Post grad adventures

So, you’ve graduated from college. Now what? With high unemployment and a sluggish economy, new grads might feel tempted to delay their entries into the real world.

So, you’ve graduated from college. Now what? With high unemployment and a sluggish economy, new grads might feel tempted to delay their entries into the real world. Oddly enough, this temptation isn’t new. For generations, young people have sought new experiences and rites of passage to broaden their mental and physical horizons before entering into careers. Here are five tried and true ways to do so. 


Feel like you need a year or two between college and graduate school or starting a career? Americorps is a network of local service programs around the country. Americorps volunteers usually earn a living stipend and can earn money towards college or student loan repayment. It’s a great way for recent graduates to gain work experience and practical skills while assisting with local education, housing and environmental programs. Whether you love Portland and could never imagine leaving or you’re desperate to see more of the country, Americorps’ got a program for you. ?

Teach for America

If you think you might be interested in a career in education, Teach for America might be a good option for you. This two-year program places participants in low-income schools across the U.S. Teach for America provides participants with training and ongoing support. Salaries range from $30,000 to $51,500 per year, and health and retirement benefits are also included. You can even earn money for graduate school while putting off your student loan payments and having a daily impact on American K-12 students.

Peace Corps

Want to live out your dreams of traveling to exotic countries and making a difference in local communities? The Peace Corps, founded in 1961 by John F. Kennedy, allows its volunteers to do just that. The Peace Corps sends volunteers to 77 countries for terms of 27 months to participate in programs in education, agriculture, health, community development, environment and technology. Anyone over the age of 18 can apply to join the Peace Corps—though applications can be competitive—and the organization even has partnerships with some American Universities so that you can earn your masters degree while volunteering. 

Backpacking Europe

It’s a traditional rite of passage for American youth and can be just as exciting, exhausting and enlightening today as it was in generations past. With a Eurail Pass and a backpack, you can head to Italy to visit the Coliseum, see Oscar Wilde’s grave in Paris, visit the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam and see the London Eye. A Eurail pass lets you ride a pre-selected number of European trains at any time you like so you can create your own itinerary and make last minute journeys. There are youth hostels in most European cities so you can stay overnight on the cheap. 

U.S. Roadtrip

Follow in the tire trails of Jack Kerouac and take a drive across the country. Or, for an even greater adventure, try to bike it. In 1960, John Steinbeck took a road trip across America writing, “I discovered that  did not know my own country,” in his book “Travels with Charley.” Even in the age of WiFi and GPS, you might feel likewise, though you’ll probably be less likely to get lost.  ?