What happens when you graduate…? – OurWarwick

What happens when you graduate…?

If there’s one thing graduating has taught me, it’s that absolutely nothing can prepare you for being thrown into the adult world. Perhaps some people have it easier, but in my case, graduating was like being cut adrift from everything I knew and understood.

For three years, university was my life. I loved it, embraced it. So in the first month after I graduated (and even to the present), I was hit with the immense sadness that comes when you leave a thing that meant so much to you. There was nothing substantial to mark the end of my university experience. My graduation ceremony is postponed until at least next year because of the pandemic, and I couldn’t take the graduation trip that I wanted. I wasn’t even supposed to graduate this year; I was meant to take a year abroad, but a certain virus cancelled it. My plans were ruined, and the only thing that marked my graduation was a certificate in the post, so I don’t think it’s surprising that I’ve felt this inability to let go and move on…

Then comes trying to find a job.

Job hunting is difficult. Writing applications is exhausting, and feels endless when you receive rejection after rejection. Having to confront my feelings of inadequacy is emotionally taxing. I have to resist the temptation to compare myself to my friends who already have jobs, wondering what I’m doing wrong.

Yet at the same time I know I’m not unqualified. I have a degree from a great university, and a plethora of different experiences. The common consensus I’ve heard is that it can take hundreds of applications to get a job, so I have to persevere.

For the first time in my life I have no idea where I’m going to end up next. Until now the process was simple: primary school, secondary school, sixth form, university. That is to say, my future was mapped out. What comes after is surely a job, but where, what company, what industry? Where will I be in five years? It’s impossible to know because there is no set blueprint anymore, and the possibilities are endless.

When finishing an undergraduate degree, most people tend to either find employment or enrol in a postgraduate course. At the moment I’m set on finding a job, but who knows what will happen. Now I know what people mean when they say they’re scared of the future.

But a job isn’t going to be a simple fix to my worries. I want to find a home of my own, but where, when, with who? Money is a huge consideration. Nothing, unless you leave education with a clear idea of what you want and the means to immediately achieve it, can prepare you for the huge yawning maw of the future and its endless teeth of possibility.

Post-graduation is a whole different ball game to university. I’m playing in the big leagues now. It’s scary yes, but this is why, on reflection, I think it’s so important to make the most of your time at university. You only get to experience it for the first time once, and my time at Warwick will be a memory I cherish forever.  

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