It's Been 3 Years...


It's Been 3 Years...

…and you still have no idea what it is you want to do with your life. Before I started University I had some plans about where I wanted to go post-degree. First of all, the idea was to pursue journalism. Then it was to go into Marketing with freelance journalist work on the side. Now it is neither of those things. I do not know what kind of career I want to follow in four weeks time when I leave University, but I do know the kind of work I enjoy and am good at.

I know that I am not happy with a "desk job", working 9 til 5 sat in the same spot, 5 days a week, does not suit me and my personality. I like to be up and about, moving from one place to the next and meeting a variety of people on a day-to-day basis. That is why I enjoy working in a restaurant, and have followed that as a casual job for over 4 years. Therefore I've learnt that the classic 'office role' is something I do not want.

It is equally important to work out what it is you do not want, as much as it is to work out what you do want. This first summer of unsolicited freedom is often regarded as the best time to figure that out! I know the idea of many weeks of summer with no plans may initially seem liberating, but I talk from experience that it gets really boring, really quickly. So utilize your time! There is plenty to be done over the coming weeks where your future career is concerned. Here are a couple of potential options that might interest you.

1. Travel!

The most commonly clichéd route taken by fresh young graduates. And why is it common? Because it works. Employees love interviewing a graduate who has taken the time to fly across the globe and do a nice bit of soul-searching before coming back home to set some roots. Travelling allows you to broaden your horizons both literally and figuratively, and employers see that as a very attractive quality.

University life is without a doubt, a bubble. There are boundaries and rules and etiquette and expectations that do not apply to the real world; and by real world I do not just mean work life, but the actual world. The rest of it. The land beyond your back garden. Taking the time to go and find that out, might be the best step you ever take towards figuring out where it is (and what it is) you want to come back to when you get home.

2. Volunteer!

If there has ever been something you have found interesting over the years, but never had the time to follow up or look into, see if you can volunteer to do it. If you have a soft spot for animals, then volunteer at a local rescue centre. Sure, you might have just earned yourself a fantastic 2:1 in Mathematics, but if you want to cuddle some dogs, go and cuddle the dogs!

Your degree does not have to define you, or your future. The fact you have a degree at all, automatically awards you with a specific set of skills regardless of your degree subject! (Time Management anyone?) At the end of the day, if you have no passion for maths, but a burning desire to try something completely different, then you have to do it. Which will you regret more? The "I thought it was the right thing to do," or the "What if I had just…" (Hint: probably the former.)

I understand that this time is an unnerving one. I know because I'm living through it with you. Some of my friends are staying in York and others are moving home. Some have jobs lined up; some still don't know how to use a washing machine. Everybody is different and will have different feelings about entering this new phase of their life; whatever you do next, do not think that you are doing it wrong! Even if you think you are the only one taking this particular route, you are not. There are hundreds of us about to breach the big bad world this summer, and there are a whole lot of people rooting for us! Differentiate between what it is you do want and what it is you do not want, and the rest will fall into place.

(I hope…)

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