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I am about to enter into my senior year of college and that is incredibly terrifying. It is now impossible to ignore the questions from people who are wondering what I will be doing after graduation. The simple answer is that I don’t have any clue. The answer for many recent graduates is to continue their education and pursue a master’s degree. If you are one of these graduates then I applaud you for willingly diving into another few years of grueling work. On the other hand you may be more like me and are seeking alternatives to grad school. The following is a list of ideas to keep you busy until you’re ready to dive into taking more tests and filling out more applications.

1. Volunteer Programs

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Volunteer programs are great for recent graduates that are unsure of what the next step should be in their future. Instead of complaining at home about how you don’t know what to do with your life you can spend that time reaching out to others and helping to make a change. Recently I have started to look up information on the Peace Corps but if you are not quite ready to pack up for two years then there are plenty of programs that you can check out that can take you to a variety of places around the world. A good resource to use when searching for the right program is Go Overseas  which gives reviews for popular volunteer programs. Volunteering helps to change your perspective and can develop different abilities that you have. These skills will be a great resume booster when it comes time to search for a job or a grad school.

2. Internships

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You may feel burned out from school and it may be time to gain an education in a different type of atmosphere. Internships are a fantastic way to test out a career and provide real work experience. Take the time to apply for internships that are in your desired field so you can get a feel for if this is the type of job for you. You can even mix it up and choose something that you wouldn’t typically go for in an attempt to gain a different set of skills. I spent two summers interning for two separate campgrounds that challenged me in ways that I had never experienced before. Without those opportunities I would have missed out on incredible experiences that helped shape who I am. Even though internships often go unpaid there is still hope. Take a look at InternMatch and to see what is out there!

3. Cultural Exchange Program

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The State Department offers exchange programs to citizens of the United States that are out of school and are looking for a fulfilling experience in a different culture. The list of programs is incredible and it targets numerous fields so you can can gain experience in exactly what you are looking for. The programs vary in duration and have different requirements so it is important to do your research on what you are eligible for. These programs will truly develop your skills as a leader and make you more confident when you are ready to get back to school.

4. Get a Job

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This suggestion might sound boring compared to the other colorful options listed but diving into the work force is not necessarily a bad thing. If you can find a position that makes you happy it is worth giving it a shot. The job will help you save money and by taking an entry level position you can gauge your interest to see if this is the right field for you. In the first few years after graduation there will be opportunities to switch to multiple jobs and these positions might be different from what you originally expected. Do not be afraid to say this is not the job for me and have the courage to look for something different. The job hunt may lead you back to applying for grad schools.

What will you do after graduation?

Feature Image: photo credit: CollegeDegrees360 via photopin cc