The Real World

Hang Up Your Cap and Gown and Then Do These 4 Things

Graduation season at Clark is in full swing! This is an inspiring, celebratory, and – yes – bittersweet time for new grads. To help you adapt to life after Clark and alleviate some common stressors associated with finishing your degree, here are four things you should do immediately after hanging up your cap and gown.

Graduation season at Clark is in full swing! This is an inspiring, celebratory, and – yes – bittersweet time for new grads. The pomp and circumstance of graduation ceremonies and the celebrations and gatherings sure to follow are exciting and validate the years of hard work you have dedicated to completing your degree. But you may also find yourself saddened by the inevitable farewells, nervous about the uncertainty of your job search, stressed by the prospect of acclimating to something new, or even overwhelmed by the personal adjustments that life after college requires. All of these feelings and mixed emotions are totally normal! You are not alone.  

To help you adapt to life after Clark and alleviate some common stressors associated with finishing your degree, here are four things you should do immediately after hanging up your cap and gown: 

Take some time for yourself. Finishing any semester takes a lot of energy but having finally crossed the college finish line, you may be feeling extra drained right now. Take some time immediately after graduation to rest and rejuvenate. You probably have a little more availability now to discover the things that excite and inspire you so try developing a new routine, exploring the places around you, spending time with people you admire, or reading that book people are always talking about. Replenish your reserves before taking your next plunge! 

Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. If you’re still on the job market after graduation, an updated resume and strong LinkedIn profile are more important now than ever. Add your new degree and additional professional experience, including skills and certifications, to your resume. Update your graduation status on LinkedIn, add a new header, make new connections, and start sharing and interacting with posts in your industry or field of interest. Don’t forget, if you have questions about your resume or LinkedIn profile, you can meet virtually with a Career Connections Center career adviser or Career Lab coach for insights this summer.  

Build a budget and learn how to manage your student debt. After graduation, especially if your full-time employment remains uncertain, one of the best things you can do is create a budget. The 50-30-20 method is a simple way to create a realistic budget that accounts for all of your expenses and free budgeting apps and spreadsheet templates can keep you on track. If you borrowed student loans to attend Clark, repayment will likely factor heavily into your budget. The Federal Student Aid website offers resources to help you navigate student debt and learn about repayment options for federal loans. Understanding your student loan situation early will make repayment easier and even save you money in the long run. 

Keep in touch with your Clark connections. The relationships you built during your time on campus are invaluable. Maintain these connections by keeping in touch with professors, classmates, staff advisors, and former supervisors. Some day in the future, you might need to ask for a letter of recommendation or want to share exciting news. Here are a few reasons why keeping in touch is so important – and tips for how you can start doing it right now.  

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