Graduated: Keep Calm and Carry On

Sometimes you find out what you are supposed to be doing by doing the things you are not supposed to do.

Since childhood, we are told what to wear, what to eat and what to do. But why is it that as soon as you reach your graduation date, the pressure is on you. There is this constant and automatic pressure that we should have it all together by now. All these questions we get from our peers and family, about our plans, are you doing an internship or graduate scheme or going on straight into employment? I even get asked this question by taxi drivers!

There is a pressure on us to pass GCSEs, pass A-levels and get into Uni first. Once we get to University, we are under a constant burden to pass each year and get a degree. The pressure from others can continue on from getting a degree to getting a good job, getting married, getting a house on a mortgage so we can have kids and have friends over the weekend on our little time off work. The truth is; the majority of us don’t have a clue what we want to do, we just don’t know and that is okay. You have probably found out by now that the graduate market can be quite unfair and employers ask for a lot of experience or skills that you might not have. But that is okay, you still have time to figure out or gain what you want or need.

There no life guidebook on how to be an adult and deal with responsibilities because life just hits you in the face. Do they really prepare us for primary school, high school, college and then to university to now for this moment? This is where we are meant to have it all together? It’s not like we do not know how to be independent and how to live on a budget, because oh trust me Uni life has taught us that very well, but it is that thought of us knowing what we are meant to do. We do not need someone to hold our hand, but the truth is, we are on our own. It is a daunting thought that you might not know what you want exactly or how to get there and only time will tell but that is okay. There is no need to participate in this graduate marathon to see who gets there first.

For years I knew what I wanted to do in my life and I love my course at university, but now all of a sudden I am not sure of anything anymore. But that is okay because why should we have to follow and be like everyone else? By that, I don’t mean just be lazy and not making a living and Netflix and binge every day. You should not have to go straight into a graduate job and then feel that this is your life for the next god knows how many years. Personally, the thought of 9-5 office job daunts me, not because I am afraid of hard work, but because I know that is not what I want in life at all for the time being.

It is time to put yourself first now and figure out what you want. Here are few things to take into consideration:

Comparison is the thief of joy

The most damaging thing you can do to yourself is to compare yourself to those who have secured a job already. Your skills and talents should never be compared because we were not made to be like everybody else. We are made to be unique and not perfect. Comparing can often result in you resenting yourself and others and will only distract you from your true value. Instead, concentrate on what you have achieved so far and take pride in what you have done and achieved and be grateful.

Travel

There is a lot of time that you can use to immerse yourself in another country if travelling is your passion. Figure out which places you want to visit and for how long, something you have been dying to try out but never did. It’s vital to know how you will finance yourself, maybe work any job until you have met your target figure. Alternatively, you can always work casual jobs abroad to finance yourself. The best thing about travelling is that these new beautiful unknown places will really help you to listen to your own thoughts and dreams and most importantly you are there just to entrain you and you only. Think about it, no drama, meeting new people, different food and culture. Travelling can help you tackle things you have never done or have been too afraid to try.

Volunteer

One of the best things one can do is to help another without expecting anything back. Volunteering is a very rewarding role as you are making an impact on someone’s life, you are bringing the community together and restoring faith in humanity. This is also a great opportunity to build up your work experience for what you want to do in future or help you figure out what you might want to do in the future. So if you were lacking experience in the field you want to go in, this is a great way to start, all you have to do is do some research and make phone calls for someone to take you in. There are also plenty of charities in need of volunteers to help them out. It is always a good idea to ask your local food bank, homeless shelter, hospice fundraising or even the citizen’s advice bureau. In return, you will learn a lot about yourself, your community, meet new people and gain new skills.

It is okay to be selfish sometimes

From time to time, sometimes we do not realise it but we do end up putting our own needs at the back of our minds. Maybe because we are too busy trying to learn to “be real” and preparing ourselves for life, that we end up mimicking adults in order to be an adult. But maybe now is the time to start honouring your own needs. This doesn’t necessarily mean don’t help others in need and be completely egotistic, but to put yourself first. Learn to say no and do not feel obliged to go for a coffee, dinner, attend a party and just unplug and take time out for yourself.

It is important to remind yourself that a degree is just a small chapter which is there to open your mind to new possibilities of life to us. And I am in no way suggesting just be lazy or not to have a plan or any goals or ambitions. This is just a phase in life and it might take weeks or months but eventually, you will get through this and hopefully figure out what you want to do in the upcoming future. You are not alone in this and it is certainly not the end of the road but a new beginning.

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