From me to you: A post-grad’s advice for students about to graduate

13 Jul 2021
By Hazel M., Freelance writer, journalist and total bookworm at Unite Students

Is the idea of life after graduation making you feel a bit nervous? Here’s Hazel’s advice on how to navigate those first few months as a post-grad.

Leaving university isn’t easy; trust me, I’ve been there. From saying goodbye to friends (who have basically become family) to looking for a full-time job, you’ll be forgiven if you’d rather stay in your student bubble forever.

After all, it is, essentially, a whole new start. Whether it’s the first time you’ll have ever worked a serious job, or you’re moving back in with your parents, things are about to change.

So, with that in mind, I’ve highlighted some things you can expect (based on my own experiences) and some ways on how to deal with them.

Dealing with the post-uni blues

When I graduated, I really did come back down to earth with a bump. After three years of support from my parents, university and friends, it was strange to think that there was no particular direction I was being guided into for once.

With my friends scattered around the country, a move back home and a mountain of job applications (and rejections) piling up, I quickly spiralled into something like depression.

There was no easy way out of this, and, for a long time, I kept referring to university as ‘the best time of my life’. Honestly? I truly thought it was, and it’s still a time I keep close to my heart even now.

But I had no idea what was to come. I didn’t know that I would get my first journalism job opportunity within a few months of graduating, and I genuinely worried I would end up living with my parents forever (I didn’t).

My advice is to give yourself time to reflect after uni. There’s no shame in feeling sad about leaving that part of your life behind and it will take time to come to terms with it. However, you do need to remember that good things are going to happen, so you need to keep pushing forward.

You won’t get the first job you go for

It can be really easy to get excited about the jobs you see out there, especially if it’s your first time really looking for one.

Don’t get too ahead of yourself, though; there may be literally hundreds of applicants for just one role, so, if you don’t hear back, don’t get hung up on it.

There were days when I spent hours applying for every job I came across – as long as it had something to do with journalism, I was going for it. I had some replies, but, more often than not, I didn’t even get a thank you for my application.

It could be pretty disheartening, especially when you end up spending a lot of time of one application. But I kept pushing on and, eventually, I got my first interview.

So, the key here is to not give up. It won’t always be easy (or maybe it will, who knows?), but you will eventually get what you want if you keep trying.

In the meantime, keep looking out for work experience or part-time jobs that can help you build your CV as much as possible.

Talk to your parents

If you’re moving back in with your parents, it’s probably a good idea to talk about expectations.

One of the hardest things I found was going from having all the freedom in the world… to someone texting me and asking why I didn’t make it home for dinner.

Set the ground rules early; there’s no reason to be disrespectful to your parents, but you may need to make it clear that things won’t be the same as they were before you left.

Another part of this was that, once I did get a job, my parents asked me to buy my own food and pay rent. This was totally understandable because, at the end of the day, I’d technically been doing that for the last three years and I was an adult now anyway. What wasn’t cool? My brother stealing said food before I got a chance to eat it.

By putting boundaries in place from the start, everyone will know what to expect and how to cope with the change.

For more tips on student living, careers and wellbeing, head over to the Common Room right here.

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When not stringing words together, can usually be found on the local beach with her cocker spaniel pup, Huey.