Life After College: One Year Later...

Almost exactly a year ago, I walked across a stage, shook a man’s hand in a funny hat and got handed a piece of expensive paper - magically transforming into a graduate. 

For the first time in my life, I had no idea what I was going to do

Ever since I started school, there was another year of learning, more exams and one more step to reach adulthood. Now that I was (supposedly) there… what was I supposed to do? I had believed that by the time I graduated university, I would be this impressive, well-rounded individual striving to make a difference in the world. We expect so much from life and from ourselves after university, that when it doesn’t happen, we feel defeated...

But life goes on and takes us on a roller-coaster of ups and downs where nothing turns out quite how you thought it world. It’s difficult, but I’m trying to embrace the chaos, the uncertainty and the unknown which life provides.

So here are 5 things I have learnt in the year after you graduate university or college.

1. Finding a job is really, really hard.

You can have the best degree in the world, and it can still feel like it means nothing. The worst part is when someone happily looks down at you and tells you to “Just get a job”, as if it is as easy as pancakes (which aren't actually that easy to make..). There goes my last shred of self-esteem...

However, finding a job can actually be easy, but we hold out for that dream job. You know the one job that you answer with when someone asks you “What do you want to do when you grow up?” (mine is to be a Coral Warrior). I admit, I am a complete Job Snob, and I will keep searching until I am happy (or have lots of money).

 

2. Experience is what's really important...

... Which none of us have, because we were too busy learning about theories and crying our-sleeves to sleep over our dissertations. It’s the vicious circle of doom where you can’t get a job because you don’t have 5+ years of experience, but no one will give you a job to get the experience. The only thing you can do is pray to the "Job Gods" for one little break (spending hours in front of the computer, tweaking your CV, and trying to make yourself sound like a “unique” individual also helps). Remember, every job opportunity you have is a stepping stone to help get you to that dream job (still a Coral Warrior).

 

3. The best things in life aren’t free…

Once you leave university, you realise that it also means having no money, moving back in with your parents and actually having to start paying for stuff yourself. Yep. 

 

4. You feel completely stuck.

You feel like you should be doing more and seeing more. It also seems like everyone around you has their life figured out, doing grand and exciting things, while you’re just trying to balance exercising and a full-time job you don’t enjoy (which is nearly impossible).

 If you can, take a gap year. You will have something to talk about at job interviews and have something to daydream about during that boring hour at work.

 

5. This is all 100% OK.

You could have moved out of your parents’ house, have your dream job, willingly eat vegetables, and still you won’t feel like an adult.

And the big secret is, no one does.

 

Have you graduated University or College? What has your first year been like?