Leaving university can feel like the biggest anti-climax since the 2018 world cup. I can safely say for me and a lot of my friends the fear of the unknown was the most daunting factor. Every year up until now your structured routine has been planned out for you by the UK education system, and now the fate of your success is in your hands! That rare feeling of “anything could happen!” enthusiasm, inspiration and freedom that university gave us, can feel impossible to replace. The best three years of your life has now finished and you’re wishing time machines existed so you can rewind back to freshers.
As exciting as the Uni experience is for some of us (not all of us), you’ve made life- long friends and probably life-long liver damage. The la la land that is University had to sadly come to an end at some point, right?
What I’ve gathered since being a graduate is that there’s three options when you leave uni. 1. Can’t quite let go? Want another £9000 worth of debt? Do a masters! 2. In the words of Dolly Parton.. working 9-5! 3. Go travelling because you’ve got the rest of your life to get a job and you’re still a baba.
Post Grad Blues
With whatever direction you chose, the process after leaving university I feel hasn’t been touched on enough. You’ve heard of post-natal depression. Well, there is actually a term used for graduates called ‘post-graduate depression’, for arguments sake let’s call it ‘post-graduate blues’. Of course, being at university is an incredibly mentally challenging experience and is a subject that should be talked about even more than it is. But there are few studies that have been conducted on graduate’s mental health after university.
25% of students will suffer depression during university. A study conducted by Student Minds alongside City Mental Health Alliance, found that almost half of recent graduates believed their mental wellbeing had considerably declined since leaving university. 40% described themselves as feeling ‘socially isolated’ and 44% believed their friends were more successful than they were.
All your achievements that you have attained, suddenly has become very bitter-sweet. This can be spurred on by numerous factors. I personally found when I left university, when on the hunt for a 9-5er, even though I had a piece of paper telling me you’ve done amazing, why was I having such a struggle with trying to find a job that isn’t selling mobility scooters in the middle of town? If you’re one of the lucky ones that got into medical school, you’ve basically got a job waiting for you when you leave university, but if you don’t have a specialised degree as such, it can be very difficult to find a job after university.
Surely, the three years at university, £51,000 worth of debt, and numerous all-nighters in the library means I could get a job that would at least give me a bit of stability?
I’ll conclude by giving advise that a careers adviser most likely won’t give you.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others, and obviously social media does not help with this, just because people are posting about their flashy new life-this doesn’t mean they are actually happy! People that have been able to get a job at well-known brands in London, Manchester etc! We all move at our own pace and comparing yourself to others will only holt your chances of succeeding!
2. Don’t panic if you don’t have a plan for the future, nothing goes to plan! Gear your future in the right direction by doing something you enjoy (that preferably will make your bank account happy) and go from there!
3. Happiness comes first! When applying for jobs, honestly going through an agency helped me find a job that was suited to me as much as I was suited to them. This is a concept I didn’t think of before going to an agency as I had the mentality that I’ll just go for whatever job I get offered. But,in reality, most of your time is spent at that job so if it doesn’t fit to your personality then you and that job will have a short- lived relationship, and this cycle will continue. Sites like Indeed are great for part-time jobs, but going to an agency helps ensure that you will be 100% happy in that role.
Nevertheless, it’s safe to say making that scary decision in 2016 to move from Nottingham to Leeds, was genuinely the best decision I have ever made- three years on and I am a fully-fledged Yorkshire cup of Tetley!
Written by Sophia Ghahramani