We all have things or situations that we’re a little scared of. Mine seem to go through phases. At one point the dentist, then flying, then the dentist again,...
Leaving student-dom and entering the big, wide world is daunting. Gone is the structure imposed by the educational system and suddenly you’re met with a vast future full of potentials: potential success, potential failure, potential heartbreak, potential… god-knows-what. Change is scary, because we fear the unknown. But as daunting as graduate life can be, here are a few ways to make the shift more manageable.
1. Be wary of social media
Fact: Facebook is out to get you. Sorry, but it’s true. At university, Facebook was your first port of call the day after the night before to check out all of those hilarious pictures you’d been tagged in. But post-university, when you and you bosom buds have inevitably been scattered around the world, country, or even London, it’s a major source of paranoia. Comparison is inevitable and everyone seems like they’re having a great time/have the best job/are eating at the best restaurants. It can be demoralising. It’s important to remember that social media is a representation of our best selves and not one of reality. Take it with a pinch of salt.
2. Don’t dwell on the past
There are numerous changes between student life and graduate life. Being drunk at midday after sharing that bottle of cheap wine in the SU? Yeah, people in the real world might judge you for that. Spending the whole day in bed binge-watching Game of Thrones because you’re not in the mood to move, let alone leave your house? Expect your parents to disturb your peace with “YOU’RE WASTING THE WHOLE DAY!” I could go on. Sure, it’s normal to suffer with a mild case of student nostalgia, but it won’t do you any good in the long run. Embrace the chance to relive your student days when life allows, but otherwise learn to enjoy graduate perks, such as a clean kitchen.
3. Prepare for rejection
Graduate life = getting a job. PANIC. But it’ll be okay. That bar work you did to tide you over until your student loan came in and the volunteering at uni will surely make you a prime candidate for employment, right? Wrong. Even if you think you tick all the boxes (good uni, great grades, decent amount of work experience, gift of the gab), you’re still in competition with thousands of other eager, equally peppy graduates. Unfortunately, it’s likely you’ll be rejected a good few times before the right position arises. And that’s the thing – the right opportunity will come along. Keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. I promise you, it’s there.
4. Learn from your mistakes
If I could go back in time to my first few months of graduate life, I would tell myself to listen. Just… listen. The problem is that many graduates come out of Uni with a misplaced sense of confidence and think they know what’s what. Remember, you’re the definition of green and naive. You’re small fry. A former employer told me that you learn more in your first few years at work than you ever will – and it’s true. The best thing to do is to get on with it, do the best work you can do and learn from your mistakes and from those around you. Sometimes it’s better to stay quiet and absorb your environment before brashly trying to establish yourself as a legit team member.
5. Be kind to everyone
And I mean everyone. Never underestimate the power of kindness. Even if you’re not bezzie friends with every work colleague, be pleasant. Don’t ever be rude, or snappy, even if you’re asked to do something which is about as appealing as licking someone with Ebola. In the working world, there are definitely worse things you can be than “the polite and approachable one”. Plus, you never know what could come of it: you might be considered for a promotion, or recommended for a fun task. At the very least, you’re guaranteed a good reference.
6. Keep your loved ones close
There’s no getting around it – the first few months, if not years, of graduate life are an emotional rollercoaster. A friend of mine only last week admitted that a lot of the time, graduate life was an ongoing effort to keep your head above water. If you’re having a rough time, remember you haven’t failed. Call up a friend, or your Mum, or your Brother, Uncle or Stepdad; anyone who will listen and, more importantly, give you sympathy (because sometimes you don’t want a solution, you just want a figurative hug). You’ll probably find that your friendship groups change post-university and that’s okay too. People change. But friends and family are your lifesavers, so make sure you don’t neglect them!
7. Enjoy the good bits
Goodness knows it can be rough, but there are definite upsides to graduate life. Whether that’s having more money to play with, moving in with new people, adapting to life in a new city, or discovering a career or opportunity you hadn’t anticipated. University was, admittedly, three epic years of your life, but graduate life is the rest of your life. Make it count. Be humble. Be kind. Be realistic. And enjoy it!
Image sourced c/o WeHeartIt
Sofie-Eliza currently works in online editorial and moonlights as a sometimes amusing, mostly angsty blogger. She’s a self-confessed crazy cat lady, lover of all things sparkly, with an addiction to refreshing her social media feeds. Her hobbies include reading, writing, watching intellectual TV shows such as Made in Chelsea and working her way through Twinings herbal tea offerings. She wishes she was a Jessa, but is coming to terms with the fact she’s a frustrating hybrid of Hannah and Marnie.
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