Life after the Ceremony
Life changes as quickly as the university references styles. Just as soon as you’ve managed to get the hang of it – BAM! – it changes again. Three years flash by and before you even realise it you’re donning the motar and robes. You say your thanks and accept all the well-earned congratulations. Honestly – it was the best day of my life so far. But there’s but. After three months jobless, penniless and so bored – I have a serious case of the postgradblues.
Month One: The Incessant Job Hunt
Once you’ve graduated the pressure really is on to find a job and I know others will agree with me when I say that life after the ceremony is very overwhelming. No matter what people say or however much you push yourself, there really is only so much job hunting one person can do – I don’t care what degree you have, whether it’s English like myself or a top physics degree – you will start spelling your name wrong, adding or subtracting years to your life and miss-clicking ‘country you live in: Ukraine’. My point is, it’s okay to take a break from the job hunt. I don’t mean a few hours here and there while you put the kettle on and watch daytime T.V, I mean a few days – a week even. Give yourself space to breathe and remove yourself from the pressure, you have plenty of time.
Month Two: The Luxury of Spare Time
Someone once said to me, ‘enjoy the time while you’ve still got it – once you’ve got your ideal job, you’ve got it for life.’ Not to put too fine a point on it, but now is probably to only point in your life, prior to your retirement, where you have spare time – so spend it on yourself.
Read – for the first time in years you don’t have a reading list! Indulge your imagination and discover the authors you want to read.
Exercise – we’ve all said those words ‘I need to exercise more’ – now’s the time. Whilst you’ve fewer commitments you can really get involved, plus it helps keep stress at bay.
Volunteer – you don’t get paid, but boy does it payoff in experience! You’re a graduate, so use that skill set to get your own way. Volunteering your skills you’ve gained from your degree means you can pretty much choose the job you want to do, the hours you want to work and who you want to work for. It’s a great way to meet new people, try new things and get involved in your community.
Month Three: Learning to be your own best friend
One of the biggest challenges I’ve found since graduating is loneliness, something I wasn’t expecting. Being a workaholic who has to do something – anything! – with her spare time, it was major shock to the system when I was faced with weeks that turned into months of empty days. Like many grads I had to move back home, away from friends, an enjoyable part-time job and the whole student atmosphere. At uni you’re never alone, it’s a bombardment of social activities and lecture theatres – even the library had a subdued buzz of socialization. Now, away from all that, my life is categorically quieter. So, really take the time to focus on yourself as a person. Rediscover hobbies you had to abandon because studying took over. Spend more time with family – you’ve been away for a long time. Reconnect with old friends who took a different path to you.
Three months on and I am still searching for my perfect job. That time will come eventually, in the meantime I have a whole list of things I want to achieve – make your own list, it can be something as simple as starting a new hobby to preparing for postgraduate study. Just remember, you have a degree – no matter how many job rejections you have to face, no one can take away what you’ve already achieved.