Life After University | A YEAR On From Graduation, Here’s Where I’m At RN

I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but it has been a year since I graduated university.

One year since I was finally free from a degree that I had worked my arse off for three years. If you’re currently in the midst of your studies, I’m sure that you’ve dreamed about the situation I’m currently in. I know for a fact that it’s all I thought about while I went through sixth form and university – the bit where you actually start your real life.

Like most things, it hasn’t been an easy ride and I’m far from feeling settled. But I feel like for all it’s failures, my little journey may be of help (or at least of interest) to someone out there. I feel like your life after university, or any kind of structured routine, isn’t something that is talked about in depth. We have expectations and ideas, for sure, but we don’t get given a solid idea of what will happen once we’re free. It’s just like a hazy dreamland.

So allow me, one normal lass to another, to enlighten you.

CAREER

I know for a fact the first thing on your mind is what work am I doing now. Well, if you’re looking for a super exciting, #girlboss style story then I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere (or give me a good few years to work on it. Who knows?)

I was successful in leaving my part-time fast food job that I’d held down throughout my entire studies – which to be honest was a goal for post-uni Rachael. However, I left that job to continue working in customer service/retail, but this time with better hours and slightly better pay.

Other than that there are no signs of a ‘better’ career around the corner. To be honest with you I have no idea what I want to do anyway. After getting rejected from the handful of jobs I did apply for, I kind of lost motivation for the whole thing. Even now I feel kind of anxious even thinking about the minefield that is Indeed.com.

My current job, although it definitely has it’s many downsides, has been a positive for me overall. It’s allowed me to meet and connect with people I would never have found outside of our building and has increased my confidence so much it’s kind of insane.

And with that, I can swiftly move on the the next area of post -uni life I want to talk about.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT (IE. HOW I’M DOING)

When reflecting on my life for the past year, I was so suprised by how much I’ve changed. I found, when thinking about what I was going to write for this post, that I feel like a different person to the girl in her graduation cap and gown.

Sure, we’re both still anxious and insecure and absolutely terrified about what’s coming up in the future. But I feel more confident than her. I feel more mature than her, like I’m more able to handle situations better (even if it’s not true).

I spent my graduation day a sweaty, nervous wreck and couldn’t really enjoy any of it. I just wanted to get it over and done with – and that’s something I look back on now with a bit of regret. I should have been more excited, more proud and more up for a party 🙂


If you’re graduating this summer, or the next one or the next one, do me a favour and enjoy it.

Enjoy those moments with your friends, your classmates and your family. It’s a day for you and your hard work and you should be so proud of yourself.

University can be such a wild ride and I’m guessing that life after it is just going to be the same. I’m a bit disappointed and frequently anxious about the fact I haven’t really done anything within this year, but I guess good things come to those who wait and are ready for it.

I’ve got a lot of working on myself to do and a lot of more life to experience so I guess I shouldn’t get too hung up on finding my perfect career just yet. I’m making this post as a reminder for myself to be patient, to cut myself some slack, every now and again, and if this happens to resonate with you then I hope you take heed too.

Congratulations and best of luck reader.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

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Here’s What No One Tells You About Finishing University

The time has finally come: I have finished my three year degree. I am no longer a student; I will no longer be attending university.

Life has been pretty crazy for the past few months (read: past year) and I always imagined that as soon as university was over, my life would get back on track and everything would be exactly how I wanted it. Oh bless past, naive me!

Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly flooded with relief now that everything is finished and handed in, but I didn’t account for the continuing stress, worry and general sense of unsure that’s still there. And that’s the thing- no one seems to tell you what it’s like finishing university. Sure, we’ve all heard the success stories and probably witnessed the glorious pride that third year students have when they’ve finished, but there’s loads of other things that I’m experiencing right now that I did not expect.

So allow me today to be the person to heed a word of warning. Finishing university is an amazing achievement and this is a time of totally celebration and relaxation, but there’s also a lot of weird stuff that goes on too.

