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Setting Goals for Life After Graduation


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Setting Goals for Life After Graduation

While a graduate student, it is imperative to set goals that extend beyond graduation.  Do you want to study abroad?  Do you want to publish an article?  Do you want to present at a national conference?  These are examples of goals of some graduate students.  We recommend that you work to develop realistic goals of your own to accomplish as a graduate student, prioritize these goals, and develop an action plan to see your goals through to fruition.  Career exploration and professional development are skills best to develop as a current student as graduation represents the end of the educational pipeline but just the beginning of so many other aspects of life such as your professional journey.
Relevant workshops (see Calendar for current workshops)
  • Finding the Right Post-Doc
  • Applying for Fellowships and Grants
  • GRE workshops
  • What Else Can You Do With That?
  • Career workshop series
  • Search  "life skills," "career," or "moving on" on the PLAN Resources page for links to workshop materials and other resources.
Student Experience


Amber Carrier, PhD in Biology and Evolutionary Medicine, shares some ideas on planning for the professional transition. Amber Carrier

I confess to being a bit of a planner. I love spontaneity in my day to day life, but when it comes to planning my future and my goals, I like to go forward with some sort of roadmap.  I spent the first part of my graduate education without one, but exploring each and every opportunity that I could in order to decide exactly what I wanted to do.  Though I firmly believe we should jump on any opportunity that may help us down the road, at some point, it's helpful to develop that roadmap.

The professional development of a future academic, professional, or teacher is completely different, and when you are job-searching around graduation, you want to make sure that your resume or CV is tailored to the types of jobs you are looking for.  You are a harder sell to a pharmaceutical company if your entire CV is filled with teaching accolades.  However, if you've been involved with numerous research projects and can show that you've developed laboratory skills, you will have a much better shot at the job.

To do this, however, you first have to know what you want.  You need to know what your professional goals are, and when you want to achieve them.  By setting these goals and a timeline, you can work with your department and advisor on ways you can be the best candidate for the position you want in the future. 

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