It’s been over a year since I have graduated, and it has been one of the hardest, toughest, and eye-opening year of my life. The year after you graduate is confusing, you may not have a clue with what you want to do with your life, and that’s okay. Most people don’t! I graduated in 2016 and then went on to do a postgraduate degree I also worked part time. During the end of my undergraduate degree, I had these big plans of what I wanted to do after I graduate, I thought I would have my life figured out, land the job of my dreams and be on a good salary. I think it’s the same for most graduates in my position right now. I thought it was going to be easy. Nope! It’s fucking hard as shit out there. The real world sucks.
I hate not knowing where I am going with life or anything in general, I like to have everything mapped out in lists and ideas. I would do anything to avoid uncertainty in my life. This past year I have learnt that nothing will turn out the way you want it, if you have high expectations for your future after you graduate, I don’t think anything will be good enough. I’m at that point now, where I am embracing the uncertainty and the unknown in my life. You have no control of what happens, you will eventually realise this so, why not embrace it. I want to share five honest truths that I have learnt about the year after you graduate.
The real world sucks
I have been in the real world for over a year as an ‘adult’. Let me tell you it’s not always going to be sunshine and roses. yes! It’s painful. When you are sat in lecturers in university you have these expectations of the world, you look forward to a standard 9-5 job and to have your weekends free. Reality is you get thrown into the world unprepared and told to be an ‘adult’, life will throw you in all sorts of directions.
Most likely you will not have your dream job
Some people will have a job secured before they throw their cap in the air. Unless you have some crazy connections, then like me you will be looking for jobs for months after graduation. You are straight out of university with little to no experience. We all need to start somewhere, you may end up working full-time at your part-time job that you had at university and that’s okay. Each opportunity, each experience you gain is a small step towards your career. You might not even be working in the field that you have graduated in, I know the hours may be horrible and the money won’t be what you anticipated, you may absolutely hate it. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t land your dream job right after you graduate.
You will feel lost and confused
For those who don’t have a direct career plan after you graduate, you will feel lost and confused. When you come to the end of education and university life, this can come as a shock. The few months after I graduated I didn’t have a lot of money, I struggled to get out of bed most days as I didn’t know what I was doing with my life. Note to remember: Opportunities are not going to come to you, you need to go out and grab them. This advice came from a university tutor which I am forever thankful for. A piece of advice that I would give to recent graduates or those that are about to graduate is, most graduates will go through this period of feeling lost and confused. Go and embrace the uncertainty of life, that is life.
Money: You won’t have as much money saved as you anticipated
After graduating I was happy that I will no longer be a full-time student, and I will have a regular income coming in. My mind was spinning with thoughts of holidays, a new phone, a new laptop, a new car, and weekly shopping hauls.
Reality is you won’t have as much saved as anticipated. I honestly thought I would have loads saved up after a year from graduation (who was I kidding). Everything is expensive and you just want to cry. You will need to learn to save, be responsible and budget your money. We all think about being able to afford nice things after graduation, the reality is this isn’t the case we just need to wait for a little longer.
It’s going to be okay!
It’s okay if don’t have your dream job, a good salary, an apartment, and even loads of money saved up. Remember you are not the only graduate going through this, loads, in fact hundreds may be in the same position as you. I’m here to tell you after a year of being a graduate it’s going to be okay! It’s okay that you don’t know what you are doing with your life. Don’t worry about it, worrying won’t make it any better. It’s okay to not have it figured out yet. Most people don’t. Don’t sit at home feeling sorry for yourself, graduate jobs won’t come to you, you need to go out and grab that opportunity. If you fail keep trying. Don’t compare yourself to others, friends, or acquaintances. Just because they have landed a graduate job doesn’t mean they are happy. If you feel like a failure, remember there is no set path and that is exciting, you have the whole world at your feet and the only thing that is holding you back is YOU!
So that is it. I have written this with pure honesty. During my year after graduation I have felt down, depressed and felt like a failure more than a hundred times. I think graduates need to know that life after graduation is going to be hard, it may take time but it’s going to okay!