Across the country, university students are completing their courses and hopefully looking forward to graduation (virtual or otherwise). First of all, I would like to extend my congratulations to you all. Whatever degree you have completed, wherever you completed it, congratulations. The journey is long and difficult; therefore this accomplishment should be celebrated, I hope you all celebrate no matter how small. Graduating can be a daunting prospect and the barrage of questions that are thrown at you post-graduation could induce great anxiety and apprehension. There are important decisions that ought to be made by graduates and whilst these decisions may be daunting, good decisions can be made. Hopefully, this article will be of aid to you who are graduating and those who will be graduating soon.
Soak it in
There can be the tendency to feel like you have to take the next step immediately after graduating. Your colleagues and friends may already have made the next step and you may feel the pressure to do that too. Whether it is to apply for a masters or get that graduate role, there can be the pressure to do what’s next lest you fall behind. Whilst it is true “life waits for no man”, rushing to a perceived “next stage” could prevent you from acknowledging and appreciating the stage you have just completed. Living life in such a way will have you accumulating accomplishments and never having the time to enjoy them. Whilst western society encourages you to live life at 100 miles per hour, God does not. Instead, God tells us to be thankful in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18), trust Him in everything (Proverbs 3:5) and rely on Him to supply your needs (Philippians 4:19). This does not mean that we should be inactive and just wait for God to live life on our behalf. It means that we don’t have to live life as if we are the necessary denominator for success. Enjoy your accomplishments and if you haven’t applied for that graduate scheme or that master’s degree immediately it is not too late. Trust God and apply, God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above what you can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
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Trust God’s Promises
In my opinion, an over-quoted yet perhaps misunderstood portion of scripture is Matthew 6:25-33. This part of scripture is part of the famous sermon of the mount. Jesus illustrates to the crowd that if God beautifies flowers that are later used for fuel or feed birds that don’t work for their food, won’t God look after the crowning point of His creation? Don’t miss the implication here. Working isn’t a result of the fall. God worked in creation and one way in which we reflect the nature of God is when we work. Proverbs repeatedly speaks to the wickedness of laziness (Proverbs 10:4, 13:4, 18:9, 21:25). Jesus here says, God feeds the birds and they do nothing. Flowers that are trampled by dogs in the park or destroyed by a game of football, God clothes them with beauty just for admiration. Jesus says if God pays such attention to these parts of His creation, how much more humans who are crowned with glory and honour (Psalms 8:4-5)? The point of this portion of scripture is God will take care of you. You don’t have to put faith in the quality of your degree to be the ticket to a successful career. God knows what you desire and He is good. God does not derive pleasure from seeing His children suffer. God wants good for you, that doesn’t mean that you will get everything you want. What it does mean is that you can trust God with your life because He loves you. If God delights in giving you His kingdom (Luke 12:32), do you think it’s your career He wants to hinder? God will order your steps, you can take a breath child of God (Psalm 37:27).
What Do I Do Next?
Graduating does produce a plethora of questions and not all of them can be answered immediately. I don’t have all the answers but God does. Have big dreams, just don’t hold on to them too tightly. What I mean is the success of your career will matter little if you lose your soul (Mark 8:36). We were created for glory. We were created to know God and enjoy Him forever (Westminster Catechism). Don’t be so focused on career success that you forget what your career success should display – the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Work hard, dream big and trust God. No matter which path you end up taking, rest in the knowledge that you are secure in the arms of God.