Dealing with Change as a New Graduate
Starting university can mean moving to a completely new town; perhaps living alone for the first time, meeting new friends and adapting to a new way of learning. It may be the biggest change you have experienced in your life. But after you have completed your degree, there is another huge change. This time, likely with less support and what may seem like even bigger decisions.
Going from spending your final year at university where you are given strict deadlines and you probably spent the majority of your time in the library, to then having to make all of your own decisions and manage your own time, can be very challenging. Your own confusion, topped with everyone seeming to want to know what you are going to do next, can be overwhelming.
We spoke to Ross Tuffee, founder of Dogfi.sh Mobile (now Vidatec), who gave us his top tips for dealing with change.
Ross says “there’s a level of planning needed but you don’t have to over-plan”. Although you should consider your next steps after graduating, you do not need to plan the next few years of your life. Having a goal can help you to work out what you need to do to move forward.
Ross believes “asking questions and finding out stuff” can really help when dealing with change. He suggests “talking to people who graduated the year before. They have been through that same experience”. Although this may seem scary, you may feel much better about your situation and how to deal with the changes when you have spoken to someone who has gone through the same thing. He advises “ask the open questions then you’ll get broader answers”. So instead of getting yes or no responses, you start a conversation. For example, ‘what would be your recommendations for someone like me, looking to get into the design industry?’
Before leaving university, you may have expected to walk into a job and know exactly what you want to do. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Ross believes “it can feel painful and very daunting to step out of an environment where you have had a level of support and guidance, into doing something where you are totally and utterly on your own”. Taking on the responsibility for all of your decisions can feel like a lot of pressure. Ross suggests “don’t procrastinate. Make a decision. If you make a decision, it opens up other decisions”. “It may not be the right decision. That’s not a problem”. It’s perfectly OK to change your mind and your career path. As Ross states, “change is constant” and that you’ll find yourself “testing, re-evaluating and moving”. Career development is an on-going process. It takes twists and turns, so don’t worry if your first job isn’t what you thought it would be.
Everyone deals with change in their own way. Although you can take advice from others, it is important not to compare yourself to other people. You may decide to move back home for a well-deserved break, or to travel the world, or to apply for as many jobs as you can. Taking time to reflect on how far you have come and to acknowledge where you are, will help you decide where you want to be. Finally, “opportunities are out there to go and get” so go and take them!
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