Life After Graduating

Lu Ann (right) graduated from Mohawk's Advertising Program in 2012.

Lu Ann (right) graduated from Mohawk’s Advertising Program in 2012.

In class education officially ended for me back in January 2012, however it didn’t exactly feel like I was finished until months after my June convocation. It’s probably similar to everyone else – once school starts back up in September you start to realize something is actually different. I no longer had to stock up on boxes weeks in advance to pack up a year of my life for my move back to Hamilton. Even though I was working, it still felt weird not having a place to get up and go to everyday seeing the same professors and classmates. Looking back on my very first day of college, I remember deciding that my main goal for the next three years at Mohawk was to excel and graduate on time. At that time, I never thought about life after school until I walked across the stage to graduate.

Now what?! If you asked me that last year I would say the simple response to that question would be to work towards getting a job. However, after experiencing this myself I’ve realized that’s not the only option out there, and there’s a lot more work to do even if you submitted your final twenty page essay already.  Before college started it sort of seemed like once you complete your education and get your diploma a job will magically appear along with $40,000/year!Now What? Life After Graduting

After Graduation “To-Do” List

  • Goal Setting
    • Stay organized! Establish your goals for your career. Make sure the goals that you set are specific and measurable. Focus on what it is exactly that you’d like to achieve and how long it will take you to get there. Set deadlines for yourself so you’re more likely to work towards it. An example could be: I would like to be promoted in two years time. Next topic for you to think of – how will you get there?
  • Volunteer/Network
    • This is probably something everyone should do even before they graduate as it could also help you with the networking step. Volunteering is a great way to work for a cause and give back to the community while getting the experience you need. Real life experience is always the best type of education you can get, in my opinion.
  • Budget/Plan Finances
    • So you just finished school, crossed the stage to get your diploma and now those student loans are coming back to haunt you. If you never really did so during school, it’s definitely time to sit down and plan your finances. You need to figure out what you have, and how far it can get you, especially if you’ll be living off a volunteer’s income for the time being.
  • Apply to School (again!)
    • This is an option I never really gave much thought about until the end of September last year. When everyone else started to head back to school again I was working in my field, but still felt like there was a lot more for me to learn – not necessarily in advertising either. I began to research possible writing courses to take, or even human services programs online. I’m still not 100% set on what I’d like to dip into next, but I do know that I will never want to stop learning and too much education never really hurt anyone before.
  • Find a Job
    • It’s not the case for everyone, but you might realize that a college education isn’t exactly your ticket into any job you want. A lot of opening positions require “3-5 years experience” and a common frustration is how to get the experience needed if you can’t get hired.  Don’t be afraid to take a job you don’t think you’ll enjoy because the experience you gain from it may be worth it and will help you work towards that future dream job goal of yours.

Life after graduation is certainly a mix of different emotions. It can be exciting, with a dash of scary and a pinch of confusing but definitely loads of fun! The important thing is to remember to take time to enjoy the moment.

Lu Ann Pannunzio

– Lu Ann Pannunzio
Advertising ‘12
Follow Lu Ann @teaaholic

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