advice · university

Graduate Life

So you’ve graduated from university. You have spent the past 3/4 years working hard in libraries and partying like crazy. You have read more books and written more essays than you ever thought possible. It’s been great. But what next?

If you’re lucky enough to know exactly what you want to do with your life then you’ll probably have a masters lined up to do or something like that. Maybe you don’t know what to do so you do a PGCE, go into teaching because it’s safe and stable.

However, if you’re like me and a hell of a lot of other graduates then your path won’t be so clear. You probably have a degree that doesn’t lend itself directly to much but gave you lots of “transferable skills.” When you’re in school, you get the impression that people graduate and get high paid jobs and all is wonderful. Well, it’s not quite that easy. Really we should’ve been warned about all this!

Getting a job is really difficult. It doesn’t matter if you have a degree, every job has multiple applicants and many will have more experience than you. Yes, a degree sets you apart but it does not guarantee employment. Once you graduate, you will spend many weeks/months applying for jobs, perfecting interview techniques and doing things to build your CV.

You might start ambitious, applying for jobs you really want. But then after a few months it becomes more difficult and there you are, a university graduate, working in a bar or as a shop assistant. It pays the bills but you could have got this job with no degree. Wasn’t it all a waste of time?

No, of course not. For many people, university is the best time of their lives. You meet people, you learn so much about the world and yourself. It might cost a tonne of money but it is an incredible experience. I hear you though, you wanted a high paid exciting job out of this as well.

My advice? Don’t give up. Even if your first job as a graduate is not ideal, you have still worked hard for your degree. Keep looking and applying for your preferred job, something will come along. Working in that bar might lead to something better. Be patient. Be realistic. Do things in your spare time to build your skills that might help in the next interview, do volunteering. The thing with getting a job that you hate is that at least it tells you what you don’t want to do, even if you’re still uncertain about what you want.

Being a graduate is valuable for the experiences it provides that you cannot get elsewhere but just be aware that job hunting can be hell. It can make you want to give up and cry and curse the years of university you wasted when you could’ve been getting experience. You will get there though, it might be a long and painful process but unfortunately, we need to work to get by in this society so don’t give up.

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