You recently graduated from university? Congratulations!
Graduating is such a huge milestone and a great opportunity to celebrate years of hard work. However, once the ceremonies end and the excitement wears off, it’s not unusual to feel down and overwhelmed. Finding a job, properly ‘adulting’ and navigating this crazy world isn’t easy- well, it hasn’t been for me!
If you are a recent graduate and are feeling anything from anxiety, sadness to confusion, know that you are not alone. It might be helpful to consider the following:
1. Change can be hard
How ever different or similar your university life is to post-university life, change is unavoidable. Whether it’s moving back home or being further away from your uni friends, there will be challenges along the way. It’s okay if you find it hard- transitioning usually is. But don’t lose hope and don’t be hard on yourself if it takes you longer than expected to find your feet.
2. You can take your time
If you are feeling unsure about your next steps, take time to reflect and talk to careers advisors and friends. Don’t feel under pressure to have your whole life or even the next few years planned out. Take it one step at a time.
I took some time out after graduating to reflect on what I would like to do. I did occasionally worry that I was wasting time but taking things slowly helped me outline my career interests.
Even if you can’t take time out and you need to start earning as soon as possible, know that it’s totally OK if your first job isn’t your ‘dream’ one. It takes time to build a career and find the things you enjoy.
3. Rejection is normal
Continually failing interviews and applications can be disheartening but rejection is such an inevitable part of the job process. Reach out to friends and family if you need support and remind yourself that rejection is not the end.
When applying for jobs I tried to keep an open mind and remember that there are lots of opportunities out there. Even though it was hard, I tried to view rejection positively. It helped me to see it as a repositioning towards an even better opportunity and a chance to learn and grow.
4. Somebody else’s victory is not your failure
Even if your peers are securing ‘top jobs’ and seemingly moving on with their lives, it does not mean that you are failing. There are opportunities coming your way too.
Let other people’s successes inspire you rather than discourage you.
Of course, this is easier said than done though! If you’re finding it hard to remain upbeat about others’ successes, try limiting the time you spend on the comparison-trap that is social media.
5. Enjoy the process
Life is a journey, with different stages and lots of change. It’s easy to focus on the next stage, whether that be having a fully-fledged career, your own house or family. Yet in the same way that achieving the goal of graduating doesn’t completely fulfil you, securing your ‘dream job’ won’t either. We face challenges and problems whatever stage of life we’re in so rather than waiting for your current stage to be over, try to enjoy the here and now.
Figuring out what to do after graduation does take time and effort but it is a completely normal process and you’re definitely not alone. I hope this blog has provided you with some encouragement and guidance. Feel free to check out the resources below for some more useful insights.
Other helpful reads: