My First Year Out

It’s been a few months since you graduated from UVM and the summer is fading (sadly). Some of you might not be heading to grad school, others may not yet be comfortably employed. The terror of not knowing your future sets in slowly, as September sneaks up, and for the first time in 18+ years, you are not returning to school in the fall.

You will realize that it is time to make something happen.

If this sounds like you – then this upcoming series of blog posts is for you.

It’s called “My First Year Out” and we will feature UVM alumni and their stories about their first year after UVM.

Most of these stories will be filled with the highs and lows you are all experiencing right now.  Our hope is that by telling you stories of people who have been in your exact shoes, you’ll gain some insight into your own first year out.

My Own Story


I figured I would go first and tell you my story. Not because I like seeing my name, but because I vividly remember what it was like and what I learned from that first year after UVM.

I made it through a long stretch of not really knowing what the heck I wanted to do and learned a lot about what a college education means to me and the value of making connections along the way.

Bored and Tired

I graduated from UVM in 2010 and moved back in with my parents after graduation. I had an inkling that I wanted to go to graduate school, but I was “content” to save some money by living at my parents’ house and working at a tent rental company.

Except I found out very quickly and I wasn’t really content.

Not many folks from my high school days were around to hang out with, since I come from a small town, there wasn’t much to do.  And I was always very tired from working long days of manual labor in the blazing hot sun.

I instantly regretted not taking an internship or working a job that actually got me some professional experience.

Back to Burlington

However, struggling through those first few months made me realize something. I wanted to make my way back to Burlington – the place I love. I knew quite a few people, so I was determined to try to get my foot in the door somewhere and figure out if graduate school was right for me.

I did exactly that and it was the best decision of my life. I didn’t have any more money or a better job in those last several months of my first year out, but I was in Burlington.  And I had friends and classmates to talk with and help me decide what was next.  That happened to be a graduate degree at UVM.

What I Learned

Your experience is going to be different than mine, and I sincerely hope that you don’t find yourself living at your parent’s house, binge watching X-Files for three months and working a boring job like I did.

But, if you do (there are a lot of great TV shows right now) be sure to accomplish something each day. Whether it’s applying for jobs or researching places to live or thinking about what makes you happy, this will help you feel like you are getting somewhere.

I recommend traveling or visiting a lot of places you are interested in if possible. Break up the monotony of uncertainty.

“Doing something with your degree”

The worst part of my experience was the crippling thought of needing to “do something with my degree”.

Here are my two cents: Stay open minded and do something you are passionate about even if it doesn’t earn the most money or accurately reflect your studies. You might have to work two jobs to make ends meet, things might not be glamorous for a while and that is totally okay.

It is most important to be with friends and stay busy. Don’t rush anything.

More Stories Like This

We will be sharing stories from other UVM alums like yourselves who have had a variety of experiences during their first year out. The common theme will be that they all eventually found direction through those experiences (the good ones and the bad ones).

So stay tuned for more advice and support from us over here at Afterword.