11 Harsh Realities of Graduate Life No One Warned You About
No one said graduate life would be easy, but no one told you how hard it would be to get your feet off the ground, either.
1. At first, life seems to come to a standstill.
Without lectures to attend and before you have a full-time job, the pace of your life suddently goes from fifth gear to first. Those few years of being a student went by too quickly, whereas now you feel like you’ve basically stalled. In retrospect, it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the transition can be hard to get to grips with.
2. And when you do feel like you’re moving somewhere, it can feel you’re going backwards rather than forwards.
This is particularly true if you moved back home. One second you’re a final year with big dreams for the future, the next you’re back in the room you grew up in, considering getting your old job back and painfully aware that reality isn’t yet meeting up to expectations.
3. There’ll be a time when you feel like you can’t do right for doing wrong.
People will make you feel bad for not having a concrete life plan, but will also judge you for deciding too soon. You’ll be told that you should go travelling so as not to waste your youth, but that you should also not go travelling because you need to think about getting a job. It’s infuriating and you have to learn to just rise above.
4. You might never admit it, but you’ll occasionally find yourself wondering why you bothered with a degree.
Receiving rejection after rejection for graduate jobs simply because – obviously – you don’t have enough experience quickly takes its toll and will inevitably have you feeling more than a little betrayed by your university.
5. And no matter how much you loved your degree subject, you’ll likely question whether it was really the best of use of your time and money.
Now that you’re out of the student bubble you’ve been living in for the last few years, confused about the future and what you’re supposed to do with this degree that doesn’t seem to qualify you for anything but a nice certificate, the doubts will creep in thick and fast. All that time you spent stressing over your dissertation seems relatively pointless now, especially if you end up applying for jobs that have nothing to do with your degree.
6. Living the graduate life is initially a lot more mundane than you imagined.
In the shadow of your uni years, everything can feel a little anti-climatic. Applying for jobs seems like it will be a never ending task, your degree turned out to be much less of a unique selling point than you expected, and there’s a lot more worrying involved than you knew you were signing up for. You thought you’d lap up having free time but without purpose to your day, it gets boring quickly.
7. And it’s a lot more expensive, too.
Independent living at university was just a snippet of the real world and you understandably feel like you’ve lost a shoulder to lean on without student finance. Moving back home may save you some money for a while, but until you have a job you’ll feel guilty for spending it and once you do have one you’ll probably just want to save it so you can move out soon.
8. Regardless of how close you were to your uni friends, drifting apart happens.
You’ll always be friends, don’t get me wrong, and you’ll appreciate a reunion all the more, but things can never be the same again. The group chat will mostly be a continuous round of “How are you?” and “When can we meet up?” that has to reset every few days because the conversation never really goes anywhere. The reunions will happen, and they’ll be worth it, but attempting to organise them will resemble some sort of military operation.
9. In spite of everything you’ve achieved, you’ll constantly compare yourself to others.
That person got a job faster than you and that other person looks like they’re having way more fun. For basically the first time ever, you’re no longer moving through life stages at the time as everyone else your age and it’s much harder to deal with than you expected. The chances are though, you’re doing much, much better than you think you are.
10. And even when things seem to be falling into place, you’ll find it hard to shake that sense of self-doubt.
You’ve literally been thrown into the deep end of the real adult world where all you can really do is act like you know what you’re doing until you actually pick it up. University seemed to prepare you for lots of things, none of which involved how to be a graduate, but you’ll get there.
11. But the most important thing they don’t tell you is that, despite the initial hurdles, once graduate life gets going it can be pretty damn great.
You’ve been hearing that age-old phrase “university is the best time of your life” for years now, inevitably making you feel as though it’s all down hill once you’ve left. Sure, the reality of being a graduate doesn’t always live up to expectations, and sure, you may not have life figured out yet or be in your dream job, but university helped you become who you are today. Shouldn’t the phrase really be, university has been the best years of your life so far?