On July 21st 2016 I graduated. I have an Upper Second Class degree in English Literature from Kingston University. It feels like so long ago that I put on that cap and gown, shook someone’s hand and became a graduate after 3 years of hard work. Then that was that it was done and I was launched into the ‘real world’. So, here I am a year later and reflecting on what it’s been like to be a graduate. It’s been a very weird year and after uni a pretty big come down I think. I’ve written about post uni depression but I’ve also had some great times. So, here’s 10 things I’ve realised in the past year.
It’s ok if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Everyone seems like they’ve got it together with Master’s degrees or travelling or jobs in the city. I had a job but still felt like I was drowning. I had no idea what I was doing. This wasn’t an essay I could logically put together and get a first on, this was real life. One year later and I’m only just working out what I really want to do because I’ve had experience! Just try things out, don’t feel like you need to know everything as soon as you have that bit of paper.
Most people don’t care what grade you got.
I was embarrassed, that’s right embarrassed when I told people I got a 2:1. I’d always slip in I was only 3% off of a First Class because I’m a perfectionist. Admitting I got a 2:1 meant I wasn’t perfect. The thing is, I’ve never been asked what grade I got, not once. The fact I got a degree was enough for all of my jobs. Some will want specific grades, but from most of my friends, they haven’t been asked either!
£2.50 double vodkas were a blessing.
I wasn’t a big drinker at uni, I didn’t go out all the time. That said, when I go out now I hate paying normal prices for drinks, almost £5 for a double vodka? Blergh.
Sometimes friendships aren’t meant to last forever.
I’m a firm believer that some people are meant to be in your life and leave. I had some friends in uni and we had great times before we drifted apart or the friendship broke down. I’m forever grateful for the memories though.
Life is going to change.
People move, get jobs, some get married, others will have children soon. Life is changing and going so fast and sometimes it is a little overwhelming and that’s ok. Take a moment and just appreciate the small things.
Sometimes you’re going to wonder if it was all worth it.
Getting a job, or a job that you’re passionate about after graduating is hard. It’s taken me a whole year to work out what I enjoy in a working environment. There’ll be late nights and possibly some jobs you don’t enjoy where you think, should I have just gone out to work? My hardest part was when I saw people buying their first homes after working since 16 and I know I’m nowhere near a deposit.
The only person judging you is yourself.
I got so worried about how other people would judge the degree I did, my grades, the fact Ali and I lived with the family. Really, the only person judging you is you. People know that taking your first steps is hard! Don’t beat yourself up!
It’s ok to ask for help.
I didn’t want to ask for help and there were times when I needed to. When I just felt nervous or worried or wanted reassurance.
You still have so much time!
You know when you’re young you have this plan? I want to be married by this time, kids by that time etc, etc. Let it go. You have so much time to do what you want to do. Take a breath and do what feels right for you!
Taking time for yourself is important.
It’s natural to want to do your best in a job, to want to see old friends, make new ones. That said, taking a bit of time for yourself is really important, I’ve talked about my top tips for self-care before, you’ll feel much better.
It’s ok to miss uni!
It was, for most of us, full of great times! Of course you’re going to miss it! That said, there are still good times to come.
Make time to see your uni friends.
My friend Joe and I try to see each other once a month, because he’s still one of my best friends!
Everyone’s Grad journey is different
It doesn’t matter if you go stright into work or travel or study! Everyone is different and so are their lives! There’s no ‘right way’ to be a graduate! Don’t feel pressured to do certain things.
It was the best time of your life…so far!
I had some times where I worried if this was it? Was I ever going to feel the way I did at uni? I had some low periods, BUT I realised that uni was only the beginning of my independence. There is so much more in life I have to look forward to and now I’m happier I’m looking forward to every exciting thing that’s going to happen!
You did something pretty amazing.
You got a degree, that’s awesome. Go you!
What did you learn after graduating? Let me know in the comments below!