I Moved In With My Parents After My Master’s And Promised It’d Be Temporary
As graduation season looms and thousands of students enter “the real world”, every day this week we’ve heard from graduates about what life outside of university is really like for them.
In this series, we’ve been shining the spotlight on what it’s really like to be a graduate in 2016. Each story highlights the difficulties, disappointments, surprises and moments of happiness that come with being a recent graduate. This is the final story in the series, you can read the other four via the links at the end of the article.
This is Louisa’s Story. Louisa is enjoying post-uni life, and thinks it’s much easier for graduates who choose not to move to London.
Louisa: I spent the majority of my time at uni trying not to think about the fact that I would one day have to graduate, but when the time actually came I was surprised to find the transition to post-uni life relatively painless. Maybe that’s because I had four years’ worth of student life under my belt, as I did a Master’s degree at the same uni right after finishing my BA. Most likely it was entirely down to luck, and to accepting that life after uni is going to be massively different no matter what path you take. Either way, by the end of the four years, I felt at peace with the notion that ‘adulthood’ was imminent, and that most of the freshers now looked about 14 to me.
That is not to say that entering the ‘real world’ was without its difficulties.
I spent most of my time at uni thinking about the pub or when I was actually going to get round to doing some studying, but I still had some idea of how I might like the future to look. When I got to writing my first dissertation, I was discovering that academia was something I was surprisingly attracted to, hence the decision to add a Master’s to my list of qualifications.
I felt at peace with the notion that ‘adulthood’ was imminent.
Because I knew I ultimately wanted to end up in academia, my initial job search post-MA wasn’t necessarily informed by what I might see as a long-term career. I saw the job I would get in that time as temporary and as a means to an end while I saved money and worked up to applying for a PhD. The job search was a bit haphazard, really, but important. I needed financial autonomy and am trying to save up some money to help fund going back to academia. It’s not going to be easy to do so, but getting to study and thoroughly research an area of literature that I love will be worth it.
I moved back in with my parents in London after my Master’s and promised myself it would be temporary – two months, max. It took about 6 weeks to secure a job and move out, which, looking back, I realise was very fortunate considering the world new graduates are thrown into today. The main attributes I looked for in a job were location (any reasonably sized city where I wouldn’t be living with my parents), something in which I could use my writing skills, and didn’t require heaps of internships or office experience. So, my requirements were pretty vague. I sent off loads of applications to various companies and, to my surprise, bagged some interviews.
The job search was a bit haphazard, really.
During the first few interviews I went in almost completely unprepared, and knew I’d failed to make the impression I was trying to make. I also discovered that interviews are a two-way street, and I had a couple of hilarious experiences which helped me work out the kind of employers I didn’t want to work for.
My favourite example of this was when, having made it through a number of rounds and tests to get to the final interview for a job, the employer started asking suspicious questions about my political leanings, asking about my views on Jeremy Corbyn and whether I was a socialist. Was I that transparent? And why did it matter? I got the feeling that they weren’t keen on my seemingly glaring left-wing politics, and waited for the imminent rejection call. They never even bothered with an email.
Within about a month of starting my job search, I secured a job in Manchester working in PR.
I was excited by the idea of working a job with normal hours and earning a full-time wage. It was the most financial freedom I had ever had and I was able to find a one-bed flat to move into with my boyfriend, giving me some semblance of adulthood that many of my fellow graduates had not yet managed to find. Obviously I was really pleased, but it did mean moving away from London, where loads of my friends seemed to be moving to start their careers. For many, London is the go-to place after uni, but luckily my family live there, so I can enjoy the perks when I visit. Manchester is new and upcoming, and with rent being so much less than what I would’ve spent in London (thank god), it’s ideal.
There were a few things that required some getting used to, like early mornings, being forced to find some kind of routine, paying council tax, never having enough time to get stuff done outside of work, and seeing old friends move on to things you never would have envisaged before graduation. Oh, and the sheer number of ‘engaged’ statuses that start appearing on your Facebook feed. Freaky.
For now, graduate life is pretty comfy, although a large part of this is down to the fact I’m living out of London.
Hopefully I’ll have made some moves towards doing a PhD and be closer to some of my ‘career goals’ fairly soon, regressing back to student levels of bankruptcy all over again. But hey, if there’s one piece of advice I’d give to new graduates, it would be to not give up on your goals. Life isn’t hugely exciting right now, but I feel like I’ve reached some level of stability which is what I really wanted after graduating. I miss uni massively, but there’s also the nagging awareness that I’m too old for it. You have to take the inevitable bouts of boredom that come with routine, and a ‘real job’, in order to appreciate the good things in life.