Next week, on June 29, our whole community will gather at Town Hall Seattle for Commencement 2019. It’s the momentous end of a busy academic year, a chance to celebrate, remember, and connect together before entering the spacious, sunny months of July and August. And for the 59 students who will be walking across that stage, graduation represents the end of years of grueling labor, rigorous personal development, and courageous conversations.
So the question arises: What next? Besides celebrating with loved ones (and maybe taking a nap), how do you mark the end of such a significant chapter and begin transitioning toward whatever’s ahead? We shared that question—What should I do after graduation?—with our alumni community, asking for advice, stories, and resources. Here are some of their answers:
- “After I graduated I gave myself two full months to live life before I started looking for a job. I road tripped and camped through Crater Lake, Grand Tetons, and Rocky Mountain National Parks for about two weeks and then traveled to Rome, Morocco, and Los Angeles. I did all of this because I wanted to revisit some significant places in my story and have a new adventure to reclaim the part of myself I set down as school took up so much time and space. I’m forever grateful I was able to do these things so I could get centered again, remember that the world is big and beautiful and full of possibility, and take that stance/mindset to step into my professional role as a therapist.” –Krystina Ptasinski (MA in Counseling Psychology, ’16)
- “After graduation, I went on a pilgrimage to Norway—a decision prompted by several classes I’d taken, including Multicultural Perspectives and Celtic Spirituality. My pilgrimage was to explore the (primary) land of my ethnic/ancestral roots. I knew that I had family scattered about Norway—not many contacts, but enough info to risk going.” –Eric Nicolaysen (Master of Divinity, ’12)
- “Two things that were helpful for me: 1) Go to the doctor and get a full physical. Grad school can be stressful, and stress is tough on your body. Get a full picture of your physical health and make some plans to recover. 2) Take a lot of naps over the next few months. You have probably lost a lot of sleep over the last few years, and graduation in and of itself is wonderfully exhausting. Get some rest!” –Ashley Wright (MACP, ’16)
- “I think everybody should join me on a meditative mountain hike. Let’s get out of the city, inhale the ridiculous beauty of the Pacific Northwest, gain healing wisdom from Mother Earth, and reconnect with our own inner, still voices.” –Michelle Allen (MACP, ’14)
- “This one probably seems preposterous, since right now some of you might feel like you never want to look at a book again. But the summer after graduation, I listened to Jim Dale’s brilliant narration of the entire Harry Potter series (yes, audiobooks count) and it was exactly what I needed—a sweeping, fantastic story that managed to transcend my day-to-day life while still helping me feel more closely connected to the world around me.” –Beau Denton (MACP, ‘17)
- If you’re looking for summer reading ideas, check out these faculty recommendations for incoming students on the Matriculate blog. Because every ending is really another beginning, right?
Whether you’re graduating next week or just looking forward to a couple months without classes, we hope the summer ahead is full of rest, connection, and the opportunity to grow more deeply into yourself. And in the meantime, we’d love to see you at Commencement next Saturday—either in person at Town Hall or over on Facebook, where we’ll be streaming the whole ceremony live.