What are your plans for after the graduation? Life after graduation as an alumnus

As the tassel turns from right to left, symbolizing your transition from a student to an alumnus, you are thrust into a new stage in life, full of potential and promise.

Navigating post-graduation plans can often feel overwhelming, laden with expectations and a sense of needing to have it all figured out.

Fear not – uncertainty is a shared experience, even amongst those who seem to have a clear roadmap for their future.

This article explores various pathways that you could embark upon after graduation – from securing employment, entrepreneurship, taking time off, to furthering your education – highlighting the myriad of opportunities that come with a degree under your belt.

Life after graduation is an exciting chapter – let us journey with you through the possibilities.

Changing the position of the tassel after you graduate – becoming an alumnus

After you graduate, the position of the tassel on your graduation cap is traditionally moved from the right side to the left side.

This act, often referred to as “turning the tassel,” symbolizes the transition from candidate to graduate.

This is the simple act that signals the end of your life as an undergraduate. It symbolizes movement into the next stage of your life. 


What does that new stage of life look like for you? It’s likely that you’ll have loads of people asking you what you want to do with the next stage of your life and it can be daunting to feel like you need to have all of the answers. 

The good news is that many people don’t know what they want to do upon graduating (despite what they tell you) and you can still be unsure. 

Here are the typical options for people who graduate. Have a read and get a feeling for which ones excite you the most. 

Typical pathways for people after the graduation Employment, travel and more

Upon graduation, an alumnus is presented with a myriad of opportunities, marking the start of life after graduation. Here are several paths a graduate can embark on:

  1. Securing a Job: Many graduates use their degree as a resource to promptly secure a job within their academic field. It’s not uncommon for a fresh graduate to accept a role outside their discipline initially while planning to transition into their desired career. This is a time to apply the knowledge and skills acquired at the university, albeit competition may be fierce. It’s important to remember that your academic journey was not simply to attend a university, but to prepare for real-world tasks.
  2.  Entrepreneurship: Some graduates choose to pursue self-employment. Leveraging the skills acquired during their course of study, they create their own businesses. For instance, a film degree holder might become a freelance photographer. This path can be fulfilling but also demands hard work, planning, and a good understanding of the business landscape. Some may choose to attend workshops or courses to better equip themselves.
  3. Taking Time Off: The concept of a “gap year” is appealing to some graduates. This period, often filled with travel, provides a unique opportunity to recharge after years of education and explore the world. However, care should be taken to ensure this break doesn’t hinder future career opportunities or the expiration of any provisional professional registrations.
  4. Further Education: Some graduates might decide to attend further academic courses, pursuing postgraduate certificates, diplomas, or even doctoral degrees. This is an opportunity to deepen knowledge and expand academic networks. It’s also a chance to explore life in a new city, state, or even country.

Graduates can also blend these paths.

For instance, a full-time worker could take part-time postgraduate courses to advance career opportunities. Life after graduation offers an open range of possibilities for every graduate.

Insider tips for what you do after the graduation ceremony and making the most of your opportunities. 

After graduation, you are at a unique point in life where you have a window of opportunity to take risks and chase your passion.

You may not have a clear idea of what you want to do, and that’s completely okay.

This is not the time to settle for the safe or practical route or simply follow someone else’s expectations of you.

Instead, seize this time to explore, learn, and build towards the life you want.

Consider starting that business you’ve always dreamed of, joining a band, or even traveling to gain new experiences.

Yes, you might have loans or financial responsibilities, but remember, they’ll exist whether you chase your dreams or not.

You’re in a position where you can live frugally, work long hours, and even juggle multiple jobs if that’s what it takes to pursue your passion.

You only live once, and the decisions you make now can significantly impact the next few decades of your life.

It’s crucial to focus on long-term happiness rather than short-term gains.

If there is any time in your life to do something risky, it is now. This is your time to be risk-oriented and carve your own path.

Wrapping up – planning your career for after your degree. 

As the commencement ceremony draws to a close, the class steps into a thrilling new chapter, with your university degree serving as both a testament to your dedication and a passport to countless career opportunities.

As recent college graduates, the direction you take might seem uncertain, and the responsibility daunting, but remember, you are well prepared for this.

You’ve completed your final exams, earned your transcript, and have had numerous workshops under your belt. It’s time to communicate with the job market and to seek, explore, and seize new opportunities.

Unemployment may be a fear, but options exist beyond traditional employment – you might need to consider internships, unpaid or otherwise, or even opt for further higher education.

The boundaries are as expansive as your aspirations. Don’t limit yourself, as this period of adjustment and exploration can lead to exciting prospects and professional advancement.

As your trusted institution, we pledge to provide ongoing guidance and resources to aid your journey.

Congratulations, graduates, and good luck in your future endeavors!

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.