If you’re feeling a little lost, down, confused and stressed, then don’t worry; you’re not alone. Leaving university and entering ‘the real world’ is a huge transition. There is so much pressure on all of us these days and leaving uni can be the toughest time of all. However just because you have left the place you’ve called home for the last three years doesn’t mean it has to mark the end of your carefree years. Neither, does it mean that you have to go back home. I chose to drop out of my first year of university after finding it wasn’t for me: I have honestly never looked back.
Leaving uni, like many things, is a case of mind over matter. Here’s how to see this transition as the beginning of your life, rather than the end of it.
1: Enjoy being back home. There are so many perks of spending time at home such as; free accommodation, good food, the chance to spend a Friday night in watching tv rather than going out, take some time to relax at home with your family. See old friends, explore your hometown and ask for all the meals that you couldn’t be bothered to cook for yourself over the last few years
2: And then go somewhere new. The most depressing thing you could do after university is spend months at home worrying about your future. Make plans to flat-share with friends, rent a room, work abroad or just travel if you have the money. Getting away and regaining your independence will help motivate you so you can work out which direction your life is going next.
3: Travel. You’ve spent the last three years getting an education, now it’s time to get out there and learn about the world. Go with a friend or on your own and take advantage of the fact that you have no commitments. Why not book a one-way ticket? who knows how the places you go and the people you meet will shape the rest of your life.
4: Embellish your CV. So you’ve got your degree, now it’s time to make your cv stand out from the crowd. Get the basics covered like your driving licence, volunteer, learn a language or develop an obscure hobby. Maybe you’re not sure what you want to do now as a career. This is the time to try everything from personal training, law or journalism courses, photography classes, nutrition courses. How will you know what you’re good at unless you try it first?
5: Get fit. Even if you haven’t spent the last three years living off 45p super noodles, the months after uni are a great time to get yourself into optimum health and fitness. Join a gym or arrange activities with a friend. If you’re into cooking then why not look at some food blogs and set yourself tasks to cooking new healthy meals. If you’re one of those people that needs something to work towards, then why not sign up for a race which you have to train for?
6: Learn something. If you’ve been to uni you probably like learning (at least a little). Just because you’ve left doesn’t mean it has to mark the end of your education. Have a look online and see what short courses or evening classes are available. These could be art related, language, maths, even cooking. Your local sixth form colleges are great places to start looking.
7: Get a job. Work won’t just come to you, you’ve got to put yourself out there. Remember that you can always take a break after a while if you need to and you could always start a part-time or freelance role for greater flexibility.
8: Find a new place to call home. One of the biggest misconceptions is that you must have it all planned out before you move out and live somewhere new. As long as you have a little money behind you, pick a place that you fancy moving to and make it happen. The UK has so many amazing cities to offer besides London. Bristol, Manchester, Dublin, Cardiff, Belfast. You could even do a working holiday abroad. There’s plenty of opportunities for young graduates. Have a look online first for affordable rooms or flats to rent and then just go. Get a waitress/ shop assistant job to support yourself when you first get there and spend some time job searching for something more related to your dreams once you’re there.
9: Have fun. If you’re not enjoying life then really what is the point. Go out, meet friends, do crazy things. Party to your heart’s content, live, laugh love and don’t take life too seriously. If you’re unhappy with what you’re doing then do something else. If you’re bored, do something. Don’t be negative or surround yourself with negative people. Life is short and it’s there to be enjoyed. Don’t spend time thinking about what you could be doing. Just do it.
10: Don’t go backwards. There’s a motto that I stand by in life- Don’t go backwards. Sure, sometimes for practical reasons, that doesn’t always work out but you can always strive for growth.
This can be emotional. For example, don’t live in the past and don’t dwell on all the fun you’ve had. If you keep looking behind you, you’ll miss what lies ahead. Plan things for the future, wonder about what tomorrow looks like, rather than reliving the day before. Don’t go back to old jobs because it’s easy, or visit old places, restaurants, clubs, because you find insecurity in the unknown. Don’t hang out with people that aren’t making you happy anymore. Find new people. Channel that fear and embrace new experiences. You never know what new part of yourself you’ll find along the way.