The Roads Less Traveled: Options for Post-Grads

The Roads Less Traveled: Options for Post-Grads

I’ve posted a lot of articles about the importance of taking a year off of school, college, and the conveyer-belt lifestyle in order to focus on yourself and to find what you truly want to be doing with your life, and I will continue to do so until my dying day. There is no doubt that education is imperative, and in today’s society, it is something that we’re required to obtain in order to have a decent career. This will never change – you will need some sort of degree or certificate to thrive in this society.

However, in addition to this degree, you are also required to have one more thing: experience. It is no longer enough to simply have a fancy piece of paper informing employers that you’re smart enough to endure the crippling obstacles of the education system – you’ll need to know how to function in real-life work environments too, and have enough emotional intelligence to prove that you know how to exist properly in reality. And how are you to get this kind of experience? By taking a year off to work on it.

I’ve already discussed why all the cool kids are doing it: it allows you the opportunity to find yourself, to experience life, and to discover just exactly what you should be doing with it. But how do you do it? What are you going to do with this year off that will benefit you as a person, and that will also contribute to your potential career?

Listed below are some fascinating options you can explore when taking a year off from school, as well as some tools to help you get there. While there are many things you could be doing with your time, I found these choices to be positively perceived by potential employers, while also contributing to your personal growth.

SWAP (Student Work Abroad Program)

For my fellow Canadians, the Student Work Abroad Program offers young individuals to work on a short-term basis in various countries. This particular program helps you to obtain a Working Holiday visa for the specific country you’re interested in, while also helping you find a job, accommodation and everything you need to set up camp for a while. While abroad, SWAP hosts community events for members in the area, creating a network of like-minded individuals, as well as potential connections for when you return home.

If interested, and for more information, click here. 

Intern Abroad

Being an intern is always a great work-related experience, and looks killer on a resume, but it looks even more impressive when you stick a foreign country to it. Not only are you gaining valid work experience, but you also get to mingle with a different culture and travel the world. This is the time and the method to do so, so why not “get two birds stoned at once?”

If interested, and for more information, visit Go Abroad or Go Overseas. 

Projects Abroad (Volunteering)

So maybe you’d like to have more flexibility and travel more frequently from place to place focusing more on your own spiritual growth rather than career development. Volunteering can fulfill that need. Projects Abroad is one of the largest volunteer abroad organizations in the world, and ensures that your experience will be safe, worthwhile and fun.

If interested, and for more information, click here.

Peace Corps / Omprakash (Volunteering)

If you’re into social movements and making an impact through a sustainable change, these programs are for you. The Peace Corps sends thousands of American Citizens to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteer based, these individuals bring home a heap load of experience and become global citizens who have enriched the lives of many. Omprakash has a similar objective by connecting partner organizations from over 30 countries to volunteers at affordable costs, in order for these individuals to build meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with grassroots social impact organizations around the world.

If interested, and for more information, visit Peace Corps or Omprakash

Campus Compact

This year-long opportunity is aimed at developing recent college graduates’ professional skills in the nonprofit area. You will work on a core team for the ICP Summer of Service Initiative, which aims to support and encourage the development of programs that engage in low-income, at-risk middle school students in improving their communities. The non-profit sector and social development initiatives can greatly impact your life, as well as the lives of many others, and is an incredibly viable and beneficial option if you’re looking to grow while making a difference.

If interested, and for more information, click here. 

Au Pair

This is the route I personally chose to take, as an Au Pair travels to a foreign country for a short period of time to live with a host family and care for their children. From a duration of 3-18 months, depending on what you want, you can Au Pair practically anywhere. It is an incredible experience – not only do you get to live abroad and travel around, but you also get to become a part of someone’s family, to whom you’ll have a connection with for the rest of your life. Keep in mind, you really have to love kids to do this, as it is still a job and not just excuse to travel with a home base.

If interested, and for more information, click here. 

Roadtrip Nation

“Roadtrip Nation empowers you to define your own road in life instead of traveling down someone else’s.” A documentary television series, the idea behind Roadtrip Nation is to pack three individuals who don’t know what they want to do with their lives into a green RV, and send them across countries to interview successful people who do what they love and ask how they got to where they are. For four weeks, these people go from city to city, wilderness to wilderness, all in hopes of figuring out their lives. It’s a crazy and life-changing experience, and anyone can be a part of it.

If interested, and for more information, click here.

School of Life

I took business management for two years, and one characteristic that is exceedingly imperative when employers consider an individual for hiring is their level of emotional intelligence. At the School of Life, their mission is to help you develop yours by giving you the tools to help manage your life, such as how to master the art of relationships, how to find fulfilling work, how to be a good leader and even simply how to make up your mind. With several campuses across the globe, you can take day courses on various subject, or even earn a degree in emotional intelligence by taking a variety of courses over the span of a year. If you’re looking to better the self, this is the place to do it.

If interested, and for more information, click here.

Intrax

Intrax serves as a tool to help you take on the many opportunities listed above with high quality education and work programs for people who want to enrich their lives, as well as the lives of others. What they offer is the ability to become an Au Pair, to work as a global intern, options for work travel, to be involved in English classrooms, and to participate in high school exchange programs. If you’re considering any of these options, joining Intrax is free and will help you along your way to achieving these goals.

If interested, and for more information, click here. 

If none of these options appeal to you, don’t worry, there’s always more where these came from. If you’d like a wider list of options to explore, you can always visit WTF Should I Do With My Life. This website helps you think about different career paths and options you can take in life in order to figure out what the feck you should do with it. You can also visit the Yale Office of Career Strategy for an even more detailed list of post-graduate opportunities and find the one that is right for you.

Whatever it is you decide to do, know that you don’t have to follow the grain, and what may be best for some isn’t always what’s best for everyone. Deciding what to do with your life is an intensive process, and with all the possible jobs in the world, it’s a hard question to answer. But I promise you, almost everyone I know still hasn’t figured it out, and probably won’t for years to come. It’s completely normal to reach 18-years of age and not have an answer for what you’re going to do with your life – even your classmates who think they have it figured out will probably change their mind at least 3 or 4 times before they finally find what they’re looking for. Take a breather, explore your options, and just remember that there’s no such thing as a “wrong” path in life.

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