It’s been three years, countless nights out, too many all-nighters, and an endless barrage of essays and exams. But here you are, staring at your timetable and realizing that graduation is just around the corner and you suddenly realize that you might not be mentally prepared for what comes next.
There are a lot of directions you can go post-university, and while not all of them are glamorous, they are all valid options for navigating life as a legitimate adult (with a degree and everything).
For the undergraduates out there, going for a Masters is a great option if you are so inclined to spend more time in University. For Masters students, you may want to consider going for your PhD. If your time at university revealed a passion for academia and a thirst for knowledge, this may be the best option for you. However, this requires some self-reflection: what are your employment goals? Do you need a post-graduate degree to reach those goals? If so, go for it. If not, you may want to keep reading, especially since the postgraduate options are harder to fund through loans.
So further education isn’t your thing just yet, so you’ve spent your university years gaining work experience and you’ve now polished your CV and updated your LinkedIn profile. This is the part where you apply to your dream job, whizz through the interviews, and start making £50,000. Except, that probably won’t happen. At least not right away.
Most likely, you’ll end up moving back in with your parents, applying to every job you even mildly qualify for, rarely get called for interviews, and end up working in retail anyway. At first. The key is that this is a normal experience and that you aren’t a failure for it. Keep going, you’ll get a job in your industry eventually. You might even end up changing jobs within the industry a lot once you do get in, and that’s okay too.
Gap year (2.0?)
Maybe you took a gap year before university, maybe you didn’t. Regardless, you are perfectly able to take one now. Whether you spend this time travelling or volunteering, it’s a great time to focus on your own personal growth. Going back-packing can show maturity and self-assuredness, which employers love, so a gap year done right can be a great addition to your CV.
Graduation should be a time for celebration and to look forward to your future. You may not have it all figured out just yet, but you’re young, qualified, and degrees don’t expire. Take your time and find the path that works best for you and will allow you to enjoy your life in 20 years time. There’s no rush to get that 9-to-5 job, so enjoy the process and know that you’re not alone; guaranteed, almost every single one of your course mates will be in the same boat. So whether you land a job right away, go travelling, keep studying, or none of the above – the world is your oyster, as they say, so make the best of it.