Although my graduation ceremony wasn’t until November (last year), it was just over a year ago that I officially completed my degree and my three years away at University. University for me was a life changing experience: I learnt soo much, both academically and non-academically, I made some amazing friends, who I’m sure I’ll have for a very long time, and I grew as a person too. But although I have so many stories from my time in university, I thought that I would share what this last year has been like for me. The first year as a graduate – and whether it was what I expected and if I am where I thought I would be.
Answering simply I can tell you that the answer is no – It has not been as I expected and I’m not in the position that I hoped to be in, but I’ve come to learn that it’s ok.
In the last month or so of my time at university, I was constantly searching and applying for jobs – looking for the perfect graduate position for me. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted (and part of me still doesn’t) so I was applying for a range of things that interested me. By the time I had to move out of my accommodation, I still didn’t have a job, so it meant moving home. That was difficult for me, especially after seeing a lot of my close friends finding jobs and moving into places of their own.
A few months passed at home and I continued to daily apply for jobs. I had quite a few interviews – and with that rejections – which were difficult at times, but still nothing cam up. By the time September rolled around, and the “summer holidays” were over, I decided that I needed to find a job – whatever it was.
It wasn’t until November that I got a part time retail position close to where I live, and that is where I still am today. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the job – because I do – but it isn’t what I want to spend my life doing.
People also say that the year you graduate is one of the best opportunities to go travelling, and although this is something I wanted to do and would have loved, I haven’t done any travelling this year.
I think for me the most difficult parts of the last year have been moving home, lack of purpose/destination and the cycle of experience and rejections.
Moving home in itself isn’t the bad thing – I think it is just that fact that I have to go back to relying on my parents – I’ve lost some of my sense of freedom and independence. My house is also very crowded – with my sister and niece also having to move back in shortly after me, so there is not a lot of space to breathe or have “quiet time”.
Throughout school and further education I was always knowingly working towards something – towards doing well in exams, towards graduating – but since graduating, I have lost a bit of my sense of purpose. There feels like I have nothing to work towards, which I know isn’t true – because I have a career and a future to work towards – but with no obvious path, it’s difficult to comprehend.
There is also the cycle of receiving a rejection because you don’t have enough experience, then questioning how, if no-one will give you a chance, you are supposed to get the required experience. For me it seems to be a never ending cycle.
Even though I have a job, I have still regularly been searching and applying for things that are a more long term goal – a full time job (for starters) in a profession where I can use the knowledge I gained from my degree, and where I can do something different.
Also within the next month or so, I am hoping to find somewhere where I can gain some volunteer work experience. A professional environment where I can observe and get involved in the profession I would love a future in. It is probably something I should have done sooner – but I am hoping I will find somewhere I can manage around my current job, but still learn and gain the experience I need.
I realise that I may have ended up rambling here a bit, so I apologise for that, but I wanted to give you a bit of an insight into the last year and what’s going on in my life. I also realise that this is quite different to my recent posts, but I hope you liked it regardless.
I’d also love to hear other people’s thoughts on this, whether you are a recent university graduate or not.