12 Things to Remember During Your First Year as a Graduate
In your first year as a graduate, absolutely everything feels up in the air. Until now, you’ve managed to put it to the back of your mind and focus on the task at hand, just getting from one reading week to the next. But gradually, and then all at once, graduate life comes hurtling towards you.
You go from looking suave in your robes on graduation day to living in your dressing gown and not being sure if you’ve showered today. And you’re dealing with the stresses of moving out, paying council tax and the constant worry that your LinkedIn profile photo isn’t quite professional enough.
Of course, it’s different for each of us, but it’s easy to feel as though you’re the only one who doesn’t have their 5-year life plan carefully mapped out – when in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Here are a few things to remember when you’re experiencing the existential dread that follows you post-uni. From the compulsion to constantly refresh your gmail, to discovering unexplored realms of your overdraft or hearing family friends coming out with pithy phrases like ‘If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door’.
1. Take stock of what you’ve just achieved.
You’ve just finished 17 years of education and got yourself a degree. This, in itself, is a huge achievement.
2. There’s no rush.
Taking some kind of break before getting cracking on with the job hunt is crucial. Whether it’s a holiday somewhere sunny or days spent in your pyjamas channel-hopping with endless cups of tea. You’ve definitely earned yourself some down time.
I have spent the entire day watching daytime TV and I regret nothing. #graduatelife
— L I L Y (@Lily_waaaaa) July 13, 2017
Or, you know, time spent making excessive amounts of home made granola.
I've made enough granola to last me 2 months 😂 #graduatelife
— Kerry Lynne (@kerrylynnet_) June 13, 2017
3. There’s nothing wrong with getting a part time job while you work things out.
Even if it has nothing to do with your degree, it’ll tide you over for a while, and doing something different could do you a world of good.
4. Going back home to live with your parents is not a step backwards.
It’s actually the reality for a lot of recent graduates and it will not last forever.
5. It might not always feel like it, but you’re not the only one struggling.
When you’re facing the classic conundrum of being told that you don’t have enough experience, but not being given experience, you really aren’t alone.
Got feedback off a job interview saying I couldn't have done anything better, but someone else had more experience 🙃🙃🙃🙃🙃 #graduatelife
— Luce 🌹♥️ (@LifeOfLuce) August 8, 2017
6. Focus on yourself.
Stay in your lane. Everyone has their own personal path (if Instagram has taught us anything, surely it’s that comparing yourself to others has never benefited anyone).
7. It’s okay not to have a plan.
There’s nothing wrong with just dealing with things as you go along – managing one day or even one hour at a time.
8. You’ll learn from it.
The whole graduate limbo phase is actually a useful experience, and you’ll be challenged in ways that you weren’t at uni. It’s a great time to think about what you really want to do, to try out a few different things and find out what you enjoy.
9. In all likelihood, your first job will not be your perfect job.
And that’s okay.
10. As tempting as it may be, don’t make any rash decisions.
Panic-applying for a Masters or a teaching course that you’re not really sure about isn’t the best idea.
11. There’s nothing wrong with going into a career that’s totally unrelated to your degree.
18 is far too young to be deciding what we want to do.
12. No one really knows what they’re doing.
Although some people are better at pretending otherwise, we’re all making it up as we go along. Things do work out, and if ever you’re feeling particularly lost, remember: everyone experiences this.