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The end of college isn't the end of your education, it's just the end of a chapter of your education. But before we think about what comes next, we should really pause to celebrate. Congratulate ourselves. The work to get through higher ed is challenging. And it can be really helpful to use a celebration to close the book on it so you're ready to move on to the next chapter. In this final episode of How to College, we talk about the road ahead.

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#CrashCourse #HowtoCollege #StudyHall"
Oh, hi there!

As you can see, we’re having a bit of a party. CONFETTI!

And that’s because all the papers have been submitted, the tests have all been taken, final projects presented, and everything borrowed has been returned to the library. That means there’s only one thing to do: celebrate! MORE CONFETTI!

And that’s because attending college is a really rewarding experience, but sometimes, we all get so caught up in achieving the next goal on our list that we forget to bask in our own success. Think about it: just as you finished one semester you were probably already setting up your schedule, buying books, and preparing for the challenges of the next one. Or, maybe you finally scheduled an appointment with your career advisor but now you’re thinking about all the other appointments you haven't scheduled yet.

As students we get so used to looking ahead and planning and trying to balance all our responsibilities that we end up thinking about the future instead of focusing on the present. But if there was ever a time to stop and smell the roses, it’s after we’ve completed our degree. It’s time to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, rest, relax… and then celebrate ourselves for all we’ve done!

In fact, even celebrating smaller achievements, not just the big ones, helps you build confidence in yourself, which is key to becoming a lifelong learner. Hi, I’m Erica Brozovsky, and this is Crash

Course: How to College. a Study Hall series presented in partnership with Arizona State University. Let’s talk about celebrating your accomplishments and developing a lifelong love of learning. [INTRO MUSIC PLAYS] As we get older, we get a lot fewer gold stars on things -- but you know what? I think we should get more. Celebrating our successes might feel silly at first, but it's important to recognize how far we've come and how much we've learned –like I said, it's a key way of building confidence in yourself.

And there are even a couple of key things you can do to help make celebrating yourself a habit. For one, celebrating the things we’ve achieved puts us in a great position to reflect. We can ask ourselves questions like: what we’re most proud of from each year of our degree, what we enjoyed the most about our education, and how we overcame obstacles.

Chances are, you’ve accomplished more than you realize. And you can start practicing how you can use these moments as important examples that demonstrate your experience by looking up common interview questions and drafting your answers. For example, a common interview question asks you what your strengths and weaknesses are; calmly reflecting on your academic career ahead of time can give you genuine and thoughtful answers to this question.

Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. Michael spent his last semester in college working as a front desk receptionist for a local business. While working there, he was the first point of contact for customers who needed help with solving a problem.

Over time, he learned how to efficiently evaluate a problem without alienating the customer. Now, when applying to potential employers, Michael lists “problem-solving” as one area of strength. And when he goes in for an interview, he can mention the steps he took to help address specific problems, or how he got better at problem-solving with new challenges.

Michael’s role also required him to use office technology. Both hardware, like the computer and copy machine, and software, which is any program that’s installed on these devices. And this is where Michael can admit one of his weaknesses: the mid-90s printer.

Don’t worry, none of us liked the mid-90s printer, and the last of their kind still exist in offices around the country to haunt us all. When asked about his weaknesses in the interview, Michael can explain that he’s familiar with a broad range of hardware and software programs, but for some reason, he’s never been able to manage that gremlin-haunted printer from 1996. This is just one example of how previous experiences can prepare us for an interview, but we can do similar reflecting about any significant experience like class projects, volunteer work, internships, research, and other practical learning experiences.

And if you want to learn more about how to find a job, check out episode 13 on transitioning to full-time work! Thanks, Thought Bubble. Another way to celebrate your own success is to journal, or even keep a diary.

You can use a journal to write down the questions and answers you want to reflect on, but you can also use it to just…keep track of your experiences. Because the things you did in your sophomore year of college are still going to be pretty clear in your memory on graduation, but trust me, time takes its toll! Having a diary or journal of your experiences as they happen, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, can be extremely valuable to look back on years later as you want to remember how much you’ve achieved– and the details of those achievements.

