You have finally finished!!! Dissertation handed in, exams completed, and you have finally gotten that last bit of raver in you out of your system. (Well probably not “last bit”, seen as you’re going on holiday with the girls soon, but you know what I mean). Your graduation was probably the proudest moment for you and your parents and the moment you have been waiting for. After spending all-nighters in the library, drinking coffee and red bull just so it can give you wings and praying that you complete what seemed to have been a never ending roller coaster. But now you have a degree, getting your dream job won’t be that hard….or will it?
What everyone won’t tell you is life after uni is probably one of the hardest things for young adults. Everyone around us expects so much from us after graduation and it almost feels as if we are trying to land a great job not only for ourselves, but for our parents and our family and everyone rooting for us. But the truth is not everyone will get their dream job straight after graduating, and for some people this can be excruciatingly frustrating. You spend 3 years (or more), studying for a degree that everyone says will put you in a great position after you finish and when you finally complete your degree you find yourself waking up at midday to a bunch of emails that read “Unfortunately, you have not been successful on this occasion…”, before dragging your feet to get ready for your 4 hour shift at Costa 7 months later. You spent £9,000 a year for this! REALLY???
For most students, including myself at the time – life after university was daunting to say the least. In my head, I thought that after I completed my degree and applied to a few positions that would be it. However, when that didn’t happen, I remember thinking to myself “where did I go wrong”? I also remember thinking if I made the wrong decision with my degree choice, was my CV not that great, or am I just not that much of a like-able person. Not only that, but you see some of your other friends who have just got great jobs and they seem to be so happy and you’re still in bed waiting for mum to transfer you a tenner, so you can get some dinner. The reality is, nobody explained this process to myself and other young adults who have and still are experiencing the same thing. All our life we hear that you need to go to school and work really hard, so you can get good grades and have an amazing job and career and earn loads of money. All my school life, I revised and put my head down to get those grades and it almost seemed that at the end of it what was the point? Sometimes, it almost seemed as though I went through 3 years of hard work, so I can get a fancy graduation picture up in my mum’s living room. It became frustrating, annoying and I was constantly comparing myself to my other friends or peers who were in a better position than me.
I quickly learned that the most important thing for me to do was to concentrate on ME, because if you keep looking at what you don’t have and what everyone else has it is going to be twice as hard to put yourself in the position you want. People may have their opinions of you, they may think you are not doing much and you are lazy, that you are not trying to look for any jobs, that you’ve gotten too comfortable – block this out! I stopped caring about what people thought I was or was not doing because I knew in my heart exactly what I was doing. Below are some steps that may help you through your post-graduation blues, some of them certainly helped me!
#1: WRITE UP A PLAN
When you write things down and see it with your own eyes, it becomes a lot clearer. Have you ever thought of something and because you haven’t written anything down you either forget or it completely gets erased from your mind? However, if you write a plan – doesn’t have to be long, you will always have something to work towards. By writing down what type of jobs you aim to look for and setting some goals and deadlines to this it may help you get to your dream job faster.
You probably had to come to terms with not ever having the benefits of Student Finance again, so now it is time to budget your finances. Stay far away from credit cards, especially if you have no source of income as this will put you in a worse position than you were already in. By making a list of your direct debits and how much you have spent for the week or the month, this will always put you at the front of your finances.
#3: BUILD YOUR EXPERIENCE & DEVELOP NEW SKILLS
For most jobs, they all require some sort of experience. Therefore, it may be good for you to find work experience or an internship where you can build your experience and skills in the workplace. This can be a great way to revitalise you CV and get a professional referee. There are some great internships that are paid, however, be careful of full time internships that are unpaid for more than a month. It could be very hard to work tirelessly for someone without any form of wage. If unsure, always ask questions.
#4: NEVER GET COMFORTABLE
Being too comfortable will never lead you to success. No matter how daunting or scared you may be – putting yourself in uncomfortable situations will always be better for you in the long run. Some people may find their self in a job that has nothing to do with what they studied, and they have no form of passion for the job, but they end up being stuck in the same job by the time they are 27 and wonder what happened. This was all because they got too comfortable.
#5: DON’T LISTEN TO THE NOISE:
As I said beforehand, it can become quite easy to listen to other people’s opinions about yourself even though they are not fully aware of your own situation. Focus on you and block out all of the unnecessary noise that seems to be knocking you down.
#6: GO ON A SHORT BREAK
Sometimes, going on a short break or holiday after graduating can help you refocus and refresh your mind. Your brain has spent months doing overtime studying and sometimes it may be difficult to jump straight into job searching.
#7: DON’T PANIC
Finally – don’t panic. Everything will be okay! It may not seem that way for now but trust me it will.