Life After College Without Graduate School

When you’re done college, should you go back for further studies?

Once you graduate from college you realize that you need to make a few huge decisions. These are decisions that will shape the rest of your life. These are decisions that you’ll look back at and analyze when you’re old and getting ready to retire. Kind of scary, huh? Deciding what to do after college is really that important.

What are some of these decisions that need to be made after college?

  • Should I go to graduate school?
  • Should I move out of town for graduate school?
  • Should I accept that job offer?
  • Should I leave town for better work opportunities?
  • Should I start my own business?
  • Should I travel?

The decision to go to graduate school is arguably the most important one because it affects every other decision.

Let’s single in on this today.

When researching both sides to the debate on attending graduate school I realized that there was a lot of so-called “traditional” thinking. In the past year I decided to a read material that was a little less conventional and more out there. I read Career Renegade, The 4-Hour Workweek, and The Art of Non-Conformity. All of these books changed the way I view education, work, and life after college.

The AONC (by Chris Guillebeau) provided the best alternative for graduate school in my opinion. Guillebeau lists 14 options of unconventional ideas that you can perform in one year instead of going to graduate school. I won’t list all of the ideas because you need to grab a copy of the book for that. I will list the points that stuck out the most to me.

  1. Buy a round-the-world ticket.
  2. Learn a new language.
  3. Start a blog.
  4. Pick up at least three new skills.

On the surface these may not seem like the most productive ideas for someone considering a graduate degree or for life in general post-college. When you think about it a little further, these four options alone can yield long term results that you wouldn’t expect. Let’s break it down.

Buy a round-the-world ticket.

This can be the experience that you need after college to open your eyes. There’s so much more out there that we just don’t know about in this world. I’ve traveled many times and there’s so many places that I still want to visit while I’m single and full of energy. An around the world ticket can cost you around a $5,000, but it’s a once in a life time opportunity to travel, work in different places, and meet people of all cultures. You can easily travel the world instead of finding a real job.

Learn a new language.

How many languages do you speak? Would you like to communicate with the locals in a foreign country? I speak Polish and English. I’ve also been steadily trying to pick up some Spanish. I really want to expand my knowledge and understand of other languages. I feel that this ties in with the previous point because you can listen to all the CDs possible but you won’t pick up the true language until you live and work with locals. The idea of learning a new language really has me excited and motivated to travel more. My goal is to live in a Spanish speaking country for a few months next winter.

Start a blog.

A blog can be an excellent platform for getting your voice heard. You can also embarrass yourself with a blog. Either way I urge everyone reading this to at least start a blog for the sake of jotting down your thoughts on a specific topic. Your new blog could turn into a source of income or it could be a fun hobby. For me it’s both.

Pick up at least three new skills.

These can be any skills that you’ve always wanted to learn. Anything from kickboxing to handyman work. Not all of these skills will lead to a direct income. However, you can learn to save yourself lots of money in the future if you master skills that are in demand (home repairs, working out, sports). At the moment I’m trying to learn how to perform basic home repairs so that I can have DIY projects when I have a family in the future.

Ask the readers: what would you recommend for life after college? Did you attend graduate school?

2 thoughts on “Life After College Without Graduate School”

  1. I’ve been in and out of the idea of going back to school to get my MBA ever since I graduated University in 2008. Unfortunately some employers value education over real-world skills sometimes.

    That being said, I often find myself saying “nah, fuck it, I’ll use the money that I’d use on an MBA, and put it towards starting my own business instead”. Hopefully it works out someday!

  2. Great advice MD, my journey to “thinking outside the box” this year has been similar to yours. I am going to keep my day job for now, but I have begun to think about it in a completely different way (exactly how you describe). I’ve never been a handyman, and am trying my best. Just when I think I’m making progress, my dad (who is the ultimate DIY) will unconsciously show me up. The funny part is he doesn’t consider himself bright, and he thinks I must be a genius since I have a pair of university degrees. I try to explain to him all the time that this doesn’t mean a whole lot and that I envy his practical skill set.

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