Graduation season is a time for celebration. You've achieved so much — but you also might be scared out of your mind. If you're worried that your degree or your skills in general aren't going to pay off in the most literal way, read on. There are always ways to translate your studies into non-academic work.
Kristine Lodge should know: She used her PhD in medieval literature to create her own small business, helping highly trained career-changers make the switch. Writing for The Muse, Lodge lays out her basic strategy for figuring out where to go next. It all begins with making a list. Don't just think of what you're good at; write down everything that brings you joy. The more data points you give yourself here, the more likely you are to discover a path that's truly tailor-made for you.
Think of those things you like as nouns. The next step is turning them into verbs — skills you possess and can use in a variety of ways. For instance, Lodge suggests that someone who enjoys teaching math can truthfully say they're good at breaking down complex topics into digestible stories that anyone can grasp. That's a great skill in teaching, and in endless other scenarios.
One of the most crucial ways you can help yourself here is not to discount anything that you think it too easy. Executive coach Whitney Johnson has written cogently about why talented people don't use their skills for The Harvard Business Review. Keep an eye out for what exasperates you when other people don't know it, which compliments you dismiss, and where your brain goes when you're not thinking of anything in particular.
Great as graduation season can be, it can also be intimidating. But if you've gotten this far, you really are good to go even farther.