55 Things To Do Instead Of Going To Grad School

I’m not here to discourage you from going to grad school. By all means, if you have ambitions of being a doctor, lawyer or scriptwriter, I encourage you to go follow those dreams. Future me will even pay you good money to save my life, divide my assets and entertain me with your latest horror flick. But in case you’re considering going to grad school just because you can’t think of anything else to do, I’m here to tell you that you HAVE OTHER OPTIONS. Less expensive and time-consuming and anxiety-inducing options. At least 55 of them, to be exact. But really, the possibilities are endless.

1. Get an entry-level job that you hate. File papers or serve coffee or work your way up from the mailroom. At the worst it’s some cash and some experience. At the best, it’s the fire you need under your ass.

2. Get an entry-level job that you love. Not the one with the 401K and killer health benefits, but one you actually enjoy showing up to every morning. Appreciate the underrated concept of being happy at work for once.

3. Volunteer at a hostel for free accommodation. Save up enough money to buy a plane ticket somewhere sunny and a month’s worth of food. Then volunteer 20 hours a week of your time in order to house yourself somewhere wonderful.

4. Couchsurf your way around the world. Forgo the cost of accommodation and the tax of loneliness by temporarily shacking up with cool strangers in some of the best places on earth.

5. Start that band you always wanted to start. Get a side hustle to supplement your income.

6. Get a working holiday visa. Go pick fruit in Australia or herd sheep on a farm in New Zealand. At worst it’ll be the most unique year of your life.

7. Pick a passion and go freelance with it. Turn your side interest in photography or writing into something profitable.

8. Volunteer with an organization you care about. Gain valuable experience in your field and actually feel as though you’re making a difference at something.

9. Move back in with your parents. Chill at home while you figure out what comes next. Enjoy getting to know your family all over again as an adult.

10. Move to that city you’ve always dreamed of moving to. Work whichever job you need to work in order to make it happen.

11. Start your own business. Stop playing by everyone else’s rules, and get involved in the thriving startup scene.

12. Take a year to perfect a non-academic skill. Learn to play the saxophone or breakdance. As you get better, busk to supplement your interest.

13. Write a novel. The one you’ve always had inside of you. You know the one I’m talking about.

14. Get into the best shape of your life. Find a workout routine that works for you and get professional-athlete-level ripped.

15. Start a comedy Youtube channel with your best friend. At best you’ll become world-famous millionaires. At worst you’ll have a lot of fun.

16. Corner a super-niche market. The world doesn’t have enough tap-dancing beekeeper bloggers. I’m just saying.

17. Live like a local somewhere foreign. Learn a completely different language and a completely different culture for a year. You may never want to come home.

18. Learn to bartend. BE the hot bartender you’ve always wanted to take home.

19. Teach English as a second language.
People say good things about South Korea.

20. Hike or bike or roller-skate your way across the country. Raise money for something, or don’t. Gofundme could be your best friend here.

21. Become certified to teach something badass. Become a scuba diving or river rafting or rock-climbing instructor. Lead happy tourists on outdoorsy adventures.

22. Have a baby. Babies are expensive and stressful – just like grad school – but they’re also a lot cuter and might even pay for your nursing home someday.

23. Delete social media. Stress all your friends out by going off the digital grid while you work on a side-project or passion.

24. Audition for a reality TV show. So You Think You Can Dance, here you come!

25. Join the Peace Corps (or some version of it). Go lend a hand out where help is actually needed.

26. Spend a year studying independently. Who says you need professors and tuition to learn valuable information? Informally school yourself on a topic that interests you, instead of waiting for someone else to teach you.

27. Network like a mother******. Grab drinks with a whole bunch of people who are where you want to be in life. Start running in the circles that matter.

28. Take up an alternative lifestyle. Who says you can’t be the barefoot spiritual guru who runs a yoga studio out of their apartment?

29. Fall madly in love. It may not pay the bills but it sure will be a fun distraction.

30. Be an intern somewhere cool. Gain work experience and memorize important peoples’ coffee orders.

31. Join a butt-ton of meetup groups. Explore every interest or hobby that has even remotely intrigued you. Maybe your calling in life is actually extreme slacklining or becoming a Dungeons and Dragons master.

32. Get involved in the local comedy scene. You could be the next Tina Fey.

33. Start a blog. Do you have a niche interest, an encyclopedia or knowledge or a whole bunch of feelings? You could cash in on that.

34. Start a consultation business. You may not have a Master’s degree but you probably have some knowledge base that other people are lacking.

35. Tutor people. Help out the suckers who are two years into the Undergrad degree that you just finished.

36. Go on a soul-searching outdoor adventure. Hike the Pacific Crest Trail Like Cheryl Strayed or sail around the world like this ambitious fourteen year old.

37. Write fanfic. I don’t want to encourage you to write the next ‘50 Shades Of Grey’ but it did start out as a fanfic. So… do with that what you will.

38. Learn to cook like a gourmet chef. At best you can star on a TV show, at worst you can impress future dates.

39. Work on a cruise ship. It’s a big, floating party for a year! Except you’re sober and working for most of it.

40. Sell crafty things on Etsy. You look like the kind of person who could string a mean necklace together.

41. Go on a road trip. Finally see your own country coast-to-coast. Or go check out the one next door.

42. Run away and join the circus. No, literally. You’re an adult and can staff a cotton-candy stand, dammit.

43. Make a hard-hitting documentary. Pair up with a videographer and delve into a topic that you’re knowledgeable about and want to educate others on.

44. Train for a marathon. Put your personal fitness to the test and cross one more item off of the bucket list.

45. Learn how to code. And then make a substantial (and location-independent) living off it.

46. Travel with digital nomads. Join Remote Year or Hacker Paradise and travel with developers, creative and other entrepreneurs while you work from your laptop.

47. Travel as part of the crew on a sailboat. You’ll get your sea legs in time and you’ll visit some pretty cool destinations while you’re at it.

48. Volunteer your skills in exchange for accommodation. Check out Help Exchange to see which of your offhanded skills is worthy of room and board.

49. Help restore a national park. Volunteer your time to help restore some of the most beautiful areas of your country.

50. Move in with a group of total strangers. This seems to work well for people in TV shows.

51. Become a flight attendant. Travel for free and split your time between fascinating cities while you’re still young and unattached.

52. Participate in a silent retreat. Spend some serious time reconnecting with yourself and considering what your next move should be.

53. Take a pointed certification program. Become a life coach or a multimedia journalist and try your hand at an unconventional career path.

54. Check out a plethora of weird jobs that you never knew existed. Who says you can’t be a professional cuddler or a bike photographer for Google Maps?

55. Literally flush your money down the toilet. (Just kidding. Sort of.) Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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