Hello boys and girls, today I've sat myself down to write a post I've been itching to do for ages. It's a topic that is very dear to my heart and a cause of constant worry to me these days and it is as the title suggests, all about surviving life after university. When we pack our bags to go educate (and drink ourselves silly) at university, we never think about what life will be like moving home, or at least I never did. Moving away is both a terrifying and exciting time and whilst away, we grow in ways we never could have back home. Whilst I was at university, I worked out some deep rooted self esteem and confidence issues (you'd never guess with the mouth I've got) but it was a well needed 'growing' period for me. Despite writing this post, I do not nor will I ever regret going to university, so for those of you who may be in the process of applying to universities, don't be put off by what I may write here, it's still one of the best times of your lives!
I felt the need to write this post to deal with some topics of concern that my fellow graduates and I have come to deal with post-university. When I first moved home, I spent about two days unpacking and re-ordering my room and this itself was a much needed process to get my head back into living at home. But, once I finished, I sat down with a cup of tea and thought to myself 'What the hell do I do now?'. I had not secured myself a job before leaving university despite already applying for jobs and I had no idea what my future would hold. I'm afraid to say the whole concept upset me beyond belief and I had a period of around two weeks of frantically applying for jobs and sinking into a deeper state of, for want of a better word, depression.
I was very very fortunate to be chatting to a friend about my situation when she said that the pub where she worked had vacancies. Three weeks after moving home and several interviews and training days later, I had a part time job at my local pub. With money finally coming in, I decided to start making plans. I followed the steps i've written below and it has seriously helped me no end deal with leaving university. Read on to find out more.
1. Make a Plan
The most obvious thing was to sit myself down and decide what I wanted in life and how to get myself there. I decided that despite my deep love of marine life, I did not want to move from my friends and my family and thus, closed the door on jobs by the coast. I then realised, my only way forward was to focus on my freshwater biology and seek out jobs. I found (with much distress) that these jobs came under 'Ecology' which I, with my Marine and Freshwater Biology degree was not qualified for as A) I didn't have a car/Driving Licence and B) Know the UK Laws and legislation surrounding the field. It was quite a knock back i'll tell you. But, I realised that I could get Masters and become qualified and so, I made the plan to work at my local pub to raise funds for my masters which is exactly what I've been doing. My advice to other graduates is to do the same, have a plan that is realistic and will give you a goal to work towards.
2. Get Busy
There is absolutely no use in having plans and not seeing them through. For me, saving is a long process which I will not see the fruit of for a long time. Meanwhile, I've set myself the challenge to learn to drive, which in itself is an important life skill. A skill which meant I could not apply to certain jobs because I didn't have it on my CV. This is a perfect example of something you can do to better yourself and keep yourself busy while you work through your post-university plans. Another may be starting the gym, which I figured would help me feel healthy inside and out.
Travel is often the one thing graduates can't do because of lack of money. But, that being said, travelling doesn't have to be to some exotic place the other side of the world, it can be to a park the other side of town or to a new sports club. The main thing is, you're getting yourself out of the house and doing something. In my first few days of moving back, I had to fight the temptation to stay in front of the TV all day and put off sorting out my future and travelling is a good reminder that the world is a great deal bigger than our situation and that others have it much much worse.
To me dreams are a very important thing, they motivate you and give you courage and that extra push to do something. My dreams? To buy my first car (I'd like a gunmetal Grey Nissan Micra, they're so cute) and to eventually move in with my current boyfriend. They may not seem like big or amazing dreams to anyone else, but they are to me. Deciding what you want in life is the first step to getting a future that you're happy with.
5. Grass is Greener Syndrome
This old gem of a saying has helped me a great deal. We all know the feeling of scrolling through Facebook and seeing that so and so has travelled to Russia and Mrs this has just won the Nobel peace prize (maybe not that one). The point is, on social media we all display the best bits of ourselves. As a result, it's easy to look at what someone else is doing and feel your life is lack lustre in comparison. It is important to remind ourselves that yes, there are people who are very lucky and leading very privileged or exciting lives, but that doesn't mean that our lives are any less important as a result. I once heard the quote 'Comparison is the thief of joy' and in some ways it's true. Make point of not doing it at the cost of your own happiness.
6. Don't Fear
It is all to easy to despair when the fruits of your hard work can't been seen a few months in. I know that I've been working at my job since June and have saved next to nothing. Some days I am very demoralised and having the career I want seems a lifetime away. In these moments we have to remind ourselves that all good things come to those who wait. Have patience, Rome wasn't built in a day. All we can do is keep moving forward and working towards our goals.
7. Stay Positive
This again goes hand in hand with my last point. Staying positive throughout your down moments is what life is all about. Stay upbeat and remind yourself that whatever situation your in, it isn't forever! It also helps me to remind myself that things could be considerably worse, I have my health where others don't. Life if short and we have to appreciate what we do have.
8. Talk Talk Talk
It is all too easy to feel that you can't talk to anyone about how you are feeling. Unfortunately for my family, I have absolutely no trouble talking about my feelings whatsoever. In fact, the hard part is shutting up. That being said, I'm fortunate to have a supportive family and sisters who have already undergone this process and are great with advice. If you feel like you can't talk to your family, talk to your friends and if you can't feel like you talk to them then hell, email me, I will talk to anyone who needs me! Talk to anyone about how you feel and it will make yourself feel better.
9. Read yourself Happy
My love for Carli Bybel is endless (serious girl crush going on) and she suggested reading The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. I read it and it has changed the way I look at just about everything. The chapter 'Let go now or fall' is all about change and particularly resonated with me. I believe that it will apply to all graduates. I cannot talk highly of it enough, if you want to give it a try, I bought it from amazon here. (I also want to add that I haven't been sponsored to put that link or anything of that sort).
10. Have Faith
You have worked hard throughout your time at university and achieved a degree. That is a major achievement you should be proud of. It is a source of proof of what you are capable of and in the years to come, when we are not sure it was worth it, have faith. Remind yourself that you can achieve your dreams if you work hard and keep at it. We can gain the careers we want because we have worked hard to earn that. Keep going and remind yourself of what you can achieve when your morale gets low.
So to finish a (very) long blog post, but one that is true to my heart, the world is yours. We have come out the other side ready to make mistakes and grow. You may do all these things and still feel down but remind yourself that we have been in the education conveyor belt for, in some cases more than 21 years and at the end of it all, we've fell of the other side with no direction. We've also come off it in a time where jobs aren't all that readily available but they are out there. Keep working hard and you will get what you deserve. I hope that this post has helped you and feel free to message me or comment below on any worries or thoughts you have. After all, we are all in this pot together. Thanks for reading and until next time!