Three Most Popular Options For Life After College

Plans After College

Now that I’m done with college I’ve been talking with friends and relatives regarding plans for life after college. Everyone has a different answer depending on what they did and what they wish they did. There have been three general themes going around. These three themes for life post-grad will be discussed and analyzed here:

Straight to the workforce.

Many people either had a job lined up or they went straight on the job hunt. The most conventional option for life post-grad is to go straight into the workforce. This means that you’ll likely be a 22 year old looking to enter the field while trying to find a way to deal with hangovers at work. This can also mean that you get a head start on your retirement planning and starting a family.

Why this is a good idea?

  • You can start saving money. If you have student debt that you need to pay off, you want to build an emergency fund, or you want to start saving for retirement, finding a job right out of college is what you need. You can start saving money and building your portfolio at an early age.
  • You get experience. The corporate experience can be exactly what you need. You can leverage this experience to start your own business or to work your way up the ladder, earning more money as you climb.

Why this idea sucks?

  • No breathing room. You go from the heavy structured college environment to being confined to the work place. You have no buffer zone and no in-between time. You really will never get to see what else is out there.
  • You can get trapped. Once you get a steady paycheck you might get comfortable. Once you get comfortable you can find yourself buying a new car or saving up for a mortgage down payment. A few responsibilities later and you find yourself trapped at your job for a long period of time. Next thing you know and you’re 40 years old wishing you had done more and taken more chances.

Start your own business.

Your early 20s is the best opportunity to take some chances with your money and your time. When you talk to your parents, relatives, or older friends it feels like nobody ever has any time. As a 22 year old you essentially have nothing but time. Between your workouts, football marathons, and drinking sessions, you can start to build up a business.

Why this idea works?

Ability to take risks. You likely have no family and no dependents. You can take all the chances that you want. Risking some money or spending a whole month working on an assignment is much easier when you don’t have to put food on the table.

High chances of profitability. You might not start the next Facebook but you could very well establish a profitable business. You could be your own boss from a very early age. Your high energy levels and motivation in your early-2os can really take you far. Your 40 year old self will really thank you 20 years from now.

Why this plan sucks?

Financial investment. Most business plans require a decent financial investment. If your business doesn’t work out then you might start your working life out in the negatives.

Travel/vagabond for a bit.

This is a topic that I’ve been researching extensively lately. Traveling for a long period of time after college is an unconventional idea that is slowly becoming more popular. After being stuck in college for many years, one really wants to get out and see what else is out there.

Why this works?

  1. Experience the world. Going with a backpack and an open mind is probably the best way to experience the world. Travels will change as you get older, get married, and have a family. Your 20s can be an excellent opportunity to see what the world has to offer and to decide where you want work/live for the rest of your life.
  2. Have no regrets. Everyone that I know that has traveled for extended periods of time in their 20s tells me that they absolutely don’t regret it. I personally don’t want to have any regrets. I know that if at age 23 I don’t take advantage of my situation by traveling that I will really regret it one day. Who wants to live a life with regrets?

Why this plan is horrible?

  1. It’s easy to mess up. Going abroad to travel long-term or to find work can be an amazing once in a life time type of experience. Unfortunately, it’s also really easy to mess this whole process up. You can get caught up with the wrong crowd or you can develop some bad habits that will cause problems down the road.

Which option would you recommend for life after college? Which path did you travel down?

(photo credit: smudger888)

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4 Responses to Three Most Popular Options For Life After College

  1. One problem with traveling is the same as starting a business: cost. Yes, you can travel really cheap, but it’s not free, and it *can* be fairly expensive. The same is true for starting a business–there are cheap or almost free ways to start businesses, especially online ones, though it can be very expensive as well.

  2. Great post. With only one semester left in school I know exactly what you’re talking about. I was fortunate enough to land a job with BoA that many of my friends and classmates would kill for. I feel lucky to have this opportunity but at the same time, wish I could do the traveling. I have a month and a half between graduation and my start date so I plan on doing a month long travel abroad but this isn’t nearly long enough. At this point in time, my plan is to work the two year rotation I am guaranteed and hopefully network well enough that I can take 6-12 months off to travel after the rotation and come back with a job (probably overly optimistic, but hey its worth a shot!).

    Love the blog,
    Kirk B

  3. I’m still in college but working full time. I would love to travel and start my own business simultaneously.

  4. I didn’t travel after college because I started working full time right away. However, I did take a year off after my first year of college “to find myself”.