You’ve graduated, and it suddenly feels like the world which was once your oyster is a ginormous scary, lonely place – but it doesn’t have to be. We spend far too much of our early twenties worrying that we’re not yet where we want to be, or have yet to achieve much with our lives. Take a deep breath, take a rain check and look around at all of the brilliant, exciting things in your life. Ignore the stampede to get jobs and appear competent – you don’t need a label, be that in your job or in the relationships you have.
Whilst it is easier said than done, try not to let things bother you. Each factor that introduces worry to your life is almost certainly hiding an opportunity just around the corner.
Here are 6 things which you should aim not to worry about after university:
1. Getting a job straight away
When the great tide of your friends and classmates leave university, there is a rush to move to the city and land the best job possible in the shortest of time frames. Whilst the computer scientists and physicists may be smug in the well paid jobs they landed months ago, you really don’t need to worry if you don’t go straight into a job. Taking the time to try out a variety of things through internships and work experience can actually be far more beneficial in the long run – remember that once you’re in a secure job it can be very hard to leave, no matter how much you want to try out something else.
2. Working for free
On the flip side of this, also don’t feel that you need to work for free for a protracted amount of time. Whilst some parents will pay for their little darlings to follow their dreams, for most of us this simply isn’t possible and the end of university signals financial independence. Whilst in some industries, low paid (or unpaid) work experience will (unfortunately) likely be needed, this can be subsidised relatively easily by working several days a week, or doing shifts in a bar. Remember, as long as you can afford to live (and have a bit of fun along the way!) things will always be fine.
3. Moving back in with mum and dad
It is an inevitability that for most of us the freedom of University reaches its conclusion, the safe bubble of student loans pops, and you may well have to move back in with good old mum and dad. Try not to resent this too much; they did care and provide you with everything for the first 18 years of your life, so doing the chores now is small repayment. Value the cheap (or likely free) rent, the home cooked meals and the clean orderly environment – once you bite the bullet and move out, you’ll be thinking of such luxuries and wishing mum would still buy your washing powder.
4. Taking time out for yourself
Finals are stressful, and university is one of the most intense times of your life, when there’s little time to think beyond the present. If you feel that you need, or just want, to take some time out of the stress of careers and away from the pressures of the future after uni, you shouldn’t feel guilty about this. Travelling, resting, or just doing odd jobs and enjoying a quieter pace of life back at home can provide the break you need to really understand your own priorities and ruminate on what you want going forwards. Taking a few months out now will give you the time to revaluate and prepare yourself for the (exciting!) career journey ahead.
5. Giving something a go
Before settling into a job, if there is a career you’ve always dreamed of, a place you’ve always wanted to travel round or a summer job in a foreign country that you’re dying to try, now is the best (and potentially only) time when you can really give it a go. Take the chance or opportunity -and if it doesn’t work out, you’ve lost nothing. If you don’t give it a go when there’s nothing to lose, you never will.
6. Not knowing exactly what the future holds
The decisions you make now do not define you for the rest of your life. Even if you do go straight from uni into a job, this doesn’t mean you will be an office assistant or junior researcher for life! Sit back, enjoy the road, and don’t be scared to contemplate going back into further education and training after a year in the working world if that’s what draws you. Most importantly, remember that you have time – time to take risks, time to make mistakes, and time to enjoy being young with no one to worry about but yourself.
Alexandra Jane is the writer and editor of graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency. Check out their website to see which internships and graduate jobs are currently available, as well as their graduate jobs Manchester page for further opportunities.