University will probably be one of the best times of our lives. It’s the place where we make friends, join societies, go on adventures, travel the world, and party. 💃 We will forever remember the ear-to-ear smiles on our graduation day, holding our certificates and throwing our mortarboards for our graduation photos, knowing that we have made our parents and ourselves proud to have come so far. 🎓
However, now that you’ve finally graduated university, it’s inevitable that you’ll be swamped with questions from your parents and friends about what your plans are. If you haven’t quite entered that next stage of #adulthood yet (which is totally fine, there is 100% no rush to find a graduate job straight away), these are 4 things you should probably be aware of.
Welcome to student debt, tax and mortgages
This is it. University is officially over. No more crazy parties, midnight pizza feasts, and the independence of living far away from home. To many, post-university life is often challenging yet exciting. However, graduating also means facing impending adult life which involves paying back student debts, as well as income tax and rent. And don’t forget those overdrafts too.
According to The Guardian, student loan debt has risen to more than £100 billion in 2017, with each graduate having an average student debt of £32,220. And while this is an alarming figure, if you can manage to work out exactly how much you’ll be repaying a month, it’s not as scary as it seems. You basically pay back 9% of whatever you earn over £21,000. So if you earn £25,000 you’ll pay back £30 a month – which is probably not much more than you pay for your phone bill.
That being said, it’s still important that you learn how to budget and make sure you don’t waste your hard-earned salary on pizza and pints like at uni. Apps like YNAB (free for 1 month) or Monzo (free) are incredibly helpful for keeping track of your spending habits.
Be prepared to live at home
Due to sky-high rent prices (especially in cities like London) and a general lack of funds, many graduates end up moving back in with their parents after graduating. Living at home at the age of 21 can be challenging and restrictive, especially with ‘helicopter parents’ and the lack of personal space.
If you want to be able to afford those high rent prices, saving money is super important. And on the bright side, living at home will help you to do just that, depending on how much board you have to pay and whether your parents are prepared to do the food shopping every week.
Work-life balance – myth or reality?
‘Work-life balance’ is a bit of a buzzword these days, with more and more companies emphasising how they encourage it in their employees. And while many jobs will enable employees to achieve this, with 9-5 working hours, socials on the weekend and casual Fridays, some still think ‘work-life balance’ is an urban myth. If a company is paying you a hefty amount of money, do employees feel obliged to stay later than 5pm?
Forbes contributor Meghan Bio believes the ‘work-life balance’ is a ‘fallacy’ and is not possible to achieve in reality. There’s no denying that in adulthood work becomes a huge part of your life and it is often difficult to establish a clear divide between work and personal life. That’s why it’s so important to (if possible) find a job that is not only meaningful but enjoyable.
But…you’ll still have fun!
It can seem like adulthood is all grim and stressful, with an ever increasing amount of responsibilities. However, graduate life can still be fun, especially when you’re able to find your own passion or a job that you enjoy. And if you’re one of the many students who have yet to find a graduate job, it’s not the end of the world.
There are plenty of productive and fun things you can do after graduating university that will enrich your life and expand your knowledge and horizon. A working holiday is a great opportunity to take a break and explore new cultures and opportunities. Volunteering is socially productive and will help you to establish new networks that may eventually help you with finding a job.
In any case, being a graduate is another stage of your life which you should embrace with open arms, both for the challenges it brings and the potential for new adventures.