Your Guide to Figuring Out What You Want to Do After College

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The hardest part about college isn’t the classes—it’s figuring out what you want to do after graduating. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of waiting until we have our degree to make that decision. The classes we take and degrees or certificates we receive all play a crucial role in future job opportunities. 

Figuring Out What to Do After Graduation

Colleges across the country offer assistance to students who are trying to figure out what to do after graduation. Guidance counselors also help students to determine what to do while in college to achieve these post-graduation goals. There are a variety of online learning self-assessment tests that can tell you the careers for which you’re best suited, along with whether you’re qualified to continue your education online instead of in a traditional classroom setting.

Online learning options have grown considerably in recent years due to the increased access through mobile devices and free wifi networks, as well as the increased desire to pursue formal education through non-traditional means. For many, going to or finishing college was simply not an option due to other obligations including work and family. It’s nearly impossible to fit college classes into a normal work schedule due to timing conflicts. 

However, the increase in online learning options has eliminated the time and travel barriers for non-traditional students who need to work for their classes around their children and work schedules. While it’s a tremendous amount of work to go to school online while doing other things, it’s the only option for many. Additionally, going through school online requires a high level of discipline because there is no one there to remind you to do your work or to stay up late to get things done. 

The possibilities are nearly endless if you’re willing to put in the work to earn a degree online. Many colleges and universities will even let you walk in graduation if you earned your degree online, so you get the satisfaction and recognition you deserve for the work you put into it. When online programs were first offered, they were limited and questioned for their adherence to the educational standards of traditional classes. However, that’s no longer the case; online courses are widely available and held to the same standards as traditional classes. 

Going Into Law

Many young children will proudly proclaim they want to be a lawyer when they grow up, and their parents are happy with this because lawyers make good money, they are often well-respected and prestigious. However, becoming a lawyer is no small feat; it requires at least seven years of college. 

Perspective lawyers have to go through four years of undergrad to earn a bachelor’s degree and then three years of law school. Afterwhich, they have to take and pass the bar exam for the state they plan to practice law in. Lawyers are licensed and overseen by the state, so moving states requires getting licensed in the new state as well. Being part of the state bar means there are rules in place you have to follow to practice law. 

There are many different types of lawyers that focus on different areas of law. For example, there are criminal lawyers, personal injury lawyers, and business lawyers. While the school requirements are the same, law is such an enormous field of study; you can focus on the area within law you want to practice. 

With each area of law, there are subcategories that you may decide to focus on. For example, within the area of personal injury law, you may choose to focus on becoming a motorcycle accident attorney or a medical malpractice lawyer. There is nothing to say you cannot cover more than one area of focus, but there is so much information and so many laws to know pertaining to each area that becoming an expert in one area is sometimes better than being okay in several areas.

Saving Lives: Going into Medicine

Another common profession among young people is to say they want to be a doctor or go into medicine. Similarly to going into law, medicine is a massive field with countless areas of focus and specialties. Becoming a doctor takes 11 to 14 years of schooling. That includes four years of undergraduate to earn a bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school, and then three to seven years of residency to learn a specialty. 

If you want to be in medicine, but do not want to spend the time and money it takes to become a doctor, you can become an EMT, a nurse, a technician, or one of the many other positions within hospitals and health facilities that provide direct care. 

Regardless of the medical profession you choose, you will also be able to select the setting you want to work in. For example, you may choose to work in a hospital, nursing home, or school. You may decide to offer in-home care or urgent care services. Some people want to join organizations and missions that provide medical care overseas in areas where medical care is not normally accessible.

The field of medicine is enormous, and there is plenty of room for new people who are passionate about caring for others. You may also look into fields of alternative medicine such as massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and holistic medicine. Many have found that “Western medicine” is not always the answer, and they are looking for more traditional means to take care of themselves and their families. 

Perhaps Your Calling is Interior Design 

For those that are more drawn to being able to express your creative and artistic side, there are a lot of professions that allow you to be creative without the “starving artist” status attached. While pursuing a career as an artist is admirable, there is a great deal of uncertainty that may make you uncomfortable. 

You may consider fashion design, interior design, graphic design, or even landscape design. Being able to envision what something could look like is a skill not everyone has. If you often have home design inspiration that allows you to create amazingly beautiful, functional, and comfortable spaces, you can use that to help others and make a living. 

Most design is not done through computer programs in order to create renderings that customers and prospective customers can look at and visualize, so you would need to learn how to operate design programs. While there are degrees you can pursue in design, there is also a lot you can learn on your own to save money on education. There are nearly endless online resources and free or inexpensive classes you can take online.

 When it comes to design, there is also a personal element that you have to find a way to incorporate. Interior design especially is a careful mix of your design preferences and visions and what the customer describes wanting for space. If you grew up watching interior design shows like Trading Spaces, you’d understand the need to find a balance between customer desires and designer vision.

 Deciding what you want to do after graduation can seem like an incredible task, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with the subjects and activities you love and have always enjoyed and gone from there. If 7 or 14 years of college is not possible for you, look for alternative options to be in that field in other areas. You can even get into a good position and then go to school part-time to eventually get into the job you really wanted.

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