It’s incredible to think that this blog has existed for nearly 3 years now, and it just wouldn’t have been possible without each and every one of you. Thank you all for inspiring us to keep doing what we love.
On that note, though, we started this blog as high school students, but 3 years later are either facing graduation from college (Verrel and I) or have already gotten there (congrats Khal!). As one rewarding chapter comes to a close, another exciting (but nerve-wracking) one is about to begin, a chapter of which we truly are the author. It’s a freeing, but daunting, situation: with so many options, each with its own set of challenges and benefits, how do we decide where to go from here?
This post is a collection of thoughts from conversations with several good friends, representing a very diverse range of ideas. I strongly believe that EVERYONE’s journey will be different, so my hope is that whether multiple, one, or none of these ideas resonate with you, you will find peace and fulfillment with the choice you eventually make, and the journey you eventually take.
There’s a whole host of reasons to continue your professional journey straight after you graduate, and rightly so. If you’re somebody who knows the direction you want to take your future career, then there may be no feeling more empowering than getting started straight away. Whether that means going to medical school or accepting a job, immersing yourself in the next stage of your career will not only bring you closer to where you want to be in the future (in a shorter span of time) but will also allow you to experience the thrill of “being an adult”, as you develop invaluable skills of independence and resilience. This path may also give you scope for exploration; with time on your side, you could try your hand at the path you think will excite you, and if it doesn’t live up to your hopes, you will likely still have time to switch to another professional track without “falling behind.”
I’ll be the first to say that money is a COMPLETELY legitimate reason to choose the next step of your journey. If you come from a disadvantaged background, this one may be a no-brainer, as with money on hand you can improve the quality of life of both yourself and your loved ones. That said, even if you’re fortunate enough to come from a financially prosperous family, the feeling of earning your own money and becoming financially stable on your own terms can be incredibly freeing.
No matter where you go or what you do, there’s so much in this world to see and experience, and most of us have only scratched the surface, if that. Your time after graduation may be the perfect opportunity to experience more of the world you live in, whether that’s traveling / living / volunteering in a new country or city, immersing yourself in a different culture, or even throwing yourself into a hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue, like learning a language or starting a blog. Granted, there are financial considerations to keep in mind (especially for the options that involve traveling) but with a little creativity there are likely ways to have impactful but affordable adventures. For example, fellowships such as the Fulbright, Watson and Schwarzman are a GREAT options to consider for those eligible. I also know of a friend who took a road trip in their own country during a COVID gap year, and had some of the most incredible experiences you could imagine.
Lastly, an understated consideration to keep in mind: recalibration. While rewarding, higher education can also be a draining and confusing set of years. Whether you need a break from the pressures of study or are not ready to commit to a certain professional pathway, taking time to recalibrate and re-assess your life trajectory can be very useful. This could take many forms, from taking a year off and gaining volunteer experience before medical school to working a full-time job for a year or two before pursuing a PhD. I even have a great friend who’s thinking of working as a barista in New Zealand for a year before going on their next journey – a perfect way to combine time to reflect with an awesome adventure.
Bottom line: there is no wrong decision
I hope that this article gave you some ideas as to where you may want to take your life post-graduation. A concluding thought: I truly believe that you cannot make a wrong decision. Whichever path you end up taking, whether it’s your “top choice” or not, you will learn, grow, and benefit from it in ways that you probably can’t think of at this moment. Try not to worry too much about your future path, and try going into the process without expectations. Yes, it’s well worth thinking about the future, but not at the expense of the present moment.
As always, thanks a lot for reading! If you enjoyed this article you may really enjoy this one that Verrel wrote about life in your 20s. Catch you on the next post!