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Lucier: Planning ahead for life after graduation

Josh Wilson // Courtesy
Setting yourself up for success after college is an important part of your journey at Clemson University, and some of the most important parts, are the least obvious.

Graduating from Clemson is a huge accomplishment, and it’s something you should definitely be proud of, but it’s also scary. I know I was trying to figure out my own plan at the time, and it’s definitely not easy. I’m still definitely no expert on post-grad counseling, but I think I can still offer some good advice about planning ahead.

So, what does planning ahead mean? In this case, having a thought through idea of what you want your life to look like after graduation. Does this mean you need to know every detail? No, but having this plan will help you get those details once you graduate or are close to it.

Firstly, plan for where you want to live: whether moving back home or moving away, you need to decide what your acceptable cost of living is. What I mean by this is how much you are willing to pay monthly/annually to live somewhere. There are plenty of websites to help you figure out the cost of living for most cities/towns. This is a crucial step for setting yourself up for success. It will allow you to know what you need to make to live somewhere and what salary you should ask potential employers for.

You should also be paying attention to what your long-term goals are and make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success in the long run by saving money. I suggest doing this before you graduate; that way, if you do move out, you will have a strong foundation to start fresh.

You don’t have to have an industry-specific job lined up immediately after graduation, but you should have an idea of what job within your industry you want to work. What do you want your schedule to look like? Do you want a job where you interact with people? For many, the job market may seem daunting, but knowing basic things about how you want to work in your industry will help you decide where to look.

Another way to find a place to work is by reaching out to the Career Center. They have so many ways to help you in your job search. From resume reviews to full mock interviews, they are there to help. I felt daunted by the idea of reaching out, but it’s as simple as sending an email.

All of these questions and thoughts will help you form your plan for after graduation. While you don’t need to have a clear and detailed answer to all of them, putting them to thought will set you on the right track.

Your definition of success is the one that truly matters, so answer these true to yourself and your needs, and stop comparing yourself to your peers. Setting yourself up for success and creating a solid foundation to start will help you achieve your goals.

Healey Lucier was the past Opinion Editor at The Tiger. She graduated in August 2023. You can reach her at [email protected].

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