Just last week, we discussed the differences between graduations and commencements.  But now, many universities have held their ceremonies or soon will.  As such, what will you do next after graduation.  Below are some ideas to make the most of the next phase of your career.


Perhaps old-fashion, but write handwritten a thank-you note to your best or favorite faculty and the staff that impacted you during your architectural education.  This activity will not take too much time but will have a lasting impact.  Also, provide them career updates over the years beyond graduation.


For the purposes of your portfolio, be sure to document your final project.  Take images of your models, etc. as they will NOT survive the move out.  As you continue your career, continue to document your work for use in your portfolio / website – be sure to gain necessary permission from your firm.


Start to save for retirement – The prospect of finally earning a living is exciting with your new salary, but strongly consider opening an IRA and contribute as much as possible for your retirement albeit many years in the future.  Also, enroll in any retirement program from your employer, i.e., 401K, etc.


Kimberly Dowdell, AIA, AIA President — AIA wants to attract new architecture school graduates to join our ranks as an associate member. The first 18 months of membership for new grads is FREE. Learn more here:

Join AIA for FREE


As a recent graduate, consider attending the AIA Conference on Architecture & Design from June 5 – 8, 2024 to be held in Washington, DC.  Students can attend for $35.  Trust me as I had the opportunity to attend the event held in San Antonio after my graduation; highlights include sharing a taxi with W. Cecil Steward, FAIA, the then AIA President and meeting, I.M. Pei, the AIA gold medalist architect.


If you are graduating with your bachelor’s degree, consider future graduate studies in architecture or related field; start now to research potential graduate programs.  While you may be heading to a firm upon graduation, you may be heading back for graduate studies with the next few years.  Stay in touch with classmates that are returning to graduate study for this fall.

Architecture Programs


Now that you have more TIME, consider traveling either abroad or parts of the United States.  Where have you NOT been that you always wanted to visit – Fallingwater, Taliesin, etc.


Finally, CHILL!  You have spent a number of years dedicated to your education; you now deserve a chance to take a breathe and enjoy the moment.  Take time for yourself.  Enjoy what you enjoy doing knowing that there are no deadlines in your near future.

From your friends at, we wish you the best; do contact us if you need assistance.


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