If you’re wondering what to do after graduation I have one word for you. Congratulations! You’ve done it! High school, or college, is in your rearview mirror. Um … now what? Your life is finally starting to feel like it’s your own, so why does that feel more scary than exciting? If you feel this way, don’t worry, you’re like most young adults.
Everybody and their uncle has given you advice lately: your high school principal, your senior English teacher, mom, dad, and even the pithy sayings on all those graduation cards you didn’t actually read because you were just looking to see if they had money inside them.
First, let’s get one thing clear. If you’re feeling a bit freaked out right now (even if you haven’t admitted it), you’re in good company. Joshua, one of history’s best leaders, felt afraid when his life hit a turning point after his mentor, Moses, died. In that moment, Joshua felt like it was him against the the world. God said, “Be courageous. I’m with you.” Look it up for yourself and read it in Joshua 1. As you read it, put yourself in the story instead of Joshua. God wants you to have courage because He is with you no matter what lies ahead. With Him, you can stop worrying about ruining your life.
Still wondering what to do after graduation? Here are 4 easy steps.
Step 1: Embrace Being
It’s not time for you to “start adulting.” It’s time for you to be an adult. There’s a difference. It takes courage to embrace a mindset of adulthood. It isn’t just about reaching an age or a milestone like graduation. It’s courageously accepting the responsibility to add value to the world through meaningful work and surrendering yourself to the God of the Universe. So right now, even as you’re reading this, make the decision to leave childhood in the dust and be a man or woman. See? God has a direction for your life, and I have good news: it’s one step at a time.
Step 2: Avoid Overthinking
Okay, back to finding meaningful work. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Don’t overanalyze this new phase of life. Overthinking whether a job is the perfect of all possible levels of perfection will lead you to paralysis. When it comes to finding a career, form a “target” for yourself by answering three questions.
- What do I love (or think I love) to do?
- Who has God made me to be (my personality, my strengths, etc.)?
- What will the world pay me to do?
Let those questions define your path forward whether it’s college, a trade school, an internship, or a job. Over the next decade or so, God will help you hone in on your true vocation and calling. Set aside a couple of hours in the next few days, answer those questions, then move forward with confidence.
Step 3: Figure Out Friending
It’s time to become ruthless about your friendships. I mean ruthless. You’ve heard it said that you’re defined by the five people you spend the most time with. That statement is 100% true, and you can bank on it. It’s okay to let some friendships fade away if you know they aren’t good for you. That’s not being disloyal; that’s being wise. Start a LifeGroup this summer (and another one this fall if you’re headed to college) with people you not only love spending time with but who also make you better.
Step 4: Start Serving
Ready for the best piece of advice for a non-ruined life? Keep a grateful heart, and give to others from it. Those last few months of high school were a beat down. I get it. But just the fact that you graduated puts you in a very small minority of people in the world who have access to education. Wondering how to express gratefulness for what you’ve received? Serving is always part of the answer. Get involved with a local mission partner this summer, and start to give back. Always say, “I have enough,” then take what God has given you—even if it’s barely enough for ramen noodles—and work with Him to go do something meaningful with it. He will go with you.
Your life truly is just becoming your own. With God’s guidance, a little planning, good friends, and a good place to serve, you’ll discover what to do after graduation and beyond.