It’s crazy to think that this time last year I had handed in my final assignments and dissertation and was finally free from University!
I can now honestly say that those were the most challenging, yet most rewarding four years of my life…I learnt so much! Literally! And I’m not just talking academically either…
I’m talking about finding who you are, learning things about the real world and what ‘adulting’ is really like…so I thought!! Following Graduation day, I thought I had it all figured out…I had (and still have!) a career job, I had and still do have a great network of friends around me and I was just overall looking forward to living the best version of my life.
Now, this isn’t to say that one year later I’m not living the best version of my life, but quite frankly it’s been a LOT harder than I had anticipated. University doesn’t always prepare you for the real world and sometimes you have to dive right in and figure it out for yourself.
By far though, ADULTING!!! has been the most stressful thing. Suddenly you no longer have the support of student loans or bursaries and now you find yourself working to pay your bills (or council tax now that you’re no longer exempt from paying tax because you’re not a student!!) and whatever you have left you realise you need to put aside for your weekly food shop!?
Honestly, I thought going from University into the real world was going to literally be a breeze, but one of the most important things I’ve learnt since being completely independent in every way, is that discipline is everything you need in this world.
Discipline will help you stay grounded, it stops you from going broke a week before pay day, and just as an all rounder discipline gives you the kind of kick you need to stay focused on your responsibilities. I know this might sound like a completely boring thing…but trust me, this is something I wish someone had told me prior to graduating from University!!!
Another thing I’ve learnt? University really isn’t for everyone. I know that’s probably not the best kind of advice to receive from someone who has a degree and who’s gone through it all, but my honest advice to anybody thinking about going to University, but has NO idea what course to take and you find that you are literally going to make ‘Mummy and Daddy proud’-don’t do it. It’s not worth the debt, the wasted time or even just the lack of momentum that a wasteful degree can cause.
I’m not saying that University isn’t an essential. I think that some of the most cultured, knowledgeable and most creative people I’ve met, I met whilst at University…but I also think it’s a journey not to be mistaken for a joy ride either!
So, some honest advice for those who are about to graduate or perhaps are considering going to University…
- Save that coin! Save as much money as you can whilst at University, or whilst prepping to go to University…the best thing I did whilst at University was save some money for when I graduated, but probably the worst thing is that I definitely didn’t save enough!
- If considering University-make sure you study a course which you will thoroughly enjoy and have an interest in. Don’t go to University to study law for the sake of ‘making people proud’ (as an example) but instead, follow whatever it is that you want to do!
- Keep in touch with people that make you happy-Whilst at University you will meet a lot of different characters; some good, some bad and some ugly. Make good choices and surround yourself with good people! Don’t lose touch with friends and family from home either…you’ll find that they will become the foundation for keeping you grounded a long the way!
- Networking is essential! Something I wish I did more of and definitely something I think would be a great investment overall. Get to know people on your course, outside of your course, through societies and even get to know those within the year(s) ahead of you! See what they’ve done both right and wrong along the way and learn from them!
- Probably one that everyone can relate to; don’t leave assignments to the last hour! Been there and done that! I’ve rushed 2,500 word essays and done way too many all-nighters in the library the evening before a 10:00 am deadline! It might be a part of the ‘University experience’ at some point or another, but don’t make it a habit!
- Finally and probably the most important one for me anyways! Remember that when you graduate, you deserve that success! You made it happen! Nobody can take that away from you…don’t slack because you see other people around you slacking and then cry when you don’t pass the year. Put all your focus on yourself and reap the rewards after! There was no greater feeling for me personally, than walking across the stage at my Graduation ceremony and being overwhelmed with joy and just wanting to scream, “I MADE IT!!”
Overall, life after University has really been an eye opener into what adulting is really all about. Most of all though, it’s been continuous development and discipline and further preparation for what will follow in the coming year!!
I’d love to hear what your University experience is/was like! Please feel free to share your thoughts and let me know how life after University has been like for you as well!