THE MOURNING PERIOD

The past three years have passed by in what feels like a blur. Everything has been going at like a hundred miles an hour since I clicked that ‘accept offer’ button on UCAS three years ago. I actually can’t believe that I have finished my degree and will (hopefully!) be graduating next month! All of those years of hard work, stress and tears have come to a close and will hopefully all be worth it in the end.

As everything has just flown by, I can’t seem to reflect properly on my experience over these past three years and that’s making it hard for me to accept that it’s over. One minute I was working my arse off and living on my own and now I’m back in my family home with literally nothing to do. It’s a very strange situation and I know I should be taking full advantage of this chill time, but I can’t help but feel a little unsettled.

All of the routines I created for myself through my life at university have suddenly dissolved and no longer exist; I am trying to settle into living at home with my parents, after having my own freedom and independence for so long and although I know I have nothing to do, I can’t shake the feeling that I should be doing something productive instead of binging on daytime TV.

It’s taken me a long time to realise that I actually need a little time to kind of mourn the fact that I am no longer a student; that this part of my life, that has been such a major part of it for so long, is no longer there. I will no longer have that kind of lifestyle that you grow so used to over the course of your degree and that is a hard thing to accept and then try to change.

BURSTING THE BUBBLE

One major thing I have realised since moving home and being surrounded by people who actually have normal lives (read: have jobs/careers/families to care for, etc) is that university is such a bubble. The life you live when you’re at university is so far away from what ‘real life’ actually is.

Of course, moving out and living on your own can teach you some important lessons that will be valuable when you enter ‘real life’, but at university you’re surrounded by people of a similar age and everyone is in the same boat. When everyone behaves and acts the same, or in a very similar manner, it is very hard to see that this isn’t actually the norm. That’s what university is. It’s a total bubble and I for one got so caught up in it for three years that I almost couldn’t imagine life outside of it.

So when I left, the bubble burst pretty hard and it’s hit me that the life I’ve made for myself over the course of my degree isn’t really fit for purpose, or something I can continue now I’m no longer in that space.

I now need to build new routines and new attitudes and basically have to construct the structure of my life once again, from scratch. I’m finding this pretty difficult at the moment, if I’m being totally honest, as I get very rooted in my routines and find them very hard to break. But I’m hoping that now I’ve addressed the issue (mourning my past life as a student and learning that what I experienced in this time wasn’t ‘real life’) I can start to move forward and get back on track.

IT CONTINUES

Even though I no longer have any deadlines or commitments, I can’t seem to shake the horrible feeling that I have something to do that’s constantly hanging over my head. Of course I have hobbies and little projects (like this blog!) that I want to get on with, but those are things I want to do for fun for now and have no real deadline or consequence.

The feeling of having something to do is something that all students will recognise and is something that we’ve had over us for years and years. No wonder I’m having a difficult time adjusting to the fact I literally have nothing to do anymore! But I just wish that it wasn’t getting in the way of things right now.

It seems that all of the stress, anxiety and just general worry that I’ve gotten so used to experiencing is still present, even though my lifestyle has totally changed! It’s kind of annoying, more than anything, as now is is the first time in what feels like forever that I can actually just chill out and take some time for myself, but I still feel guilty for doing so.

I know that, as with everything, it’s an adjustment period and things won’t always be like this. I just need to be patient and allow myself some time to get through it. I feel bad for being so unproductive, but I need to stop being so hard on myself. Major changes take time to adjust to and so I need to allow myself some time to do just that.

Nelson Mandela


So this was kind of a little update on where I’m at right now. Hopefully it may help some of you who are also in the same boat, or maybe it’ll allow you to prepare yourself for when the time comes for you. I am hoping to take some more time for blogging now that I’m free, but as always bare with me a little bit.

If you have any experience with finishing university (or any kind of education) and have some tips for me, please let me know! I’d love to hear your input. If you’re currently still studying, I wish you all luck with everything!

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials: (Relevant/University Posts)