working in or being apart of. An easy way to start (if you haven’t yet), is create a LinkedIn and connect with professionals who are in your space and also those who you’d be interested in starting a conversation with in the near future. There are plenty of people to network with that can have a great impact on your next step after graduation. Connect with me on LinkedIn here if you would like.
3) Get your toes dipped in multiple areas of your interest so you can get a real taste of what you are good at, what you actually like to do, and what you like to do most. For example, I coached figure skating, tutored younger kids, interned in digital branding + social media, and also worked on my own business and started a blog, podcast, and etc. I learned over the last three years in trying all of this that I genuinely am passionate for “coaching” others’ in their mindset and training them to think in a higher level. I am also quite good at it because of my deep understanding of human nature. On the other hand, I also eventually learned (very recently) that I don’t quite love working in social media for “work”. I prefer to do it for my own content, but not others. Always a learning lesson in experiences and it can be surprising where it leads you.
As for my next steps after May 19th? I will be preparing to move out into my OWN apartment (yessss!) in early June and will need to put a little bit of focus in that and then either take two months off to work on my projects with pure focus or depending on what I hear back, I may also pursue touring with Disney on Ice for a short period and/or take on a part-time contract position remotely. During my summer, I’ve also planned out some timeframes to take time for myself to relax and go visit places while I still have the free time, because I know once life + work gets rolling, it’s hard to find the free time! So I’m just taking advantage of each moment and working towards the vision one day at a time 🙂