Once you have completed your studies and you’ve gained your degree, what are your plans? This can, for some, be the most frightening of questions; the world is a big place, and there are so many options that it can feel downright overwhelming. For others, the question is scary for a different reason; there just don’t feel as though there is enough choice and nothing they could do now that have their degree qualification seems very exciting. 

Either way, it can be hard to decide what to do after college, even though this is something you will most likely have been considering for the entire time you were working towards your degree. If you can’t decide what to do, it can be tempting just to pick the first job that comes your way, whether you’re suited to it or not. After all, you need to start earning money and making your way in the work, especially if you want to work at reducing your student debt. However, this is a bad idea; it will make you miserable and be a waste of time. It’s far better to take a little time to consider what you really want to do. With that in mind, here are some of the best ideas for what to do after college; there is sure to be something here that makes you start to take notice. 

Go Home 

Although it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re just about to make a name for yourself in the wider world, but moving back home with your parents just for a short while makes a lot of sense. You can use this time to explore your different options and weigh up the pros and cons of what you might like to do without the added pressure (in most cases, at least) of having to pay a high rent. 

Of course, you may need to pay something towards living expenses, but this won’t be as much as you would be paying if you had your own place to maintain. This gives you the breathing space you’ll need to come to a good, well-thought-out decision rather than a snap decision that you’ll later regret. 

Keep Learning 

It might be that despite your degree, you don’t have the qualifications required to do the job you now realize you want to do. For instance, say that you earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing and become a registered nurse. It might be that being this is enough for you. However, if you realize soon into your new job that you want to do more and take on a more specialized role, then it may be essential to earn another degree. This is particularly the case if you want to become an FNP. In fact, you won’t be able to do whatever it is you want to do unless you apply for another degree, perhaps for a master’s degree. If you are keen to take on the role of an FNP, then the Carson-Newman University‘s MSN-FNP program is just what you need. Designed for the working nurse, you can earn the qualifications you need and achieve your dream role. 

Whatever your reason for wanting to have more education, going back to school when you have just left is a viable idea for many people and something that could change their lives for the better once they have completed this next step in their education. If you’re worried about cost, then what about getting a part-time job in a related field to what you eventually want to do (assuming you know what that is) and completing your education online? It’s an ideal solution and will give you everything you want. 

Become A Research Assistant 

Is your college looking for research assistants? It is something to look into and ask about because a lot of schools do require recent graduates to work for them as research assistants, and this could advance your career greatly and give you the time to decide what it is you really want to do. 

Areas where research assistants are most needed, tend to be:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Math
  • Psychology 


Although almost every department will have some need for research at some point, and if the department you studied in is looking for research assistants, it can be an excellent idea to apply. Not only will you have a job, but you will also gain a lot more experience, which will make you appealing to employers. On top of all of this, you will understand much more about yourself, and you’ll know exactly which direction you want to go in in terms of your career and your education. 

Take A Gap Year 

Sometimes not working – assuming you can manage this, of course – and not being educated for a little while can be the best solution to the problem you’re facing of deciding what to do next. In other words, why not take a gap year? By taking a year out to go traveling, exploring, and otherwise finding out more about yourself, you can determine just what it is that really interests you and what it is that you actually want to do. By the time you get home again, and you’re ready to move on with the rest of your life, you should have a much better idea of what moving on entails, and you’ll be able to take the necessary steps. 

When you have a gap year, it’s crucial not to waste your time. You’ll need to find things to do that will enhance your life skills, such as communication and problem-solving. Simply lying on a beach somewhere hot might be nice for a week or two, but it’s not going to help you much beyond relaxation. 

Find An Internship

Internships have a bad reputation in some areas. That’s because they are thought not to pay very well, be extremely hard work, and not teach very much. The reality is that internships aren’t the best paying jobs, and they do require you to work hard, but they teach you a huge amount. This is the main reason for applying for an internship; the first-hand learning you will be able to enjoy is second to none. Plus, there might be a chance of gaining a full-time job in the same company once your internship is completed (although this is not guaranteed and shouldn’t be the sole reason for taking on an internship). At the very least, you should receive a letter of recommendation to help you find a position once you have finished work, assuming you did a good job. 

The best thing to do if you want to apply for an internship is to do so early. They are very popular, and there will usually be many applicants for just one position. Leaving your research about which internship is best for you and your application for that internship until you have graduated will be far too late. You need to start as soon as possible and have a position secured before you graduate. 

Turn Your Passion Into A Business 

If you don’t know what to do in terms of your career once you have graduated, why not make a career for yourself by starting your own business? It may sound like a hard thing to do, but there are so many guides available, as well as plenty of business mentors, that if this is something that appeals to you, you should be able to find out exactly how to do it. 


Although starting the business itself is technically a simple thing to do, running it and ensuring its success is much more difficult, as is coming up with a viable and sustainable business idea. It’s a good thing if you’re interested in the business you have set up, as you’ll be much more willing to put in long hours to make it work – this is why starting a business related to your passions and hobbies is a great idea. You just need to ensure that it’s something other people are going to want to spend money on. 

Find Volunteer Opportunities 

If you are looking for some different ways to add experience to your resume, volunteering would certainly help. When you become a volunteer in any sector, from helping the homeless to picking up litter to collecting money for charity and much more, you will develop a plethora of new skills or enhance the ones you have. 

When you are a volunteer, you can become a team leader, you can problem-solve, you can learn how to be adaptable and how to communicate well with a variety of different people. There is no limits to what you can do and what you can learn, and if you’re unsure what to do in terms of your career, taking some time to volunteer can help to clear your mind and give you an opportunity to think more deeply about the future. 

Find Seasonal Work

Maybe there is one thing you’re very interested in doing, but that one thing is a seasonal position, such as wine-making, farming in specific sectors, or even decorating homes for the festive season. If this is the case, you might think you can’t sustain a real living in this way, and you have to look for a different kind of job that will allow you to work full-time. 

This is not necessarily the case. The reality is that there are many different types of seasonal work, and if the one thing you genuinely want to do is only possible during the winter months, why not seek out a different seasonal position for the summer months and vice versa. Even if only one of the jobs you do is something that you are truly passionate about, at least you will have a full-time job (all added together) as well as a lot of variety, which is something that is often not considered but which is actually very important to ensure good overall wellbeing in life.