This post has been written by an external contributor. Here, Rachel Fernie reflects on a tumultuous year. There are some things you learn in your first year as a graduate you’ll just never forget:
It’s been almost a full year since I graduated from university. I can absolutely say I’ve underestimated how difficult it was to adjust to life as a full-blown adult! It’s safe to say that I’m still learning, and manuevering the murky waters of graduate life hasn’t been easy. Here are the lessons I’ve learnt so far.
You wish you had started looking for work experience earlier
In most graduate jobs you have to start at the bottom, unless you have tonnes of experience. Work experience is not something university will push at you. However, it is almost as important as the degree you are pursuing. It’s all about giving your CV some more weight by showing you’ve gained skills through diverse experience. You don’t want to send off a CV with no work experience at all. If you were wondering why you weren’t getting any replies to your job application, this would be the reason.
University friendships are twice as difficult to maintain
When you throw full time jobs and distance in the mix, it is only natural you’ll start drifting away from the people you spent your three years at uni with. Those who make the most effort to see you are probably the ones worth holding on to. A top tip from us? Keeping a calendar or using a calendar app will work wonders. As will a Doodle poll for group gatherings.
You realise you didn’t make the most of long summers
This is probably my biggest regret from my student years. I had four long months of sunshine every year which should have been spent exploring new places and having loads of fun. In reality, I worked part time and mostly stayed in England. Now working full time, I’ve realised it is so much harder to drop everything even for a few days off.
Money makes the world go round
Or at least, it’ll make your world go round. Rent, bills and living expenses will be a pain to keep up with. You’re bound to make some budgeting mistakes, but with a clear savings goal and a regular overview of your expenses, you’ll be on track for financial stability. Getting a house anytime soon, however, is a different story.
Working 9-5, what a (hard) way to make a living
Gone are the days when Thursdays were the new Fridays and Mondays were just an extension of the weekend. Gone are the days when you thought your two hours of lectures a day was tough. When you’re working 45 hours a week, it can be tiring and stressful so it’s vital to do something that you enjoy. After all, self care is the best care.
Life without student discount is rough
Every little helped. Like the half price gym membership, free burger at McDonald’s and student lock-ins at the shopping centre. Now, out in the real world, there’re no perks and no free stuff. Everything is lamentably full-priced, however, it never hurts to ask your younger friends at university for their online student discount code.
Adults have no clue
I used to look in awe at ‘grown ups’ thinking they had it all worked out. But the older you get the more you realise they don’t. So many people older than me still do not have a clue what they want to do with their lives, which is reassuring and scary at the same time.
You can’t compare your situation to other people your age
Some people will get married. Others will travel the world. Some may even head back to school for some further learning. There is no right or wrong way. It is perfectly acceptable to be happy where you are and even if you’re not, it’s more than fine to be a work in progress.