The pressures of graduate life

Graduation

The pressures of graduate life

Everyone’s life experiences are different. Some of us get a job straight out of school; some of us go to university. But for some graduates, the post-university experience is too similar. Especially when it comes to employment, as our writer Brittany found out...

As I write this, exactly a year ago today, on the 15th July 2018, I was celebrating graduating from university. On that day, my biggest worry was whether or not I was going to make it across the stage without tripping over and humiliating myself in front of hundreds of people. Thankfully, I didn’t (to this day I’m still unsure how). 

But no one really talks about what happens after you graduate. Although it seems simple enough that you should know what you’re doing after you graduate since you have a degree specialising in something you enjoy, this isn’t always the case. If this is you, you’re not alone, and I want to share my own experiences of leaving university.

Plan

Before I graduated, my big plan was to go travelling like all the other 20-year-olds out there and live carefree for the rest of my life. It’s safe to say, my overdraft didn’t stretch as far as my imagination did. This left me in a rut. I hadn’t applied for any graduate jobs, I didn’t have any work experience in the sector I thought I was interested in, and a Masters degree just wasn’t for me. 

If there’s one thing I wish I had done before I graduated, it’s that I had taken the time to consider what I was actually going to do with my future. This doesn’t mean applying for every graduate job you see. Travelling is a fantastic opportunity you should take if you get the chance and you actually have the funds to do so.

A gap year is the perfect way to take a break from the real world before diving into the scary world of employment. It can even make you a more desirable candidate when you return from your travels. It shows you are organised, good at planning, and you may even learn a new language while you’re out there which is always an added bonus. Studies suggest that knowing a foreign language can increase your salary by between 10-15%. So not only is it beneficial for personal growth but travelling and enriching yourself in different cultures can also have substantial advantages for your future employment.

Research

If you know you want to go straight into employment, make sure you’re researching ahead of when you want to be employed. I expected to get a job within two months. With my lack of experience and knowledge of what I really wanted, it was obvious that this was going to be unrealistic. A study suggested that 58% of those asked expect to start a graduate job straight after university. These statistics show that I wasn’t alone in my expectations. However, no matter your position, don’t lose faith. 

There’s something out there for everyone, and it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself. With 96% of graduates stating they changed jobs by the time they were 24, you’ll end up where you want to be. Whether it’s within one week or one year. There is no time limit on when you have to get a job related to your chosen degree, or even a job related to your degree at all.

Don’t feel pressured to aim for the highest paying job related to your subject. There are plenty of opportunities in a variety of different sectors that you may not have even considered. Ensuring you’re passionate about what you do is the most important factor when considering your future and your happiness. With it being suggested that 90% of your long-term happiness is determined by how you think, rather than the money you earn or other materialistic factors, there’s no time like the present to kickstart your career in something that you love.

Be proactive

Feeling disheartened about your lack of progress is only far too common in graduates. But it’s important to remain as positive as possible and concentrate on the things you can do. The three main things which benefited me in landing the job which I love are:

Consider alternative options

For me, this was flexible working. Working for Coster Content allows me to be flexible in my work as well as writing about subjects I am truly passionate about. For you, this may be a similar route, or even considering a graduate scheme. There are plenty of options out there that are worth researching rather than typing ‘graduate job’ into the Indeed search bar every 24 hours.

Show you’re interested 

Whether this is by simply taking the time to tailor your CV to that specific job or writing to companies who aren’t even advertising in the hope to get some experience. Employers like confidence, and it shows you are truly passionate about what they have to offer as a company. It sets you apart from the competition as well as allows you to build on your own communication skills and build a rapport with others. 

Believe 

As conventionally cheesy as it goes, ‘believing in yourself’ has to be up there with one of the cheesiest. But it genuinely is important not to give up on yourself. Be persistent, but not obsessive. 

Graduate life is different for everyone, and some find it harder than others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Whether it’s from a mentor at university, or simply some advice from a friend, people are there to help you. Just be sure to help yourself and take time for yourself when you need it.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can guide your own employees in improving their abilities in the workplace, you can find out about our training services here. Whether they’re in a brand new graduate position or in a long-serving senior role, we’re happy to help unleash their potential. 

Alia CosterComment