You spent countless hours in classes, in the library, doing homework, and studying for test after test only to finish school with a load of debt and a limited job market – now what? It is the question that 20-something after 20-something asks him/herself upon graduation. I have this very expensive piece of paper, now what the heck do I do with it?
Forget about your degree?
First of all, forget about your degree. Yes, forget about it. Your degree does not define you, nor does it necessarily pigeon-hole your career options. It signifies experience, knowledge, and a token of your character and intellectual fortitude, but it does not need to define your life choices.
Take some odd jobs, do some networking, and find your passion. Your degree will help you get a foot in the door, but which door you will choose should depend on where your heart lies.
Which brings us to the next point: be humble and be okay with starting at the bottom of the totem pole. Just because you daydreamed out the window of your Econ class about your ideal career does not mean it is going to be waiting for you as soon as you graduate. Be humble.
Realize that while you are equipped with knowledge, you probably do not have the experience and should welcome the opportunity to gain experience even if it means beginning on the ground floor.
Think outside the box
Third, explore your options. As previously stated, your degree does not define your career options. While it is nice to do something your degree directly applies to, you should explore related fields as well to open career options and also to get an idea of the possibilities before you.
Whether you know it or not, your degree is flexible and many potential employers will take your degree into consideration even if it is not exactly in the area they are looking for.
Follow your interests
Finally… Do whatever you want with it! If you feel that your undergrad degree is not in an area you are interested in any longer, go to grad school for something different that you have fulfilled the admissions requirements for. Or, find a new passion and chase it.
You have just graduated, take some time to get to know who you are outside of school – most likely you have been a student for nearly 20 years at this point. Be creative, be ambitious, and be happy.