You’ve worked hard for a number of years, pulling all-nighters, and scrambling all over the city to get the pieces together for your final project, meeting deadline after deadline. Do you deserve a break after graduation? Sure you do. But I’ll give you a few reasons why you shouldn’t take an official break.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t relax for a weekend, sleep late, and watch a little TV. After graduation, you are your own boss. There are very few outside forces “making” you be anything. You have to decide what you want to do, and you get to set your own pace. Not every day will be a sprint (some days will be a sleep), but stopping dead in your tracks only hurts you in the end.
Keep these things in mind…
Follow up on the year-end show – If you’ve been in an art-based program, chances are you’ve had (or are about to have) a year-end show. A surprising number of industry professionals attend and/or keep an eye on emerging talent. Work hard around this time to get your name out there.
Ride the Momentum – You’re used to working hard by now. It can be tempting to slow down, but it will definitely benefit you in the long run to keep up your good work ethic. You can only describe yourself as a “recent graduate” for so long. Make the most of it.
Job Applications Happen Year-Round – “Taking the Summer off” likely means that you’ll start buckling down and getting back to work for September, but a lot of jobs are being posted now. Friends of mine changed the date of their wedding because they realized it was the same day as job postings in their field came out. That’s serious commitment. They realized that being on a honeymoon is a poor excuse to miss out on your dream job.
Work Networked Connections – It can be easy to fall out of touch with your colleagues, teachers, and co-op/placement connections. By the time you get back into work-mode in September or October, they will have moved on and be working with a new group of students. Staying in touch is valuable.
You Have Competition – Not everyone can afford to take time off, and the rewards will go to those who really want it. Think of how many people graduated with you. Now multiply that by all of the similar programs, and by all of the schools nearby that offer the same things. Those people are all just as qualified as you, and not everyone will be waiting until the fall to start making a name for themselves.
Have you ever heard the saying “you can sleep when you’re dead”? I find it both discouraging and exciting all at once. Sometimes I just want to sleep, but I’m also invigorated by the idea that there’s just so much to do! It’s always a good idea to try and clear your head, I just think it can be dangerous to just stop altogether.
image source: John Oxley Library