There’s nothing like the euphoric high that comes with graduation. It’s exciting to be officially (finally!) done with all the hard work you put into education and degrees. If you’re a new graduate you have have so many options: work, more education, and, for some, the beginning of a vocation.
But once the hype dies down and the graduation caps fall back down to earth, many of us are left wondering what else can be done. We have all the time in the world, but no idea what to do with it! If you find yourself in the new graduate boat, here are some tips of what you, a new (Catholic) graduate, can do.
1. Get personal with the saints
Are you going into your chosen field of work right after graduation? Become friendly with the patron saint of that field. Headed to graduate school? Keep the patron saint of your field of study, Saint Joseph of Cupertino (patron of exam takers), and any of the patron saints of students on your spiritual speed dial.
Do you want to work but can’t find a job? Saint Joseph the Worker and Saint Cajetan are the perfect saints to ask for help. Are you beginning a new vocation? Find out who the patron saint of your vocation is and read up on their life for inspiration. Simply unsure of what to do after graduation? Call on the Holy Spirit to give you clarity or do a novena to your favorite saint for guidance. Don’t be afraid to get friendly with the saints and ask for their intercession.
2. Put mercy into practice
For most the recent graduate, it can take up to 6 months to find a job – hence the 6 month grace period provided by the federal government. If you’re not pursuing a higher degree and/or are currently looking for a job you may find yourself with quite a bit of free time. Why not practice some of the corporal works of mercy?
During a time when dipping our toes into the real world can seem a little daunting, nothing can be better than doing for others who are less fortunate than you. It’s good for your mental as well as your spiritual health.
3. Be a regular to the sacraments
The time between graduation and getting used to your first job outside the academic bubble can be a bit disorienting. You’re trying to figure out your boundaries, your priorities, and how to start this new phase of your life. One of the best things you can do during this time is to frequent the sacraments.
Try to go to confession at least once a month. Work to fit in a daily mass to your schedule, even if it’s just once or twice a week. There’s a reason why several saints (including Pius X and Padre Pio!) have encouraged Catholics to receive the Eucharist as often as possible.
4. Invest into your spiritual life
Honesty hour: most of us don’t have the best spiritual life while in college. It’s easy to find an excuse to miss Mass or confession. You may have found yourself a little too caught up with the social scene. Perhaps you didn’t keep the best company and fell away from the Church for a while during school.
But there’s good news! You can get back on track and renew your spiritual life. Start simply by getting into the habit of praying more often. Choose a novena, the Rosary, or any other prayer or devotion you feel drawn to and carve a couple of minutes out of your day to do it. Stop by the adoration chapel or do a Holy Hour on the First Friday of the month. The choice is yours.
Whatever you choose to do, remember to invite God into your life and decision making. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to keep Him at the center of your life. Don’t worry about what the future may bring. Even when things are up in the air, He will help guide to whatever path He has in store for you.