After university... What?


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You just graduated and finally got the coveted paper! Excited parents after university already see you as a scientist or business executive. Grandparents, aunts and uncles congratulate you on your success. Excitement is evident in the atmosphere, until the question that will ruin everything is asked:

"And now what are you going to do with your life?"

Once you've established that you have no idea what will be the next steps in your life. You often wonder: What profession suits me? How will I find a job. Did I like the industry I studied? Have I ever set a goal in life beyond my degree? Clearly an easy answer to avoid the predicament you're in would be "graduate school!" You've learned to only be behind desks in your life, so very quickly graduate school seems like your best option.

Don't feel uncomfortable, we're growing up with this idea. In fact, most young people today choose to continue on to postgraduate studies immediately after graduation. But have we thought about whether graduate school is the right choice to build our career? Is it possible that we chose graduate school because it seems the "safest" and most familiar option because we don't know any alternatives?

First, to answer this question we need to demystify the word "safe" choice. What does it mean that graduate school is a safe choice? Are we ready to dedicate another 2 years of our lives to study something we have never worked in? Are we so sure of the career paths we want to pursue early on that we get a specialization? Will we be able to use our master's degree because, like a degree, it does not guarantee us a job? Moreover, do we think it is safer to invest €10,000 to €50,000 for a postgraduate degree rather than to test our skills in business or in a work environment?

Here we haven't even had time to figure out if the existing school we are in is fulfilling us and suddenly we have to plan our future?

And somewhere here the carefree life of the student stops

We are called upon to make decisions for which we have not been given instructions for use, scripts or ready-made solutions. But what does a spoiled child do when you don't give him chewed food? Of course he reacts. He blames everyone and everything and everything is his fault.

The bubble that life is fair has now burst. That the roads are paved and you just choose. For the first time he understands that to have, you have to claim. But to claim, you have to be exposed. You have to have an open mind. Communicate and network. Dare and fail. Unlucky the kid though, because he can't find in which chapter he learned the word fortitude and he sure passed all the tests he was told. So he hides behind his insecurity about the unknown and his inability to rise to the occasion. He becomes a spectator in his life and waits to see who will point him in a direction to follow.

The magic solution will be provided by the most beloved and potentially most "dangerous" people in his life. His parents. His parents out of the overwhelming love they have for him refuse to see their child in inactivity and indicate the road to success. The road that knew glorious times when they were young. The path that will surely secure a job for their child. The road to a master's degree.

After university, qualifications are certified knowledge, not work contracts.

The perception that a master's degree is a contract of employment is a relic of previous decades. Back then it was fashionable for everyone to do 1-2 master's degrees so that they could start to penetrate the job market. Today we have officially entered an era of 'academic inflation', which loosely translated means that degrees are gradually losing their value.

To understand the phenomenon of "academic inflation" better, let us imagine that we are in kindergarten. The next step in our lives is to go to primary school and the next one to high school, later high school and then university. In other words, we grow up in a protected system, all sitting in the same chair for 16 years. We all read what we are told to read. We all rise to the same levels as we are told. We are tested for all our abilities in exactly the same way, with desk tests. It seems ideal if society only asked for the same workers for the same production line and with the same standardized work. But fortunately or unfortunately that is not the case.

After university, however, our constants change. We say goodbye to our fishbowl and for the first time in our lives we really take the reins. We are able to plan our next steps ourselves. Thousands of unknown paths that were already knocking at our door as students but we refused to explore. We didn't travel when we could have. We didn't test our potential in university teams. We didn't engage in volunteering for phenomena we cared about. We didn't study for a semester in a country with a different language. We didn't get that job that required us to get out into the outside world of business. We didn't strain ourselves doing an internship at the same time.

We forgot to prepare for the real world.

The traffic jam... graduates!

The problem at the moment is that we are all moving in the same direction. A road that we all found ourselves on, following the same path, without any particular differentiation, waiting in vain to stand out. It is particularly ironic that we should be aware of this phenomenon, because we live it every day and we call it traffic jams. A traffic jam of graduates who have a similar pathway and are looking for a job, which always requires a certain amount of experience.

We can in no way condemn the value of a postgraduate degree. Sometimes it is necessary. However, it does not mean that it is for everyone and that we should do it at 22 straight out of university.

And if you want my personal opinion, even if grad school was the safe choice, do you want to live in your seatbelt from the age of 22? The most intense, creative and productive years begin when there are no guidelines and restrictions, when the rules challenge you to break them. The 16 years you trained was a repetitive routine with strict structures and relatively easy considering all you did was read, pass classes and level up.

Now you plan your path, you set your goals and you plan your daily life.

Remember that dreams only come true when we set goals and take action. It's not too late to put the victim's clothes in the closet and claim life. You have the opportunity to take risks, to not be afraid, to move into the unknown, and to truly expose yourself in every area. Pursue and gather experiences that will shape your personality, develop valuable skills and make you stand out. You will have the luck to fail many times. You will experience the challenges and the sweetnesses of the journey. You will feel the real frustration of hitting rock bottom and you will find a way to unleash the real power within you to get back up. You will seek success on the tops of many mountains while gazing at the most beautiful scenery you could ever imagine.

Our studies are only the starting point of our journey, not the destination. To find our destination we need to lead ourselves first and become collectors of experiences.

Therefore, the choice is yours. Do you want to follow a well-trodden familiar path or carve your own?

Before you answer, think: The outside world is quite complicated but would you like it to be simple? Also, it doesn't have labels, but then again, if it did, would you want to follow them?

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