What I Wish I Knew Before Graduating

Currently at this time of year mid February has a completely different meaning to me than what it did when I was student. Right now I think about how it’s still light when I go to and come home from work. When I was a student mid-Feb meant reading week, finishing my dissertation and preparing for exams. It also meant preparing for adulthood as I would soon enter the working world. Here’s all the things you should know before you finish university.

1. Make the most of no responsibilities.

2. When you’re a student enjoy your money. You don’t have to save right now. It sure does help but you have your whole life to save.

3. Do not get into debt.

4. If you do get into debt, do not lie about it. Tell your family and your friends and your housemates. This will make a huge difference. The quicker you deal with it, the quicker you get out of it.

5. Do not freak out if you don’t get into the graduate scheme you wanted or don’t have a job lined up.

6. Enjoy your holidays. From here on out it’s all about booking annual leave on an allotted leave calendar and getting it approved by your manager.

7. The friends you make at uni or didn’t make, isn’t the be all and end all. You will continue to meet people and make friends.

8. Really you should just continue to study and not grow up.

9. Prepare yourself for what you’re going to do next. Okay you may not have a job, but know where you will be living at least!

10. Chances are you most likely will have to move back home.

12. If you do move back home, start making a plan when you do go back. Are you going to save as much as you can until you can move out? Rent with friends? Save for a gap year travelling? If you get on with your family and are living rent free it’s great, but if you’re living in the cupboard under the stairs like Harry Potter without a semblance of an idea what job to do, or what you want to achieve in the next year, you may feel a bit depressed.

13. Have realistic expectations and do take it a year at a time. You may get a job straight away or you may not. Decide if you’re gonna temp for a bit or hold out for your dream job (if you can afford it). Either way, do not stop dreaming and hoping!

14. Yes adulthood really does become so money oriented.

15. Do not overwhelm yourself. The positives about being money orientated means that you are one step closer to moving out, buying your own car, starting your dream business- your life is just beginning. It’s quite exciting.

16. Get the help from your University that you need or could need in the future. Go to the Careers Centre and the CV clinic, get a second opinion. Ask your mentor to be a referee on your CV too. Keep good ties and end on a high note with them, just in case you want to return to do a Postgrad.

17. Moving back home doesn’t have to be how it was when you were 18. As hard as it is, try to break bad habits. You’ve just had three years cooking, cleaning and taking care of yourself. Even if your beloved mother wants to continue doing your laundry, helping out from time to time with the household chores goes a long way.

18. This is the next phase of your life and maybe you aren’t moving home but instead staying in your Uni town, moving away to Australia or going to Mars. Whatever it is you decide to do, enjoy it. You’ve worked hard and deserve a break at least until Graduation!

19. The modules you took and the difficult people you came across at Uni are relevant examples for interviews. You may not have as much life experience as some candidates but you do have experience.

20. University really is a great time, go out and discover your city, celebrate and make the most of it before you join the big boys and girls! Celebrate this chapter and welcome in the new one!

What other things would you tell people about the transition between University to employment life? Good luck to all of you students and happy studying, and for all you graduates – happy Tuesday!

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