Graduating: The Career vs. Relationship Talk

For all you final year students out there, applying for grad schemes is probably at the top of your ‘to-do’ list right now. Not to add to the anxieties, but recently I’ve found myself contemplating the complexities of balancing my ambitions for my career and my love-life. Grad schemes/internships and jobs can put you in different places for the duration of your time as a trainee, and this may force your relationship to become a long-distance one.

Keep up relationships outside of your relationship

If your partner’s not there with you 24/7, it’s common to feel alone when you embark on your new career path. So my first piece of advice is to socialise. Create a group around you who work with or near you, so you don’t feel so miserable in your loneliness. In the end we all sleep alone, but during the day we don’t have to close ourselves off. The emotional support that you build from the relationships you build around you will help you to thrive in your career. People who understand your ambitions, your motivations and your career changes are the people you need to keep close to you, and they’re the relationships that matter.

New relationships are just as important as old ones, so make time for both. Balance it out – not on a 50/50 time scale but based on the quality of time you spend with them. If you haven’t seen your partner in a while, be there fully to appreciate the time you have together. If you’ve spent a night bonding with your new workmates and feel like you need some time to yourself for the rest of the week, then do so.

Look into commuting

Making choices as an adult is hard. It takes time and communication to figure things out with your partner and yourself. If you’re in a relationship, it’s inevitable that you will be miserable without your partner physically next to you every day after you graduate. If you’re lucky enough to go to the same university, or even do the same course, it’ll be a dramatic change from seeing each other every day to only being able to call in the evenings, if you’re not too exhausted. To make this less stressful, when you’re looking for a job/grad scheme look at the possibilities of commuting – how easy is it to stay in one place and spend weekends at another? Or to stay with your partner and commute to work?

Communicate your priorities

It’s essential to think and talk about your priorities for life after university. How are you going to achieve your goals and where does your partner fit into these goals? Where do you want to be in 10 years? Is this relationship one that you want to be in in 10 years’ time? I hate planning and thinking about The Future – it’s daunting and unpredictable. But having a plan that you and your partner can work towards is essential to create stepping stones. Young women are often more adaptive than men, but you don’t always have to follow your man. Stand your ground and carve out your priorities too.

Final words

Both a career and a relationship take time to develop. It takes trial and error. Life is long, and life is short. It’s okay to take chances and to make mistakes. Hopefully this article will show you that the first mistake would be thinking that a career and a relationship will constantly clash with one another. Find a balance and work with it.

Edited By Isabelle Walker