#ThinkSmart: The Benefits Of Forward Thinking After Graduation

Students react during the graduation ceremony of the 2010 class at Hampton University in Virginia May 9, 2010. U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at the graduation and was conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree.     REUTERS/Jason Reed   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS EDUCATION IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR2DNV8

Submitted by Dr. Shante’


Burn the Script


Chances are unless you majored in nursing or engineering, your dream job isn’t waiting for you once you cross the stage with your degree. And you know what? That’s okay. Your 20’s are a time for discovery and exploration. So do that: explore, discover, set your standards, draw your boundaries, make your mistakes, and find out where you’re willing to compromise and what you absolutely won’t negotiate. Every job interview is an opportunity for you to interview THEM as well. Don’t feel like you have to jump at the first offer sheet that comes your way.

You have decades to spend trapped in a cubicle, at a job you hate, with a paycheck that doesn’t reflect your value. Take some time after graduation to decompress, think, and visualize what you want the next chapter of your life to be. Be intentional, rather than haphazard. If you’re feeling the pressure to get a job for practical reasons like student loan repayment, consider a part time option with flexible hours.


IMG_9793Invest in Your Dreams

Before you blow your graduation cash on Formation Tour tickets, consider investing it in yourself. The next generation of influencers and celebrities will emerge from social media. Why not you? If you’ve got creative ideas, a vision, or a platform, invest in web design, graphic art, a good headshot, and start building your own brand. If you’re lacking skills that the college classroom didn’t teach you, invest in a coach to help shorten your learning curve.

Another good investment is travel. When your world is small, your dreams are small. Don’t be afraid to go abroad and seek opportunities beyond traditional borders. has tons of resources for finding jobs outside of the U.S. including: teaching, communications, nursing, technology and tourism.


IMG_9796Keep Your Friends Close

When you crossed the stage, the next generation of magazine editors, film directors, publicists, sports agents, attorneys, and media moguls crossed with you. Start growing your professional networks through platforms like LinkedIn. Take note of the companies your classmates work for and the ones they start themselves. Support one another and build alliances. Make sure the relationship is genuine and mutually beneficial. Be willing to support at the same level you want to be supported.


Serve Your Way to Success

This is probably going to go against everything you believe and stand for, but hear me out: sometimes you have to work for F-R-E-E.  If I had the opportunity to ask Oprah for anything in the world, I would not ask her for one, single, solitary dime. I would ask her for an education. I would ask for the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the systems, processes, mindset, and leadership that makes her brand what it is. Money runs out. Education never expires. There are going to be some opportunities that will pay you absolutely nothing. However, if you have the chance to serve under the leadership of someone that can give you access to their networks, and their playbook, pounce on it! It will yield much higher dividends than an hourly wage.

Life after graduation is a blank canvas. What becomes of it depends on the choices you make and the company you keep. Choose wisely.

Dr. Shante is the host of Branding for Believers podcast and the creator or the DYOB Brand Makoever experience. For more success tips follow her @DrShanteSays on Instagram and Twitter



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