If you’ve followed my blog or any of my social media for a while you will probably know that I have just finished university. After three years my time as an English student has come to an end. Graduating amidst a pandemic meant that end of university celebrations were rather lacklustre, to say the least. It’s bizarre to think that I have finished my degree when I feel as though I’ve barely even started university. Life after university has been different to how I imagined. Here are some things I’m slowly learning about life after university.
APPLYING FOR GRADUATE JOBS IS PAINFUL
Thankfully I still have my job at a cafe as a form of income but job hunting is hard. It’s so mentally draining spending hours filling in endless forms and applications to hear nothing back or yet another rejection. Often companies don’t provide any feedback so it can be hard to pinpoint where you’re going wrong too. I didn’t even think about applying for graduate schemes during my final year as I had no idea what I was going to do. However now I wish I had done as I missed every single deadline for schemes that I was interested in. It’s so frustrating putting in so much effort for little to no return. Applying for jobs is relentless, boring, but annoyingly essential when you graduate. I’m hoping that the right job or opportunity will come along eventually but until then I shall be passing the time at my cafe.
IT’S LONELY AND BORING
While two-thirds of my university experience was tarnished by COVID, the ending of my university years has left me feeling bored and a little lonely. It’s very easy to think that everyone else has their life sorted post-graduating but this isn’t the case for everyone. LinkedIn is both a blessing and a curse. While it can be useful for networking and finding jobs, it also contains post after post of people’s successes. People should absolutely be sharing their success and sharing their wins. However, at the same time, it’s disheartening to see so many people progressing while I feel stuck.
I live pretty out in the sticks so adjusting to life back at home without the ease of being able to walk to a town or to see friends is pretty isolating. COVID has put a halt to a lot of plans and an end to some relationships and friendships so I’ve found my life revolving solely around working, eating, applying for jobs, and sleeping. I miss spontaneity, excitement, and adventure with people. Facebook groups like the Bamby Collective, Gals who Graduate, and Truly Twenties have been great for trying to make new connections or to talk to other people feeling the same way.
LIFE AFTER UNIVERSITY IS UNCERTAIN
The number of times I’ve been asked “what are you going to do now you’ve graduated?” is too many to count. Life after university is uncertain. There is no perfect next step once you graduate and it’s hard to know what to do next. Social media has instilled in us the idea that everyone else is succeeding while you may feel like you’re falling behind. This is definitely something I’ve felt much more since graduating. There is a huge level of uncertainty and anxiety following finishing your degree. Stepping into the real world and trying to discover what to do for the rest of your life is daunting.
There’s a big upheaval when you leave university. Everything that you’ve adapted to and learnt about changes once again. Moving back home, not being as independent, navigating long-distance friendships, re-establishing yourself back at home, and job hunting are just a handful of changes that are thrown your way once you graduate. I’m hoping that one day things will click into place and slowly become a bit more certain. However, for now, I’m living with the uncertainty that coincides with life after university.
I FEEL OLD
It doesn’t feel like that long ago that I had my 21st birthday and now I have a month till my 22nd! It is crazy to think that I finished school 3 years ago and am very much on my way to being a fully functioning adult. I don’t feel ready to step into the real world at all. I’ve always been a lover of my birthday (as most people know) and while it’s exciting, it’s also scary! It really doesn’t feel like nearly 4 years since I turned 18 and that 3 years have passed since I started my degree. There is really no putting off of the big wide world and now I’m nearly 22 it’s time to dive head-on into it.
LIFE AFTER UNIVERSITY IS…
A bit of a whirlwind of emotions. It’s so nice to finally graduate and have my degree after working so hard for it. But it’s not without its challenges and anxieties. Graduating during a pandemic is unique and comes with its own distinctive obstacles. While I am excited to see what the future will bring, it’s daunting, nerve-wracking, and uncertain. I’m trying not to compare my journey to others and take everything at my own pace. Having faith that it will all work out okay in the end is something I’m holding onto as life after university can be a bit of mess!