Planning for a Major Milestone (Like College Graduation or Career Shift)

As we enter mid-May, the weather has seriously warmed up, and many of us are coming upon big life milestones like college graduations — or the graduations of our kids. 

Even if you or your kids are not personally graduating, this can still be a time of transition. Moving into the hotter months also often means slowing down and a period of reassessment, whatever stage we’re at in life.  Entering post-college life or a new cycle of your business or career — or even retirement — can be considered a graduation of sorts. 

It’s what we would call a milestone, as we enter a new phase. And any transition or commitment we make to a new direction can be a time of both excitement and anxiety. To manage the shift, it helps to engage in some strategic planning. A planning app like Momentum supports you in getting organized, laying out the decisions you’ve made, and seeing the path forward. 

The Future After Graduation or a Major Milestone

Graduating from college or into a new phase of career life is a major accomplishment. But what comes next can be daunting. For many of us, in that moment the path forward may not be clear. 
Here are our team’s tips on how to start the milestone planning process. 

Take Some Time to Reflect

Before you jump into deciding your next move, taking time to think about what you want can be beneficial. Consider your passions, what makes you happy, and what your strengths are.

Reflect on the time you spent over the last few years, in college, in your job, or in your business, and think about what skills and lessons you learned.

Knowing that this period before and after a major milestone is often a time of uncertainty and confusion helps you give yourself permission to feel whatever comes up — and to manage those emotions in a healthy way, without leading to burnout. 

Figure Out Your Living Situation

When entering a new phase, one of the most basic parts of your life to consider strategically is your living situation. 

Do you prefer to stay living where you are, if possible? Will you have to pay rent or a mortgage? Is there another place in the world that would make most sense for your next step, in terms of either career moves or proximity to friends or loved ones? 

If you’re graduating college or university, some might consider moving back home with family (if that’s a possibility for you). Most important is understanding your financial options and constraints. Will you be able to afford to live on your own? What about roommates? Consider the expenses that come with living independently, such as rent, groceries, and utilities. 

Figuring out your living situation is a cornerstone of any future plans.
A living situation doesn’t have to be forever, but it does have to work for the interim period as you transition. 

Establish a Budget

Now that you’ve made some calculations about what your living or housing options are, it’s time to establish a budget. You heard us. Whether you’re a business mogul and CEO who knows how to balance the books in their sleep, or this is the first time you have to live without the help of your parents or financial aid, it’s important to be realistic. 

Identify how much money you have coming in and going out each month.

Use financial tools like Mint or YNAB to track your spending and savings. You can also track some of these decisions and your financial goals in the Momentum app. 🤑

Start Networking

It’s never too early or too late to start networking. If you think about it, you most likely already have a pretty established network, between friends and family and the people you’ve met in life thus far. 

Networking not only helps you get a foot in the door for opportunities, it also facilitates your professional growth and personal development in other aspects of life.

If you want to level up your game in this regard, try attending job fairs or industry events to meet people in your field, or field of interest if you haven’t yet started a career. These kinds of events can easily be scheduled in the Momentum App’s Weekly Planner

If you’re a graduating student, connecting with professors and alumni who have connections to job opportunities is another great move. For parents, you might think about who in your social circles could be a good contact for potential job opportunities for your graduate.

Whatever your position in life, and regardless of your next planned move, try tapping into social media and following leaders and influencers to learn more about the going standard in your target industry.🎯

Think About Your Long-Term Goals

Now you’ve started reflecting and planning, thought about your living situation, established a budget, and started networking, it’s time to take a step back and reflect on your long-term goals. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? In 10 years?
  • What are the steps to get there?
  • What education or experience do you need to reach that goal?

Once you’ve mapped out some of these ideas, you’ll find that the steps or chunks on the path to your goals fit well into the Momentum Planning Method. A larger-sized goal might fit best into the Yearly Planning View, while smaller-sized steps will get placed at the Quarterly, Monthly or Weekly level. 

You’ll find that once you’re armed with a clear vision of what you want your future to look like, and a roadmap to getting there, it will be much easier to take calculated steps forward. Momentum is a great tool for both making and working your plan.

While it’s OK if this vision changes in the years ahead, laying out a path for your long-term goals will give your post-milestone or post-graduation journey a clearer direction. 🗺️🧭

Final Thoughts on Big Transitions 

Transitioning through a major life milestone can be a bit intense — and it’s important to take care of yourself, even while laying the groundwork for your future. Be sure to build some self-care projects and routines into your days and weeks, to give yourself adequate fuel for the journey ahead.

As the saying goes, “this is a marathon, not a sprint.”

After taking these steps, you should feel much more organized and empowered as you approach this dive into a new phase of your life.

Mary Clare O'Donnell

Writer & Content Creator at Productive Flourishing and Momentum. She's passionate about our climate, nature, foreign languages, and discovering uncharted places.