This post will cover the top 7 things that I think every student should know before graduation. Graduation is a massive milestone in anyone’s life, so hopefully these points will offer a positive perspective and demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems.
Whether you’re graduating university or school, this post should still be able to offer you some insight and comfort from someone who’s been through exactly the same thing. And seeing as that time of year is vastly approaching, what better time to share!
Apply for jobs as early as you can
I know that looming deadlines can be overwhelming, believe me I remember the feeling. However if you get the time it’s definitely worth getting to know your way around job sites like Indeed and Reed; researching into the type of job you think you’d be suitable for; and making sure your CV is presentable, professional, and up-to-date.
Even if you apply for just one job per week in the months leading up to graduation, it may increase your chances and provide you with some experience of the job-seeking process.
You won’t necessarily find a job straight away
If someone had told me this before leaving university, it would’ve saved many tears of frustration and constantly putting myself down. The reality of the situation is that not everyone leaves uni and goes straight into a job, especially one in their specialist field. Sometimes they decide to stay at their part-time job a bit longer, to relieve some pressure and ensure they still have an income. Or they might take a few months off to go travelling.
Both Jess and I found the process of finding our first full-time jobs really challenging and emotionally draining. The unrealistic expectations we’d set for ourselves meant that the reality left us feeling unworthy and disappointed. It was very discouraging, especially as we’d spent the last 3 years working out butts off to get good qualifications; and building what we thought would be valuable work experience that could impress any employer. The job market is unbelievably tough nowadays, so just be patients and be a little kinder to yourself.
Don’t settle for the first job you’re offered if you know it’s a bad fit
The next piece of advice I think every student should know before graduation is to keep their options open where possible. The first job I was offered after graduation was in a residential children’s home. Commuting there for each shift took me roughly 2 hours door-to-door, and each shift was 48-hours long, sometimes more. Despite knowing the inevitable struggle of this role, and the toll it would likely take on me mentally and physically, I accepted the job.
This was one of those occasions where I really should’ve trusted my instinct. But hey, you live you learn right? Likewise, you can’t be too picky about jobs either. Remember that everybody starts somewhere, and when you’re fresh out of school/university, it’s usually the bottom.
It’s normal to move back home with your parents after uni
It seems that a lot of students feel they’re taking a step backwards or letting themselves/their family down by moving home after university. If I’m honest I’d say it’s actually the opposite. Leaving university is a major transition, and often people need the support from their friends and family to adjust.
Most of my uni friends moved back home to their parents’ house after graduation because; firstly, it was a much better decision for them financially, seeing as most of them didn’t have full-time jobs yet. Secondly, it significantly reduced the pressure to find a job because they were around loved ones in a familiar setting; plus they knew that they wouldn’t be expected to pay rent until they were in a position to do so.
Believe me, it’s much more sensible to move back home for a while then it is to get yourself wrapped up in a rental contract that you can’t actually afford!
You have to put in the effort to maintain uni friendships
It’s unrealistic to think you’ll be able to stay in contact with everyone from university. But that’s not to say it’s impossible. I’ve only remained in touch with a few selective people from university and there’s nothing wrong with that.
When you make connections with people dotted around the country (and maybe even the world), you have to go to great lengths to maintain these relationships. That is, if you’re hoping to remain as close as you have been while at uni. It’s likely that you’ll grow out of certain friendships as you get older. That’s just a natural part of life.
It’s likely to be a bigger adjustment than you expect
You become accustomed to a particular routine and level of freedom when you’re living at uni with other students. But you often find that when you move home it can be difficult adjusting back to your pre-uni routine. You’ll undoubtfully put a lot of pressure on yourself; and find yourself struggling for answers when everyone’s continuously asking you: ‘so have you found a job yet?’ I hated this question.
Despite their intentions being good, I would feel like such a failure and that I wasn’t meeting the expectations of those people, or myself. Students get surprisingly comfortable having the safety blanket that comes with being a student; like support services and being surrounded by loads of individuals going through exactly the same thing.
Everyone has a different journey
Last on my list of things that every student should know before graduation is a bit of a cliché. But I had to add it in because it’s still very important!
Don’t compare yourself and your journey to your fellow graduates, it’s unproductive and will do more harm than good. I know people who came out of university with a job already lined up; and others who were unemployed for several months. Life would be so BORING if everyone had exactly the same experiences. All you can do is try your best and trust your instincts. Things will fall into place.
I hope this post has been useful to anyone who is coming up to their graduation. It’s such an exciting time, so don’t let your potential fear for the future get in the way of the celebrations. I just wanted to share a few things from my own experience that I think every student should know before graduation.
If you’re unsure on how to write a CV, then this is the post for you: https://www.emgoingplaces.com/2020/08/how-to-write-a-cv-helpful-tips-everyone-should-know/