University graduation: how to deal with the first year of real adult life

It has been over a year since I finished my University degree. Writing that feels bizarre, as it seems like the last 12 months have stretched into feeling like a lifetime, and yet it still doesn’t feel that long ago. If you’re graduating in 2016, I know exactly how you’re feeling. Excited about new opportunities, incredibly sad about leaving uni life behind, and also terrified that you’ll never make anything of your life. It’s a tough time, but I’m here to promise you that it will all fall into place somehow.

If you’d told me that I would have moved to London within three months of finishing my degree, got a job that I absolutely love, and be living on my own, I don’t think I would have believed you. And yet all that did happen, and I’ve become completely self-sufficient.

There’s no denying that the first year outside of education is terrifying – but you can get through it. Here’s how.


1. Don’t push yourself down if you’re not exceeding expectations.

Someone else on your course has got an amazing new job, but that doesn’t mean that you’re failing because you’re still looking for one. In fact, holding out for something that really feels right could be the best decision you ever make. This isn’t something to rush into.


2. If you don’t know what you want to do, now is the time to find out.

Bring together everything you learned at uni, whether it be on work experience, part-time jobs, or from your course, and pick out what you enjoyed the most. This will help you to decide which direction to go down, and then you can start looking at the type of jobs that are out there. It’s worth properly thinking about this before sending your CV to anyone and everyone.


3. Keep your family close…

A lot of people move back in with their families when they graduate because rent is simply ridiculous. It’s the perfect time to reconnect with your family after gallivanting off to university for three years.


4. And keep your friends even closer

It’s worth remembering that your family will always be there for you, but friendships may require a little more maintenance. Seeing friends will become a lot more difficult now that you don’t all live within five minutes of one another. Now meet ups will involve trains across the country and weekend plans, but that makes them all the more special. Make sure you don’t forget to invest the time in your friendships.


5. Being an adult is tough.

For a significant chunk of my university career, I had no idea what day it was. I now realise how much of a luxury this was. Working full-time is tough. So is paying rent and bills and looking after yourself. Though there was a point around three months after graduation when I realised the only thing I didn’t earn myself was my phone contract. My rent, bills and expenses were all paid for from my job – not parents or a government loan – but my dad still paid for my phone. I decided to upgrade and start paying for it myself immediately. I feel so proud that I am managing to pay for my own upkeep for the first time in my life.


6. Keep calm and carry on

This is going to be the most unexpected year of your life, but embrace the unknown, put one foot in front of the other, and carry on. You’ve got this.


Are you worried about graduation? Or do you have some tips of your own for recent grads? Share them in the comments! 

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