Life after college is daunting, especially for those of us who are graduating soon. Currently I’m a senior and will be graduating with a BFA in creative writing. I’m nervous about life after college, and I know I’m not the only student who worries about becoming successful. So I spent a fair amount of time researching tips, suggestions, even guidelines for life after college and created a list of my own. Here it goes:
- Create your own writers’ group.
After college you won’t have assignments or the classroom environment as a way to get others to read your work and provide feedback. Having a writer’s group is a great way to maintain friendships, provide networking opportunities, and support each other as well as other local writers.
But who do you ask? Well, I’ve asked several of my classmates to create a writers’ group with me. Some of them are good friends of mine, others I want to become better friends with. I’ve gotten to know these people throughout most of my classes and I know we all have different writing styles, tastes, voices etc. which is great because having diversity will best serve everyone. I don’t want a writer’s group where everyone is the same.
I want people I can trust to give me feedback about my work in a professional manner. And I know my classmates can do that, because they have all year. So my suggestion is ask your classmates. You know how they work and how they handle critiquing. Plus, they probably just want someone that can rely on too.
- Further your skills.
We’ve all experienced analyzing manuscripts and assigned readings, commutating both written and verbal, and having to be detail oriented. The list goes on. We’ve got great skills to highlight in our resumes from having attended a liberal arts college. However, just because we earned that fancy degree doesn’t mean learning has to stop. If you want to further your education then go ahead, there are some great graduate programs offered in the twin cities. But grad school isn’t the only option.
After graduation I plan to further my writing skills, however I thought the only option was grad school. Though, I don’t want to be in school again full time. I needed something I could do while working towards that dream career of mine. So, I found out there are classes offered at the Loft Literary Center, which were really helpful and beneficial. It’s also a great way to network and become part of the local writing community. My point is, the possibilities are endless, and they don’t stop after graduation.
- Take time for things beyond work.
Yes, getting a job after college is the main goal, but not the only one. I think all of us graduates are horrified at the thought of working at McDonalds or Target with a four year degree, I know I am. But having a successful job isn’t my only goal in life.
I want to actually have time to read again, for fun. No more assigned readings. I also want to write for fun, let my creative juices flow. Not because I have some huge project due soon. I want to travel somewhere outside of my college campus, even if on a budget. Plus, traveling is great inspiration and research for writing.
However, I think many of us are preoccupied with getting that dream job to even consider these things. Yet, they’re just as important. You don’t want to get burnt out on work. You should also remember to dedicate time to events, places, hobbies, or even people that make you happy.
During this time in our college careers it’s easy to compare, especially when your classmates already have a job lined up, or some great internship, or a publishing contract. Though, don’t compare yourself to other graduates and writers. Everyone needs to find their own path at their own time. It’s important not to get caught up in comparison. I try to remind myself that it’s about when the timing is best for me and not others. Remember, you can always work towards improving your situation.
Graduation is scary, nerve-racking, but it’s an important stepping stone in life and there are many more to come. But be proud of your degree and the dedication it represents. Good luck all future graduates!
Meet the blogger:
COURTNEY YOKES is a recent Hamline University graduate who primarily writes fiction and poetry. Her work as been seen in The Fulcrum and The Rapids Review. Like any writer she works hard to build her publishing credentials, connections, and most importantly her skills as a writer. The world is overwhelming and she’s just looking to make her mark on it.