I graduate in four months & I'm having a wobble
You've asked 'So, now what?' before, but this is real - and it's scary. Let's help you get some perspective.
If you're in your final year at uni and you're not feeling some sort of trepidation about entering the 'real world' of work and being a 'proper grown up'... you're lucky.
However, for most people, it can seem so nerve-wracking to take the next step into the adult world.
First of all, it's natural to feel anxious -
All sorts of thoughts and questions will be running through your head.
1. "I've been in education since I was 5, I'm now in my early 20's I have no real idea what's beyond?"
2. "Am I really going to be expected to do a 9-to-5 for the rest of my life
3. "I've made some job applications but had no positive feedback so far?"
4. "Maybe my degree subject is irrelevant to finding a graduate job?"
5. "I've had three fun independent years; I don't want to go back home."
6. "I'm not ready to be a grown-up, I want to be a semi-responsible teenager forever."
7. "I'm in debt...how am I supposed to rent or buy a house?"
8. "I know everyone else will be successful and leave me behind."
Thoughts like these can snowball and spiral out of control.
Don't let them. Maintain some perspective. Think in these terms instead...
"I've been in education since I was 5, I'm now in my early 20's I have no real idea what's beyond?"
What's beyond is adventure, independence, and the opportunity to forge your own path. Free of being told what to do or where to be. Free to pursue ideas you're interested in and values you care about. Millions have graduated before you and it’s worked out for them. If they can do it, so can you.
"Am I really going to be expected to do a 9-to-5 for the rest of my life?"
Not if you don't want to as there are so many flexible ways of working, especially since the pandemic, the working world has seen rapid change. However, a 9-to-5 isn't that bad provided you respect the people you work with, or you believe in the product or company you're a part of. A 9-to-5 profession isn't like the part-time jobs or internships you've had before. Generally, people listen, your ideas are valid, and you're rewarded.
"I've made some job applications but had no positive feedback so far?"
That happens. That happens to everyone. What's important is that you remain positive and keep applying and creating opportunities. Don't let rejection get to you. "Some will, some won't, who cares? What's next?"
"Maybe my degree subject is irrelevant for finding a graduate job?"
If that's true where are all the long-term unemployed people who studied Philosophy and Theology (BSc)? The reality is that for most people (except those specialists in highly skilled or technical vocations) your degree goes part way to helping you secure a job. What matters is your personality and willingness to learn, adapt, work in a team, and get things done. University gives you life skills beyond just your degree, the extra-curricular activities can go a long way in showing off your experience.
"I've had three fun independent years; I don't want to go back home."
Going home and leaving the university-style life will be an adjustment at first. However, it has never been easier to keep in touch with friends, no matter the distance, and going back to your home can be a good place to readjust to the end of university before taking the next step.
"I'm not ready to be a grown-up, I want to be a semi-responsible teenager forever."
We all feel like this, no matter how old we get. Nevertheless, there are many upsides to not being a teenager anymore and you can truly take control of your life, so go travelling, move to another country, or try new hobbies. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake stop you from taking on responsibility, you are bound to mess up as everyone does, but then you just try again.
"I'm in debt how am I supposed to rent or buy a house with a graduate salary?"
Don't get ahead of yourself, and don't waste time getting into a pickle about future fictional scenarios that you can't control now. It may feel like there are so many complicated terms when it comes to finances but take a deep breath and slow down, student debt doesn’t affect your credit score and is slowly paid off over time once you are earning over a certain amount. Give yourself a break now and let all that be a thought for the future once you are more settled.
"I know everyone else will be successful and leave me behind."
Remember, social media isn’t real. Focus on getting yourself in the best position you can, and don't judge yourself by your peers - I know that's tough. Things will take time so don’t let yourself feel the pressure of needing it all as soon as you graduate.
Finally, all you can really do is work the 'here and now', which means getting the best degree result you can, applying for as many jobs and having as much fun as you can.