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10 Things Graduates Should Do

The time after college graduation remains one of the most unsettling moments in each young professional’s life. Have you crossed over into mainstream adulthood? Who am I as a person and professional? Am I ready to jump into the rest of my life? Before hastily answering all these questions, take some time to discover yourself and maybe fulfill a couple childhood dreams. You don’t have to do everything before you start (Or you’ll go broke in a week), but taking a little bit of “Me Time” and doing something that excites you helps prepare you for life’s next chapter Skydiving: Whether you’re an adrenaline junky, or you’ve always found the concept of jumping out of a plane and freefalling thousands of feet exhilarating (I can’t say I share that sentiment), skydiving provides an inimitable feeling of wonder and inspiration. Now you can stay local, and find the nearest area to skydive, or you can go big and destination dive. If you are looking to add to a trip somewhere, New Zealand, Australia, and Switzerland have fantastic skydiving reputations. Fox Glacier in New Zealand is consistently ranked one of the best skydiving spots for the spectacular view and atmosphere. Building a trip around one of these destinations might be a great way to adventure before starting your career. If an expensive trip isn’t in your budget (Probably not, you just graduated), then there are plenty of domestic skydiving options, even regal locations like the California coast, the Grand Canyon, and many more.
  1. How about a Road Trip?:
A friend of mine did this very thing a week after he graduated, and if I could do it all over, I might do the same. While his road trip centered around hitting the best pig out joints on the Eastern seaboard, yours can be to anywhere or nowhere at all. Many people opt for a cross country road trip (If near one the coasts). A post-grad road trip is cheap, destinationless, and liberating, as the traveler sets the pace, the course and the enjoyment. Taking a trip with a close friend from school can make the trip even more memorable.
  1. Bungee Jumping:
If skydiving is a little too extreme for you, then perhaps bungee jumping will satisfy your adrenaline fix. The pulse-pounding free-fall remains the same while the air rushes by your ears in a deafening drone until you are yanked back up at the last second in elastic fashion. While bungee jumping is widely available around the country, nothing compares to the view and exhilaration felt in Queenstown, New Zealand. The scenery might be the best in the world (when it comes to bungee jumping) off the brief ledges from which visitors jump into the canyon-like sky below.
  1. Finally Take that Euro-Trip:
If you never got the chance to study abroad or spend a summer semester across the pond, this might be your last chance for a while! The reality of a full time career locks young professionals into place under the crushing pressures of student loans and absence of vacation time. It might not be the most fiscally responsible option, but it also might be your last chance to explore before settling down with a career and possibly a family. A trip through Europe opens your world to the vast array of cultures and history that cover the landscape. Rome, Vienna, Prague, Paris, London, and so many other beautiful cities are worth exploring before you lock into life state-side.
  1. Visit the Caribbean:
Many students plan a spring break trip to the tropical, cerulean waters of the Caribbean, but if you missed out, a quick trip after graduation may quell your curiosity. A trip to the eastern shores of Mexico around Cancun provides the perfect beach escape to hit the reset button before starting phase two of your life. If you prefer an island experience, spend and all-inclusive stay in the Dominican Republic on a beach in Punta Cana. There are plenty of surprisingly affordable vacation options in the Caribbean to give you one last hurrah before buckling down.
  1. Join the Peace Corps or Volunteer:
Joining the Peace Corps is the perfect way to truly make the world a better place by traveling somewhere new. While vacationing might feel a little selfish at times, teaching abroad or providing needed services in a foreign country helps develop a dual sense of reward. Not only will you enjoy a once in a lifetime opportunity, you’ll be helping others in need while you do so, which may unlock a passion that you may never have experienced before. If the Peace Corps isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of domestic volunteer groups where you can give your time, help a community in need, and learn something new in the process. The time post-graduation is the best time to explore different communities and learn all you can; make sure to take full advantage!
  1. Learn a New Language: [caption id="attachment_4841" align="aligncenter" width="500"]learning a new language through audio cassette learning a new language through audio cassette[/caption]
There are a billion options for learning a new language. You may learn in the classroom, an online course, or even Rosetta Stone, but the best way to learn a new language remains immersion into the environment. In order to achieve fluency in another language, you need to hear it every day. Hear the intricacies. The idioms. The only way to mimic that daily dose of language is through living among those who primarily speak the tongue. Added bonuses of language immersion are the new culture and lifestyles you might experience in a foreign country. Just take a job doing anything in another country, whether it’s related to your field or not, to open your horizons and truly learn something new.
  1. Backpack through Asia: Backpack
Many students and graduates see backpacking as a journey of self-discovery. You get away from the electronic influence of everyday life (for a little while) and get out into the open air to see a different side of a new world. Backpacking through Southeast Asia provides everything you might want in a cross country journey through both land and mind. The scenery of Thailand and surrounding countries is captivating, liberating you from the stresses of mind and body. If you’re looking for a way to press the reset button before opening the next chapter of your life, a backpacking trip is a great way to clear your head.
  1. Try an Internship/Part-Time Job Somewhere New: [caption id="attachment_4844" align="aligncenter" width="625"]I just got an internship! So here's a coati I got to meet I just got an internship! So here's a coat I just got an internship![/caption]
Once you start down your career path you will inevitably feel the drive (or pull) to move up within your field. Too often, that sequesters you to one area as you pound the pavement to prove your worth and move up in gradual fashion. Before you resign yourself to this reality, take half the year to work a part-time job or internship somewhere you’ve never been before. It can be anything that might interest you, or anything you’ve thought about trying since you were little as long as it’s somewhere new! You won’t get many opportunities once you’re in career mode, so take advantage of the brief time before life gets serious and move to California, Oklahoma, Minnesota, or wherever it is that might challenge you. It might seem odd or pointless, but sometimes we need to explore new areas to improve our own understanding of who we are.
  1. Bonus- Eat your Ideal Meal at the Ideal Restaurant: sushi
This one might seem a little odd to the majority of recent grads (Or people in general), but for all you food junkies out there (like me); you understand why this makes the list. For me, that place is Sandy’s Donuts in Fargo, North Dakota. Their donuts have an angelic taste quality that I struggle to put into words (Over exaggeration? I disagree they are THAT good..). Actually, one of Sandy’s best donuts is appropriately named “Angel,” so make sure you grab one if you happen to visit (Seriously, you should visit you won’t regret it). Maybe donuts in Fargo, North Dakota doesn’t sound like you, but perhaps authentic southern barbecue in North Carolina is your flavor, or Maine lobster, or even Italian beef in Chicago. Whatever your amazing meal constitutes, it’s worth taking a trip somewhere to get the best version of that food. Treat yourself! Once you find a place, make a trip out of it by researching the destination and planning a couple fun stops. In other words, turn it into a vacation! Some people might not think food is worth traveling for, but if there’s something you love and you want to get away before your career dawns, a food centric trip, might be the perfect way to go.  

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