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How To Deal With Leaving University: A Graduate's Top Tips!!

Posted on May 23rd, 2017

 It’s that bittersweet time of year, when students in their final year wrestle with the conflicting feelings of elation at finishing their last ever piece of work, and heartbreak at the thought of leaving the place they’ve felt comfortable for the last 3+ years. Having graduated less than a year ago, I remember the feeling as if it was yesterday. Total happiness at the knowledge I would NEVER AGAIN have to sit in the library at 3am, stress-eating 3 bags of Doritos and frantically typing hundreds of words as my dissertation deadline dawned, mixed with a feeling of complete and utter terror at what came next. It’s a dramatic statement, but it really does feel like your life is about to change in a massive way. And it is. But I can tell you from experience; the feeling of panic will subside and be replaced by excitement for all the new things you’re about to experience.

Nothing beats the relief of handing in your dissertation!!!

Nothing beats the relief of handing in your dissertation!!!

Whether you’re planning on moving home, saving money and travelling, or going straight into a new career, I can wholeheartedly tell you that you’re going to be fine. If someone had said the same to me last year, I know I would’ve asked a million questions and shouted “BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW?” And I know because I, and thousands upon thousands of graduates have done it and lived to tell the tale. I’ve spent my last year trying my hand at a myriad of things. I’ve interned at one of the biggest men’s magazines in the world, I’ve started a relationship found in the unlikeliest of places, I’ve worked in a coffee shop and in social media. In June last year, when I was preparing to put a gown on and strut across a stage with my scroll in hand, I wouldn’t have imagined half of that would happen. I remember driving myself mad with the options I had laid out before me, and changing my mind daily about what my next step should be. As scary as that was, the thing is – you’re supposed to do that. You’re young, you’re just out of University and the world is your oyster!

Katie our blogger moved to Auckland in January  – read about her adventures at www.realworldrunaway.com

My course mates have all taken very different paths from me, and that’s what is exciting. Previous student blogger Katie has upped and moved to New Zealand, and another friend has whiled away the time gaining invaluable experience interning at X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. I’ve gone from Northern Ireland, to smoky London and back to Newcastle, which is something I really didn’t think was in the cards for me. I’m planning on travelling too, but at a slower pace from others who have made the leap already. None of the routes me and my mates have taken have been wrong, and even though you might end up in a job or situation which you hadn’t expected, the important thing to remember is that it will all help to shape you and give you new experiences to try on for size.

 

The biggest misconception that new graduates have is that they should have their life mapped out the minute that dissertation is posted in the submissions box. At 21 when I graduated, I felt like I was watching an hourglass slowly drip out grains of time, and when the last piece fell I thought I should be in my dream job, in a new flat and completely settled. That hasn’t happened, reason being that I finally gave myself a good shake and realised that I’m still so young, with so much time ahead of me to explore, travel and try new jobs – and the same is true for you too! There’s no need for you to settle down in a job now that you stay in until you retire, and there’s plenty of time to have a really good think and decide what your next step should be. In saying that, if you want to give a new job a go now, then that’s completely fine – if that’s what you want your new adventure to look like then embrace it!

Spend your time applying for jobs that will make you happy and move up the ladder if that’s where you get your kicks. Equally, if you could think of nothing worse than sitting at a desk during the day – don’t. Simple as. We all need to make money to live, so get a job in a coffee shop or somewhere similar to give you some buying time while you figure out what you want to try next. I remember actually writing a physical list of the pros and cons to living in London straight after graduation, and putting pen to paper was a really simple but effective way to physically see what my options were. If you don’t feel like doing that, then talk to your friends – they’re all going through the exact same thing, so listen to what they’re doing next and see how that makes you feel. Does it make you super jealous to hear of Zoe going travelling? Or do you like the sound of Jack’s new job in the city?

What I’m trying to say in this long and rambling post, is that it’s 100% normal to be scared about what comes next, and it’s 100% normal to not have a clue what you want to do with your life. Feel the fear and do it anyway, and I guarantee when you look back with a little bit of time behind you, you’ll wonder what you were even stressed about.

From a girl that’s been there, and done that, good luck – get excited for the next chapter!

Sara x

 

Photo by Coco Luminaire – Newcastle’s original illuminated letter and prop hire company

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