4 things I wish I’d known when I left Uni…
The first year or so of life after uni can be a strange time. Let’s face it; the real world is a bit overwhelming… there’s a lot to think about! What do you want to do? Where do you want to live? What will you apply to? Do you continue to study? Do you travel?
Joining the team at Hello Grads has naturally made me think about the things I wish I’d known when I graduated… little boosts for those gloomy days, where your final year summer has come to an end and the reality of the ‘real world’ has crept up on you. ‘Reality’ can be like a big smack in the face if you’re not prepared. I certainly wasn’t! So, if I could turn back the clocks and give myself a helping hand, this is what I would say…
All your friends do NOT have their sh*t together
Post uni, talking to my friends about their job applications, interviews, internships, work experience, grad schemes, living situation (any plan really), would fill me with dread and (if I’m honest) sometimes jealousy. That feeling where your friend gets ‘the job of their dreams’ and you’ve got to be happy for them, but inside it feels like a dagger to the heart! L
I couldn’t help but feel like everyone really had their sh*t together. Well, with hindsight and a few more years behind me, I can confirm that this absolutely was NOT the case! Of course, you’re always going to have the odd few friends who absolutely nail it and line up a job to walk into straight after graduating, but in reality most of your friends will be in the same position as you. People don’t talk as much about the crappy interviews, or the 30 applications they did before getting a reply, so it’s natural to feel like you’re in a worse position than your friends. But, the likelihood is there will always be others that are feeling exactly the same as you. Which brings me onto…
A problem shared is a problem halved … we’ve all heard the saying… but actually, it really is easier to deal with how you’re feeling if you chat to your friends and family about it. Especially now, where we live in a world of ‘instant communication’, whatsapping, snapchatting, instagramming, facebook messaging… you name it, we use it… but strangely you can still feel pretty lonely!
Meeting up with friends and sharing the suffering, having a little moan, talking about how much your life sucks (joking), is always going to make you feel better, no matter what stage you’re at in life!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
To most of us, asking for help from others feels a bit uncomfortable. Probably because we think that person is going to find us annoying and we don’t want to bother them. Actually, it makes you more likeable. Professionally and personally, you should go ahead and ask!
Having spoken to numerous people in my professional life, it’s become very apparent to me that in a business situation most people will be flattered that you value their opinion. This ultimately gives them a chance to help you, whilst making them feel good about themselves and you. Win – Win! J
And on a personal level, if you are struggling with how you are feeling, don’t be afraid to seek help. I wish I had known that it’s very normal to feel anxious and stressed in such an uncertain period of your life. Most of us have those days when you feel a bit low, but if it’s becoming a regular thing it’s ok (and beneficial) to seek help from outside your friends and family. We’ve found a few resources that can help if you’re having a stressful time… find out more here.
The small things count
Getting up for work, lectures, exercise, feeding your dog… whatever it is you don’t always enjoy it, but when it’s not there you will notice! Having to figure out your ‘purpose’ in life is a concept that takes a bit of getting used to. So, make sure whilst you’re dealing with that change, you don’t lose the small things that make life feel normal and worth getting out of bed for…
- Create structure in your day
- Eat well
- Keep active
- Be sociable
- Drink sensibly (have fun with friends, but try to stay focused)
- Embrace an outlet: write, take photos – do something to help you relax
The truth is, finding your feet as a young professional isn’t always going to be an easy task. So tackle the challenges you face, one by one, in a productive and pragmatic way and most importantly try to enjoy it!
A couple of things I found useful:
Brave: 50 Everyday Acts of Courage to Thrive in Work, Love and Life
by Margie Warrell
What I learned from 100 days of rejection
Ted Talk by Jia Jiang
Read more about how to stay positive and motivated:
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