Why You Need a Post-Graduation Break

Photo by Ashleigh Mavros

This post is part of a series of “Lives of New Professionals” guest posts for Progressions.

With the start of spring semester the “G” word hangs heavy in the minds of college seniors. Job searches, polished cover letters and countless interviews are inevitable over the next few months. Excited as you may be about landing your first “real-life” job, it’s important to take the time to ensure a simple transition from student to professional. After graduating, taking a break is one of the best decisions you could make.

I graduated this past December and was blessed to have an entire three weeks of winter break before starting my full-time position. Here’s how I found it to be most useful:

Taking a mini vacation
Post-graduation, you most likely won’t have the flexibility to take a spur-of-the-moment trip like you did as a student. During your break take a spontaneous road trip, even if just for a day or two. Awesome concert in the city over? Go for it. A location on your bucket list you never got to? Check it off. At the last minute, I went to St. Petersburg, Florida to watch my Ohio University Bobcats play in their bowl game. The trip lasted a whole 72 hours but was the perfect amount of vacation.

Settling into a new city
If you’re moving to a new city, your logistical to-do list will most likely be longer than anticipated. Renting a U-Haul, setting up bank accounts and finding the nearest Kroger can become stressful and take up a large chunk of time. By moving into your new abode several days ahead of time, you won’t feel rushed at the last minute. Even though I had previously lived in Columbus, it took an entire two days to get fully settled.

Getting your finances straight
Even with the help of your parents, budgeting for a new life takes some serious time and consideration. Use these weeks to evaluate where you stand financially and then project expenses. Parents will start to wean you off their accounts and student loans will creep up in six months. Knowing I would be receiving a salary was exciting; finding out I had to start paying for my car insurance, cell phone and medical expenses immediately was not.

Beating burnout
No one deserves to go from finals to a 40-hour workweek. Taking the time to clear your mind will give you a fresh start to your job. Transitioning from schoolwork to real public relations work takes some changing of mindsets. My days were filled with yoga pants, Girls on HBO and plenty of time with my puppy. By clearing my mind, I was ready to jump into work on the first day.

Getting into a new routine
In college my body was used to a 2 a.m. bedtime and a 9:30 a.m. alarm clock—I was definitely a night owl. During my break I anticipated my new rise and shine work time of 6:30 a.m., so I knew I needed to hit the sack earlier. Sure enough, I gradually started to fall asleep and wake up at an earlier time. Without taking this into consideration, you may feel out of whack your first couple days.

What will you take advantage of during your post-grad break?

Ashleigh Mavros is a recent graduate of Ohio University and an account associate at Fahlgren Mortine, a fully integrated marketing and communications agency. Connect with her on Twitter @ashleighmavros and on LinkedIn

4 thoughts on “Why You Need a Post-Graduation Break

    • Author gravatar

      I think this is an excellent idea! As a returning full-time student, I could not agree more. After my junior year as a PR student, I spent 1 and 1/2 years working a demanding full-time job. Transitioning from a student to a 40+ hour a week employee was very exhausting and definitely a learning experience. Taking some time in between the transition is probably the best thing a graduate can do to prepare themselves. There is a lot that comes with being and “adult” and taking on a full time job. I know when I graduate this spring, I will definitely be taking some time for myself before taking on full time hours at work.

    • Author gravatar

      This was a great post and definitely what I need to consider, as I am a college senior graduating this May. I have already started to think about my road trip!

    • Author gravatar

      I love this idea! I’m graduating in May and it’s just starting to hit me how a big of a change is coming my way. You’re right, we won’t always have the opportunity to take a much-needed break. I think I’ll be adding a little intentional down time to my post-grad plans.

    • Author gravatar

      I’m glad you both agree! Four weeks into my full-time position I am so grateful I savored every moment of my break between college and career.

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