So, you’ve finished university… what’s next? Here’s some thoughts and advice from a recent 2021 grad.
I cannot say that I had expected the end of my degree to pan out in the way that it did. Tucked away in my bed on a random Saturday in June, I submitted my last assignment of the course at 9:26pm (at least, that is what the time stamp on the Snapchat memory tells me). It was strange – three years of my life had led up to a moment of submitting a news analysis in my comfort pyjamas and then that was it.
While it does sound awful miserable, I am trying my hardest to focus on the silver lining of it all. What is that? I do not have to reference for a long, long, long time. That is a feeling that I am welcoming with open arms. A special pat on the back is well deserved for all those who have finished their academic year during these trying times. While the whole experience of a degree is never said to be easy, it is safe to say that these last few semesters proved to be a different standard of difficulty. I suppose that can be why I am happy that I finished my third year in my bed with my worn-out jammies. A comfortable end to a distressing year. Horrifyingly poetic.
Now that the online lectures and last-minute typing have been put to the side, I have (very slowly) begun to think about my next steps in life. I say very slowly because it is okay to take a step back and allow yourself a break. Everyone’s journey is different, and no path is linear. Regardless of how you found the year and what results it may bring; I feel as though it is always nice to just marinate for a short while. I know, I know. Disgusting choice of words. I cannot think of a better choice of word for simply relaxing in the way that I believe one should once their academic year finishes. Responsibilities can wait – you have Netflix shows and all the latest films to catch up on at your own leisurely pace. Not to mention any books you have that aren’t required reading!
The dreaded task of moving onto the next step in one’s life: finding a job. I cannot say that I am an expert since I have barely started myself. Finding jobs is already hard enough as it is and now everyone has the obstacle of finding a job during a pandemic. From what I have seen, finding a job can test one’s patience but it is not impossible. The easiest way to start would be through your university. Every university typically has services that are there to help you with your career, whether it be through advice, providing job opportunities, or finding work experience.
Either way, it is a good way to get a foot in the door as there is no such thing as too much help! Through meeting different people within their teams, they can help you figure out which area you may want to specialise in and how you can go about getting into it.
Some small tips that can get you started when you do want to consider job hunting:
- Brush up on your CV – take a look at some job opportunities and see what exactly employers are asking for. Can you relate? Time to add those keywords into your CV!
- Create a LinkedIn – recently, I have been told about how useful this platform can be when it comes to job seeking. Consider it a Facebook for professionals. While you probably won’t find memes on it, it is perfect when it comes to networking, a key concept for job hunting. Through building a professional identity, you can connect with employers or employees in the companies/fields you wish to work in.
- Speak to a career’s adviser – book an appointment with those who are there to help you! They can make everything a lot smoother and easier for you.
The next option I am considering! There are many reasons why one can consider studying more on top of their bachelor’s degree. Some careers require further study (like law or medicine), while others do not. However, it is important to note that sitting a master’s degree takes time, effort, and money. It can expand your options when it comes to jobs while influencing aspects such as positions and salaries. Universities tend to offer those who return for postgrad the course for slightly cheaper tuition fees. You do not always have to go back to the same university though. Some enjoy making an experience of their further study and go abroad to widen their cultural knowledge.
Before you do apply, take a look at different courses and what path they can take you in. Different universities ask for different qualifications. Remember to ask your careers advisor any questions!
Another popular choice for many, the gap year allows individuals some time to themselves before they make any further set decisions regarding their future. The beauty of a gap year is that your options are truly endless. Some like to participate in activities such as backpacking while others may immerse themselves in different kinds of work experience.
Whatever it may be, it is usually advised to plan the gap carefully so that your experiences are varied and enhance your CV. Employers can then view you as someone who can bring a sense of diversity into your work environment, giving you a boost as a candidate.
Regardless of what you do choose to do and when you do it, remember that there is no time limit! You’ve made it through a lot, and you can definitely make it through this next step.