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Alternate options following graduation

Enlisting in the military is one of the options to pursue after graduation.
Photo: Taelar Pollmann · The Sentry

Graduation doesn’t have to be scary 

College as a whole makes for one stressful time, but none of it quite compares to the stress of approaching graduation. Up until then, a student has dealt with papers, professors, and finals, but the immediate future has not—generally—been such a mystery; after one semester comes another, then another, and another after that, so pondering what to do next isn’t quite on the plate.  

When someone graduates, they’re out in the world, free to do as they please. For many, that means finding a job in their field, getting married, and settling down. This is not the only option, however. For those wanderers averse to settling, or those simply not yet ready to do so, there are other avenues to pursue.  

The problem is that avenues cannot be pursued unless it’s clear that they exist in the first place. The other main problem is finance. In fact, with student loan debt so astronomically high in the U.S., finance is the primary concern of many students. Want to travel but don’t have the funds to do so? Want to pursue a beloved passion that doesn’t pay right away?  

Try something like the Peace Corps or Global Vision International. Both of these organizations provide volunteer positions abroad that pay for people to live somewhere in the world, with a small living allowance, in exchange for their volunteer work to help global communities. The Peace Corps is run by the U.S. government and therefore offers both partial student loan forgiveness and payment delays (both cases depend on individual circumstances) while a person volunteers.  

If volunteer work isn’t appealing, there is the option of teaching English abroad. All that’s needed to do so is any bachelor’s degree from a college in the United States, along with a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification. With these two things, a person can teach English in dozens of different countries around the world, ranging from Central and South America to Africa and Asia, all while being paid a competitive yearly salary.  

 For the hardier individuals, the military is always an option. Don’t turn away just yet. The military allows for bachelor degree-holding individuals to (potentially) enter as an officer, and all branches offer some form of student loan repayment assistance, all while giving a person the opportunity to learn new skills and live all around the world. Working on a cruise ship is perfect for those who love the sun and sea, and cruise companies are always hiring. Want something that will contribute to future job prospects? Find internships either in the States or abroad.  

The truth about graduating college is both exciting and terrifying: Upon graduation, the world is entirely open. Anyone with any degree can do whatever they want and go wherever they please. While a lack of money holds many back, the primary restrictor is, in fact, the fear of the unknown. Lots of people have lofty dreams while in college, but once graduation comes around, they end up settling and losing sight of those dreams for fear of putting themselves out there and falling flat. It doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t let dreams be dreams; pursue life fearlessly and live as no one else can. 

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