Graduation is a huge milestone. For some, it can spark new insight, while for others, it may spark questions like, "What should I do next?" These questions are common because not everyone knows what their next steps are after graduation, and that is extremely common. As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to be a factor in our society, many graduates may be left with even more questions than normal.

The good news is that despite any challenges out there, you can still cross off several to-do list items to set yourself up for the brightest possible future. Here is a checklist of eight tasks for post-graduation:

1. Do not be afraid to fail.

Failure is not always a negative thing. Failure sparks new opportunities – the opportunity to learn and start over. New things are encountered after graduation, and because it is unknown territory, failure is bound to occur. But it is important that if you fail, you get back up. There is no need to fear failure. some of the most successful people in the world today first failed, but the difference that they made did not come because they were afraid to fail. Instead, they were open to the opportunities that came with failure.

2. Experience is often more critical than a degree.

Many jobs look for experienced individuals for higher positions. After graduation, you will often hear, "Do you have any experience?" Or, on the job description, you may see that experience is required. Do not allow this to get you down if you just don't have a lot of experience yet. By accepting an entry-level job and excelling very early in your position, you are bound to climb up the work latter very quickly.

3. Be open to change – do not be scared to step outside of your bubble.

Change does not come if you wait on someone else. Instead, you are the one you are waiting for. It is important to take advantage of every opportunity, even if it means stepping outside of your bubble. Change sparks innovation and a vast amount of opportunity. Therefore, take advantage of it.

4. Learn from the experts and find a mentor to lean on for advice.

Learning from the experts simply is identifying someone in your field whom you can learn from, someone you can look up to, and someone you can go to for advice. Similar to adopting a mentor when you have someone you can go to for advice, it is rewarding. As you go into the workforce, even as you go into adulthood entirely, it is essential to have someone you can rely on.

If you don't have a specific mentor or shoulder to lean on, consider using social media sites like LinkedIn or Twitter to network with such individuals. It's amazing what simple connections you can make to highly respected individuals, so take advantage of these opportunities by doing some research online and reaching out.

5. Remember to take breaks.

Taking a break is not a bad thing. After all, we all need a break after dedicating such a long period of time and energy to our studies. After college, many people opt to travel the world before immersing themselves totally into the workforce, while some decide to take a break overall. Nevertheless, it is okay to take a break, but if you are taking a break, ensure that you have a plan.

6. Figure out what you are good at.

What are you good at, like truly good at? Before starting your career, you can discover what you are truly good at. You can find your passion before jumping right into your career. Taking time before starting your career for personal development – and some self-reflection – is also something that one should seek to accomplish before jumping right into your career.

7. Start to learn and gain experience (even if it requires working for free).

Many people suggest that before beginning your career, you should gain some experience within the field through internships or job shadowing. Many experts say that this is a great experience to put on your resume and is something that you should take advantage of, even if it requires you to have to work for free. Nevertheless, a great way to gain experience is through gaining certifications in specific topics relevant to your field.

8. Explore your options, i.e.,, graduate school, freelancing, etc.

What are the options available to you? Have you considered all of your options? Before starting your career, it is wise to explore all of your avenues and find your best fit.

Consider whether graduate school is a good fit for you. Search for freelancing opportunities online. There are several roads you can travel if you can't find full-time work right off the bat.

Author bio: Tracey Sands was born and raised in The Bahamas. She is a senior at Saint Leo University and is part of the 3+1 Marketing/MBA Program. Upon completion of her degree programs, Tracey hopes to join the hospitality industry back home within a marketing role. Eventually she plans to open a marketing agency geared toward small businesses. Her hobbies include cooking and drawing.