I Graduate in One Week... Now What?

As the school year draws to a close, many of us are overcome with nostalgia for the past few years. Memories of orientation, dorm rooms, football games, and all-nighters flood our memories.  However, those memories may be abruptly pushed aside by the harsh reality that graduation is only one week away.  Luckily, I have put together a few tips to help get you through the next seven days without freaking out.   Check out both scenarios below or feel free to jump to the section applicable to you:

If you have an opportunity lined up…

Be humble – You may have scored an awesome job or internship, but make sure to keep your heart humble. Your friends may not be enjoying the same peace of mind, so consider reaching out and supporting them in their search for a post-graduate opportunity. You also never know what curveballs life will throw, so make sure the position is secure before publishing it all over social media. You won’t want to have that awkward “just kidding…” follow-up status.
Reflect – Transition periods are a great time to reflect on how far you have come and where you are going. You will likely have some free time before embarking on your new journey, so take advantage of it! Go on a hike, walk down to the beach or take a stroll in a park to dig deep into your thoughts and emotions, and make sure to document them in a journal, blog or video. You will thank yourself in the future when you look back at some of the most pivotal and memorable moments of your life.
Be proactive – Whether you excelled in school or hit more than a few rough patches, college is a learning experience. Use this new, post-graduate opportunity as a way to highlight your strengths, and focus on improving your areas of growth. This is your chance to start fresh; a clean slate with no mess-ups! Prepare for your first day. Be on time. Foster positive relationships. Work hard. Set the tone for a wonderful beginning. You only get one first impression, so make it count.
Relax – You have worked hard in school. You will likely be working even harder on your next adventure and may not have the time you need to unwind. Take a second to step back and relax. Get a massage, work on some bucket list items and renew yourself before your first day of graduate school, work, internship, etc.

If you don’t have an opportunity lined up…

Don’t worry – If you are having a mild freak out, it’s going to be okay. There are many people in your shoes. Everyone is on a different journey and opportunities come to people at different times. Your time is coming.
Tap into your resources – As a member of the USC and Annenberg communities, you have many resources. From renowned faculty and notable alumni, to LinkedIn and our phenomenal Career Development Office, you have a plethora of options to find the support you need. Connect with someone in your desired industry, attend events and do your research. You will definitely want to get on that ASAP, though. After all, you aregraduating in one week.
Keep an open mind – It’s 2016. Long gone are the days where youhad to declare a career right after college, stick with it until retirement, and get married and have kids somewhere in the middle. There are many post-graduate opportunities for students today and they are going to look different for everyone. You don’t need to compare yourself to the guy going to Google or the girl going to Law School. You have your own, bright, unique future ahead of you.
Relax – While you probably shouldn’t lie on your couch, binge Netflix all day and “leave it all up to fate,” make sure to include some time to relax while you actively work towards solidifying your post-graduate plans. Clearing your mind will not only improve your overall health, but it will also allow you to focus on your next steps.

So, whether you are starting a full time job, interning at a company, prepping for graduate school, traveling or still deciding, don’t freak out.  You are making the right moves, building up your future and embarking on an amazing journey.  Enjoy it!

-Ricardo Horna