Ultimately, celebrating and looking back on your accomplishments actually prepares you for your next step. But this reflection doesn’t have to be all on you! Tell someone!

Tell a lot of someones. Share your accomplishments with the people around you who matter to you and have helped you get where you are, whether that’s your family, a favorite coach, or your mentor. These people have supported you through your degree, and they’ll appreciate the chance to celebrate your wins, no matter how big or small.

And finally, when you’re celebrating yourself, be sure to reward yourself. Now, there’s a fine line to walk here: you don’t want to reward yourself just to get that gold star. You want to celebrate your effort and the success that came from it.

So this might mean pulling an all-nighter to meet a last minute deadline and then treating yourself to a relaxing day at the spa, or going for a long coastal hike to reconnect with nature. Maybe a bunch of people in your group of friends got promoted all at once, so you decide to have a celebratory group dinner. And eventually, we learn to associate the effort and success itself with inherent satisfaction; we experience pleasure in learning.

This is intrinsic motivation, and it’s a key part of lifelong learning. An undergraduate degree gives you a solid foundation for career success, but lifelong learning continues your development of knowledge and skills after formal education ends. You can develop new skills–and sharpen old ones– while building and expanding on the knowledge you learned in college.

This can be pretty important, because not every skill or piece of knowledge you learn in the classroom remains relevant for the length of your entire career - especially when you consider the fact that an average career lasts about 31 years! Now in that time, there’s a lot of new knowledge being generated in just about every field. Some people keep up-to-date by reading professional magazines and academic journals, while other people take continuing education classes– in fact, sometimes that’s mandated by law.

And skills can become outdated, too. Some researchers have suggested that every five years, a specific job skill, like having a commercial driving license, becomes half as valuable as it was. Now obviously this isn’t true for every career, but it does give you a good idea of why you should stay on top of skill development.

So, how do you do that? Well, mindset definitely helps! Define what being a lifelong learner looks like for you, and pursue knowledge in a way that makes sense for you and your goals.

And one way to formally keep learning we can consider is graduate school, which is additional school for people who have already gotten their undergraduate degree. Through grad school, you can earn an advanced degree, like a master’s or doctoral degree. And although grad school is not the best choice for everyone, it could be the right choice for you if your career path requires it or if you need it to be more competitive in the job market.

The ins and outs of graduate school could fill an entire episode, but keep in mind that there’s no time limit on attending grad school. For instance, pursuing a graduate degree mid-career can have several benefits; like, if it’s relevant to your job, your employer may offer tuition reimbursement. You might also find that you have a different type of motivation at that stage in your life or have a better idea of the work you want to do.

But grad school is just one way to continue learning after college. There are lots of different options: from watching fun educational YouTube videos, to picking up a new hobby or reading books that are relevant to your field. We can also use tools like the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is published every two years.

You can search the results by the fastest-growing jobs, most in-demand degrees, and more. While it's not a perfect oracle, it does allow us to spot trends and themes in the workforce. Even though college is ending, it’s really just the beginning.

Hopefully, you’re getting excited about what your future holds while still celebrating what you’ve already accomplished. And if you’re not quite sure how to feel, that’s okay, too. Our best advice here on Crash Course as you start your new career is to focus on expanding your knowledge, understanding your strengths, and figuring out what drives you!

Don’t be afraid to move around and try new things - it’s okay if you have multiple career paths over the course of your life! Try not to pressure yourself to build a “perfect” career because that doesn't exist! Career development is not linear; sometimes you will take steps back, make lateral moves, or run in place as you decide what your next step is.

You’re doing great, and we’re so proud of you and all you’ve accomplished. CONFETTI! Thanks for watching this episode of Crash Course How to College.

This series is part of an expanded program called Study Hall. Crash Course has partnered with Arizona State University to launch Study Hall on its own channel. Check out youtube.com/studyhall where you’ll find more tips about navigating college, choosing a major, plus foundational courses connected to college credit courses that students struggle most with in their first 2 years.

We hope to see you over there!