Those of you who’ve been following me for a while now will know that I didn’t graduate from uni. Never mind graduate, I didn’t go at all. For more on my career journey, read this post.
University isn’t for everyone. I’m a big advocate of that, obviously!
However, loads of my friends went to uni and loved it. The parties, the new friends, the learning too, I guess. And now most of them have graduated, and it’s time to navigate the scary adult world.
This isn’t my area of expertise, and it’s where my blog girls are going to help me out.
Welcome to uni Mondays: a mini series of blog posts coming out in September to help you get ready for life pre, post or during uni. Let me know what you think in a comment below or on instagram @wheresmollie, and if you like the content maybe we can extend it past September!
This post is from Robyn…
I remember the nerves and excitement during the lead up to graduation. It was more of a bittersweet feeling. University was some form of a security blanket for me and leaving behind the idea of comfort was both scary and nerve wrecking. When it comes to making the next big decision, it’s hard to say what’s around the corner from that.
Being honest, I was scared.
Up until university we are provided with a map containing guidelines that should lead to success. Pre school, primary, secondary, GCSEs, A-Levels, and then uni and/ or work. University isn’t for everyone, but for those of us who went, what’s next?
What happens when you get to the end of the map?
Let’s just say leaving university is a huge adjustment in every aspect of life. Everything changes. No more midweek partying, a lot less comfort, and endless planning to catch up with friends. But that doesn’t mean it is all bad, right?
Fast forward one whole year and after graduating from a four year medical degree I can say I’ve definitely learned a few life lessons.
Let’s have a good, open and honest chat about the few life lessons I’ve learned after graduating university.
1. Trust the process and enjoy the journey.
I’ve gone from feeling terrified of the unknown to just trusting that what happens next will bring me happiness, help me grow, and add to my life journey. I still have those days where I ponder, imagining what my life would be like if I had taken a different route. This is completely normal.
2. It’s difficult to stay in contact with university friends.
With new jobs, moving away and general life demands staying in contact with your uni friends is difficult. From new internships to night shifts and long distance it can absolutely put a strain on finding time for them, but just know that it will be okay.
Communication is key and booking them into your diary far in advance will stop the friendship from fizzling out. I 100% believe you make life-long friendships in college because let’s face it, they’ve probably seen you at your worst after a night out and still love you for it.
3. You’re going to make new friends.
With that being said, be open to making new friends too. You’re going to cross paths with new people who are on the same wavelength as you. As we grow older we begin to search for certain values and characteristics in people. University is where you learn just that. Believe me, you’ll find them in the most unexpected places. It’s also nice feeling when you have that feeling of openness when it comes to spending time with certain people.
But remember, it’s ok to have certain friends for certain periods in your life. You don’t have the mental space to keep in touch with everyone forever. Appreciate the people you have in your life now, for what they add to your life now. If people don’t add value to your life, maybe it’s time to realise that, even if you didn’t fall out, the friendship doesn’t have the same place anymore. I feel like university life required you to interact with people who weren’t always on your wavelength. Now the choice is yours. Be mindful and aware of the energy you let into your life.
4. You have to start working towards a new goal.
Just when you think you’ve gotten a grasp on the whole uni life thing, it finishes and you have to start again. For three to four years your goal was to get to the end of that assignment, pass that exam, and ultimately, graduate. Now you have to re-evaluate.
The beginning of something new is exciting and the idea of climbing towards a new goal is both exhilarating and motivating. The majority of graduates will either jump straight into a graduate programs, new jobs or start travelling. Either way, there are ladders to be climbed and new goals to be reached. Choose something you want to achieve, and do everything in your power to get there.
5. Don’t be worried if you start a career different from your degree.
Some people finish their degree in a subject that they love and continue to stay in that field for a really long time, if not forever.
But, let’s face it, there is a high percentage of graduates that end up working in a discipline different from their degree. Don’t think because you studied science that you absolutely have to work in the field of science. This is a time for you to venture into something new and start exploring your options. Just because your path may be a little different, it doesn’t mean you’re lost.
After graduating from Biomedical Science I decided that I wasn’t ready to commit to a full time career in science and it lead me to one of the best opportunities EVER.
Just remember – because you’ve ventured into a career that is unrelated to your degree doesn’t mean you won’t be as successful.
6. You will not regret taking time to figure out what you truly want in life.
Life at university can be stressful, full of deadlines, exams and dissertations. For so many years we’re in constant overload mode, so much that we forget to take a break.
There seems to be this prevailing idea that because we’ve graduated we MUST find a well paying job, straight away. This is not the case.
Enjoy graduate life by booking that dream trip to Thailand or pick up a new hobby. Press pause and just enjoy what you’ve achieved. Take this precious time to think about what you really want out of life. Write down what you enjoy and manifest it. Speak things into reality.
7. Get a hobby, and surround yourself with people who have similar passions.
Finding yourself in a 9-5 life can become mundane in regards to the people you spend time with. I find myself feeling a certain type of happiness and content whenever I surround myself with people who enjoy filming and travel. The best way to meet like-minded people is by putting yourself out there. Step outside your comfort zone and join different Facebook communities or take part in your local club. You’re allowed to have a life outside of work – work hard and play harder!
8. It’s time to be your own competitor.
Once you leave university, there’s no more competing for the highest grade in the class or the best lab report. You should divert that competition towards your own goals. Try not to fall into the trap of constant worry and fear that you won’t be as successful as your friend who just landed a job in their dream company. Work hard and your time will come. But don’t forget to acknowledge and show support the wins your friends achieve.
9. Turn mistakes into learning opportunities.
Having said the above, remember you can learn from your mistakes. In fact, see mistakes as ‘learning opportunities’. No one is perfect and the graduate world is a difficult place to be. If something goes wrong, take a step back, reassess, and do your best to make changes and not let the same happen again.
10. Have confidence in your own abilities.
You have spent years and years researching, writing and learning in your area of expertise. When applying for jobs be confident in yourself. Show your worth and no that you have plenty of experience and knowledge to bring to the table. Even if you go into a different field, transferable skills are so important, so focus on what you can do. Don’t shy away from opportunities due to mini insecurities. You are capable; remember that.
11. Chase a purpose not a career.
University professors and academics preach about careers, but what about your purpose? I think it’s everyone’s dream to wake up to a job that doesn’t really feel like a job.This is where you find your passion, combine it with your talent and create a financial opportunity from it. If you can ace this concept then working won’t ever be boring. And of course we have to remember that it’s never too late to turn direction and do a complete u-turn.
12. You still need to budget.
You’ve moved on from pot noodles and cheap wine but after university comes more rent, car loans etc. We’re working from the bottom up on the career chain so don’t expect to jump into the big bucks straight away. You still need to budget so that you don’t run our of money, but also so you can save for ‘adult’ things such as travel, mortgages, insurance and cars.
13. Invest, invest, invest.
Now I’m not particularly talking about money (although invest that too!). I’m talking about knowledge, skills and new hobbies. Learn to cook, read that book that’s been on your list for a year or begin building your network.
After a while, your brain will begin to miss the idea of being stimulated with new things and facts. Finding a new interest that you find enjoyable will be key to not getting board. Invest now and you’ll see the benefits in time to come.
Have you graduated from university?
What did you learn after you graduated? I’d love to know!
Love as always + happy adventuring,