We’re in that tough, transitional period at the end of exams no student really looks forward to. At the start of these famous three years it feels like you’re never going to reach this point, and then BANG! Suddenly you’re here. You did it! It’s a massive, gigantic achievement… so why do I feel so low?
The transition from ‘student’ to ‘graduate’ is sudden and often brutal. Bubbye loan. See ya later lovely shared house of freedom. Hello CV and forgetting to tell my parents where I am at night…
As the person who runs this blog, I’ve met a lot of Coventry University students, and a lot of you are super prepared for this time – you’ve done the placements, made some connections, revised your hearts out! But whether you’ve done all that or not, it’s still a terrifying question: “what am I going to do next?”.
It’s gunna be OK
I was in the university bubble for five years – so I can tell you I know how you feel. And unlike the incredible students I’ve met here – I was not one of the prepared ones. My course had no placement option and my time was taken up with working hard on essays, working hard in bars/restaurants to earn the cash to stay at uni, and playing pretty hard too. I felt totally unprepared for the working world.
But that was then and this is now, and unis (especially this one) are so much better at encouraging you to get the experience you need to nail that interview. So let me tell you, even if you’re like me circa six years ago and feel seriously under-qualified to take on the outside world, EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK!
You’ve got, or will get, the experience you need and you’ll land your dream job – sometimes it take a bit of time, sometimes it happens straight away.
It’s not a step back
If you’re moving home, the shift from free-spirit to adult-living-under-someone-else’s-roof can be a tough one. You might be feeling anxious about leaving your friends and fitting in with old ones, about living in a different place to your partner, or tension between you and parents or guardians.
Try to remember that this is a natural step in today’s job market and economy and think positively. Going home gives you a chance to reconnect with old buddies and family, and might even give you the financial freedom to clear that overdraft and stop living ‘like a student’. Wouldn’t that be nice! You’re not going backwards just because you’re going home.
Here’s what some of your classmates going through it had to say:
Anna Marsh, Midwifery:
Summer seems ages away in September. Yet before you know it you’re counting down the weeks until final deadlines, donning the marigolds to scrub your house before you leave and saying your goodbyes to the people you’ve only known for three years, yet feel like you’ve known a lifetime. The prospect of the end of uni is terrifying, there’s absolutely no denying. There’s job uncertainty, a financial all-time low and often waving goodbye to the freedom of eating Potnoodles in bed at 11AM because you’ve moved back home and Mum is back on your case.
Joking aside, that part of it is really quite scary and I can tell life is going to be different from what I’m used to now. But this is what we’ve been working for. 3 years (or more!) of hard work, deadlines and effort (and all the fun alongside it) to get to this point. To launch ourselves into the real world and seeing where on earth we’ll end up. It’s going to be a winding path, but it’ll be worth it in the end. It’s scary, but it’s actually so, so exciting.”
Lewis Brown, MA Communications Culture And Media:
When I was coming to the end of my third year, and facing the decision of what I wanted to do after I graduated, I was conflicted. Do I head off into the world try to find a career? Do I do go into postgraduate studies? Do I take a year out, relax and travel? There was always a fear that whatever I choose might be the wrong choice.
The thing is, in reality there is no wrong choice. At this point in life, I wasn’t 20 years into a career thinking of changing what I do, I still had time to try something new if I wanted, without throwing away anything. For me, returning to do my master’s was a great decision. Not only does it build on my undergrad degree, it gives me more time to think about my future. Also with the funding now available for this level of study it was too good an opportunity to pass up.”
Kyle Knappett, Journalism:
I’ve been at uni for 4 years now and it’s become my life. I’ve gotten used to the routine of lectures, having all my friends close by and a regular injection of cash from student finance. So saying goodbye to all of it is tough, especially as it means moving away from a life I’ve become quite comfortable in. Now I’ve got to look towards a future that doesn’t have a set path and that’s pretty scary, and exciting, but mainly the scary part… So, for now, I’m focusing on the present. Just making sure that I get all my goodbyes in and making sure to make plans for the summer. I’ll worry about the future when it happens…”
So… How do I actually deal with moving home?
It’s not always easy. Hopefully we’ve shown you that you’re not alone in feeling the way you do, and that all your feelings are valid. But if you need some tangible coping mechanisms here are 3 things to remember:
1. Be respectful and thoughtful.
Whoever’s house you’re living in after uni (unless you’re lucky enough to rent your own) remember that you’re not in student housing any more. If your parents insist on the washing up being done – that’s kind of their right. When you’re in their situation you’ll expect the same, so taking a few steps to understand their needs will make life easier, until one day you understand their ‘quirky’ habits!
2. Be proactive.
Get yourself on LinkedIn, get your CV written up, get some experience if you need to. Volunteering is a really positive way to bulk up your CV. LinkedIn is a great way to find people in the career you want for yourself – and you can see exactly how they got there by looking at their employment history and skills. Reach out to people and ask for advice or work experience, sometimes it takes a few gutsy moves to get the job of your dreams.
3. Re-connect with your old life.
Don’t hide yourself away because you’re not in the big city any more, or you’re afraid the friends you haven’t seen for a while won’t want to meet up. Any friends who don’t accept that it’s hard to get through uni and maintain the contact you had before you moved away aren’t worth re-connecting with. But you’ll probably find that everyone is feeling the same and those old relationships become stronger than ever.