Sunday, 28 June 2015

Handling Life Post-Graduation

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University is one of the scariest, most exciting and stressful things you can enter in to at the tender age of 18. After your initial settling in period, what happens when the life you’ve lived comfortably in for the last 3-4 years comes to an abrupt end?

Having initially had a hard time settling in to halls during my first year, (unfortunately rather than raving it up, I was most probably weeping at the fact I was missing my boyfriend and two cats back home – what a cringing thought!) when second and third year popped their heads around the corner at the end of each final term, I was surprised and glad that to find that I was having the best time of my life! I lived with a family, in a beautiful home within a creative town in Surrey. I had a great social life, fab tutors and was studying a course I loved in a specialist creative arts uni, full to the brim of everything a creative like myself could ask for. Why on earth would I want to pop that sparkly bubble and enter in to (what those who were already in full time work called) the big bad world?

Despite my efforts to find the TARDIS, and follow those cryptic instructions left by Peter Pan (take note, the second star until morning, is NOT an easy find) by the time was donning my graduation cap and gown I still hadn’t found a way to remain a carefree student, blogging and vlogging her way through uni. It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. The lead up to grad, choosing the perfect dress and throwing some serious shapes at the final Summer Ball were all crazy good times. However, ever present was the fear to find a job, and not just any job, a career I was to stay in, something that l loved. Admittedly I had this all planned out from the age of 14, but landing your dream job doesn’t always run as smoothly as a childhood dream would have you think.

So we fast forward a few more months, you’re seeing less and less familiar faces when you pop in to town for a coffee (because buying hot drinks in polystyrene cups is somehow so much more fashionable than making them at home) and more and more freshers are gradually appearing in your favourite old hangout spots (you can spot freshers by their university logo lanyards and front door keys hanging around their necks... for some reason moving into halls makes us forget that we’ve ever had the responsibility of safe guarding our own front door keys). The time has come to pack up and ship out. Whether you’re tumbling off to a new home or moving back in with the folks, here a few tips that just might help make the transition from university to post graduation life a little smoother.

-You're Doing Just Fine-

First things first, just remember that whatever you fall into after uni, you are doing just fine! With a new social media platform being downloaded daily from the app store, it’s easy to see why comparing our lives to others has become something of a habit. A spokesperson for the British Association for counselling and psychotherapy (BACP) found that 95% of students and recent graduates in 2013, believed at post university depression was most certainly a real thing. At university we are surrounded by a constant stream of feedback and a close network of support, moving away from that can make you feel more than a little lonely. There are only a few months in between your final party and a whole new post graduate life. It’s important to keep in mind that a lot is expected to change in a very short space of time, and you’re completely within your rights to will the world to stop for five seconds. It’s a common misconception that university is a constant party fuelled by a steady stream of alcohol, when it fact, the lectures, deadlines and timetabled fancy dress parties give a welcome structure to a young adults life. Whilst some may welcome a few home comforts, moving back in with parents, or into a role that doesn’t quite live up to your expectation is going to feel like an unnatural step back, but it won’t be this way forever! Try writing down all the things you’d like to achieve and mind mapping ways to get there. As soon as you begin focusing on your next steps rather than looking back, your motivation and hard work will guide you in the right direction. Reminding yourself that there is no set path to your future beyond graduation, will help you realise that whatever you’re doing now you can always keep moving forward until you reach where you want be.

-Make Plans With Your Friends a Couple of Weeks After Moving Day-

I now realise that I really should have taken my own advice with this one. When I moved back home, only a few days went by until I packed up an overnight bag and went to stay with the few remaining friends I still knew at university! Do not do this! Although it may feel strange being in a new room, by not leaving yourself time to adjust you’re just prolonging any initial upset. Having something to look forward to in the future gives us comfort and something familiar to focus on when life gets a little rocky. Your university gang will always be at the other end of your phone, Skype, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter accounts, no doubt bombarding you with messages. With all these ways to stay in touch, a few weeks without them will wiz by, and you’ll feel tons better afterwards.

-Find a New Hobby-

Whilst it can sometimes feel that everyone else has landed on their feet with cat like precision since their first out of the university gates, chances are they’re all still figuring life and it’s funny twists and turns out too. Starting a new hobby is not only a fab way of meeting like-minded people, it also gives you that little bit of breathing space you need after a long day of job searching, meeting your new manager, or planning any next steps in life. For me, yoga was not only a chance to let somebody else take the lead, it also gave me an hour and a half of no talking, no brain meltdowns, and no expectations. We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to compete with one another and stay one step ahead. The practice of yoga is about uniting mind body and breath, to rebalance yourself and find peace. Whatever hobby you choose, ensure that at the end of each session you feel more positive than when you began. They say besides grades, personality is what wins an employer over. Taking a little “you time” will help you realise what you want from your new life post-graduation.

-Pull Out a Paintbrush and Get Creative-

Not only does this take your mind off the fact that half of your friends are a million miles away, and you’re either crazy nervous about starting your new job, or like I was, still searching for the right opportunity, it also re-stamps your mark on your “new” room. Much like our four legged furry friends, us humans like to mark our territories. I’m not here suggesting you squat against the fine paintwork of your bedroom walls, but if you’ve moved back home chances are your room hasn’t seen a fresh lick of paint or a new picture frame in quite a few years. You’re no longer a teenager and your style has changed, why not make yourself feel more at home by surrounding yourself with all of your favourite things. It’s a well-known fact that our surroundings have the ability to change our mood. Armed with your degree and a recharged energy, you’ll feel confident enough to glide into any interview and snatch with both hands the career you’ve worked hard for! Yes my friends, a tin of paint and some scatter cushions really do work wonders.

-Re-Kindle Old Friendships-

Some social butterflies can easily maintain all friendship groups from the age of five (Ahh the days when figuring out the answer to the question “what is your favourite colour?” was a tough choice) but sometimes, without meaning to do so we lose contact with those we are away from. If you’re guilty of unknowingly shunning those you probably referred to at uni as your “back home friends”, a big reunion is just the ticket. These are the girls and guys with whom you most likely took your first step into a club. The ones that have seen many of your questionable fashion choices from the “it’s not just a phase mum” look right through to your first failed hair dye. All it takes is a meet up in a few old haunts to realise that the ones you used to have so much in common with, are probably just as awesome now! Knowing that you have that much needed support from others when planning your new career is a key point in reaching success. Reconnecting with old friends also makes moving away from uni life a bit of a smoother transition.

Hopefully a few of these tips are relatable and helpful to at least one of you struggling to hang up your robe for good. Although seemingly scary, like myself you’ll no doubt find that more fabulous opportunities await you! There are so many more crazy fun people to meet, and so many beautiful places to see! Grab the world with both hands and always look forward to where your fancy new degree will take you next! Good luck graduate!

Wishes,
Penny
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1 comment

  1. Great tips. I am moving home in a matter of weeks and am DREADING it, so have made sure to rediscover old hobbys and friends!

    Sophie x

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