Graduate life is weird. We all have this idea of what life is going to be like once we’ve graduated with our very expensive piece of paper, once we’ve moved home and once we’ve caught up on all that sleep that we lost during dissertation hand in week. I guess we all think we can walk into a job (some have), most of all, I guess we all think we know what we want to do. That’s why we’ve studied a subject for so long, right?
Nah, wrong mate.
For the last few months I’ve been living on cloud ‘cuckoo’. I’ve quit my part-time bar job, taken an internship for less than half the money, I’ve started a whole lot of voluntary positions and seen my bank balance cry at me everytime I’ve gone to buy myself a packet of Haribos as a ‘pick me up’.
I can’t help but feel a little jealous when I see all these freshers posts. Jealous in the fact they get to bask in week day drinking without the whole world judging them, jealous in the fact they get handed ‘free money’ to spend on plush meals out (and books!) and more so, that they’re at the start of the crazy journey that I’ve just had the pleasure of being on.
Graduating university is the absolute best feeling in the world. Graduation day is the most exciting, the proudest and most fulfilling day you’ll ever get to experience. Yet after? Well that hits you like a tonne of bricks.
I don’t think you’ll ever be prepared for the hurdles and endless amounts of self doubt you go through when trying to get hold of that perfect career you’ve fought so long for. Nothing can prepare you for that pile of failed job applications, the days you spend confined to the same four walls because you don’t have two pennies to rub together or the cracks that come in your confidence when you fail. The limbo stage is harder than I thought it ever would be.
BUT fear not, there is light at the end of the tunnels folks….I hope so anyway.
For the last few months I’ve felt like rock bottom, I’ve lived in doubt of ever getting my perfect little writing job in the big city and I’ve questioned every little decision I’ve ever made. I’ve contemplated giving the whole journo lark up altogether.
Losing a little confidence when you have barely any already, well I guess it makes you wonder whether you’ll ever be good enough for a world that strives for perfection. It’s hard to see your own skills when you’ve had so many knockbacks you feel like you’ve worked so hard to get absolutely nothing in return. With every failure, comes the idea of giving the whole dream up altogether.
I know for a fact I’m not the only one though and that makes me feel a little bit better. It’s nice to know that you’re not the only one struggling to find their feet, finding it hard to transition from the most successful year of your life to the most disappointing.
I’m not the only one that’s gone through the best experience of their lives and felt nothing a mere months later because trying to find a job, a ‘real’ job, is incredibly daunting. Finding that ‘adult’ job is scary especially when it’s mentally and physically difficult to find one. More so, applying for them becomes hard when you’ve forgotten what your niche is, what makes you tick and you’ve lost every little faith you had in yourself in the first place.
However, if I was to take anything from the last five years of my life, if things were easy, it wouldn’t be as satisfying when you do eventually get there. You’ve got to get through the real hard, soul destroying bits to get to the best bits.
The best thing to do is keep busy. Do work placements, write for free, write for fun, write because you’re sad, inspire people, enlighten them, get out of the house and run, go for a walk, just do anything that’s going to motivate you. Don’t just sit in squalor and forget about everything you’ve ever worked for. Take that internship that doesn’t pay as much, because it will change your life. It will benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. Experience is worth it’s weight in gold, good impressions are the same.
Graduate life is hard. You’d think I would have prepared myself after having been in uni for a whole five years but no one can prepare for the ‘storm’ of failures that are ahead of you. People fail. Some people succeed. Not all people get handed their dream job straight away. Why? because life isn’t easy, jobs aren’t easy, being an adult isn’t always easy.
University is the ‘calm’ before the ‘storm’.
If I had any advice for you lucky freshers of this year, just please make the most of it while you can. Throw yourself into it like you throw down some moves on the dancefloor on a Wednesday night at Metros. Do that work placement, do it again, and again. Make contacts with the woman that works in the local shop, buy that newspaper every morning if needs be, drink too many jagerbombs at live lounge sometimes. Get to know the people around you, make the closest of friends, read that law book over and over again until you can recite the Section 49 of the Children & Young Persons Act 1993 and buy Craig that latte (no sugar) if you’re late. More so, if things ever get a bit too much take the help and support that’s available to you because university life can get hard too. Don’t blag it. Work hard but have the best time too. Get to know your trusty lecturers because they’re the kindest, most knowledgeable and most supportive people you’ll ever meet. Don’t take them or your time at university for granted.
Because graduate life? Graduate life is a completely different one.
I will get that dream job one day, as will you. You’ll also be a very confused, very qualified, very scared graduate like me one day too. So make the most of the haven that is student life whilst you have it because university flies by and graduate life?
Well that’s just damn weird at first.
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