14 Phrases Graduates HATE Hearing

University is time brimming with fun, getting to know yourself and learning a few things on the side. It’s a road to qualification that doubles as a safety net at family gatherings.

“What are you doing with your life?”


Phew – existential bullet dodged!

But when you stumble over the finish line with a degree in your clutches, things change. Even the best of us find graduate life a difficult transition, not helped by the fact that it apparently becomes more acceptable for others to interrogate your entire existence.

Thank you family, friends and society for the ‘advice’, but many of your opinions are nothing but stressors. Here are a few phrases graduates would love not to hear again anytime soon.

1. “Welcome to the real world!”

Reaction GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

What world were we living in before? A chocolate one? Turns out balancing full time study and part time work whilst trying to make the most of our youth isn’t what people do in the ‘real’ world.

2. “How are your savings going?”

Homer Simpson GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Can also be phrased as “When are you going to start budgeting?” or “Maybe you should stop spending so much!”

Trust that if we want to bring up financial conversation, we will. These are especially disheartening questions considering how little students and graduates often earn.

Yes, now we’ve left uni it might be time to start thinking about the future, but we shouldn’t feel guilty about not having an investment property or gold bars stashed under our mattresses.

3. “When are you going to move out?”


“Are you going to move back home?”

Vh1 GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

If you’re lucky enough to have enjoyed stability studying at home, questions about your living situation can get stressful as people seem to doubt your authenticity as a true-blue adult. How CAN you be if mum still cooks dinner occasionally? Perish the thought.

On the other hand, if you’ve been living out of home you might find people asking whether you’re going to crawl back. Regardless of your living situation, there’s no shame accepting financial assistance while you find your feet.

4. “How long has it been since you graduated?”

20Th Century Fox Home Entertainment GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Is there a land-mined deadline by which one must have their life sorted? Didn’t think so.

5. “Have you started to look for REAL work yet?”

What GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Who says our current part/full time jobs aren’t real ones? We don’t have to be using our degrees immediately to be making the most out of life.

Hopefully one day we will use our expensive certificates and seek out work relevant to our studies. Meanwhile we needn’t let expectations of what we SHOULD be doing at certain times get in the way of what we actually desire.

6. “Chase your dream job!”

Reactions GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

We wish it were as easy as stumbling onto a smooth highway towards professional fulfilment with a sign saying “DREAM JOB, NEXT EXIT”, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. Of COURSE we want to snag one of these mythical ‘dream jobs’, but forgive us for taking some time to figure it out.

7. “You’ll find something soon.”

Annoyed GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Even when intended to be reassuring, this phrase gets frustrating heard on repeat.

8. “When will you stop travelling and settle down?”

Travel GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

With its increased freedom and affordability, many of us seize the chance to travel, and why not? Being young and void of location-cementing commitments means this is the best period of our lives to explore the globe, expand perspectives and just have a damn good time.

9. “It’s all about networking and who you know.”

Fergie GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Is this a subtle way of telling us that the past few years have been spent in vain? Hope not.

10. “Do you wish you majored in something else?”

Private GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Maybe, maybe not. None of your business.

11. Anything that involves the phrase “student debt.”

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

We’d rather talk about the state of US politics. Let’s leave this issue to gather dust bunnies in the recesses of our minds, at least for now.

12. “How’s your love life going?”


 “You’ll meet someone, don’t worry!”


“How are you single, you’re so great!”

The Simpsons GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

If you have to ask about our ‘love life’, we probably don’t want to share. If we are dating, don’t interrogate us about long-term plans. If single, don’t assume we’re not content. As for asking WHY we’re single, all you’ll get in response is an abrasive eye-roll. We know you’re trying to be nice, but let us navigate the perils of romance alone – unless we ask for your advice.

13. “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?”

Idk GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Still tossing up the next five hours.

14. “You’re so young, you have plenty of time!”

Do we? Moments ago we were leaving primary school, holding hands singing the ‘Friends Forever’ graduation song with misty eyes. Now we’re adults with fancy hats and hard-earned degrees, wondering what’s next and trying not to drown in premature quarter-life crises.

The older we get, the faster time passes and gosh, now we’re noticing. It’s time to leave university, delve into the onslaught of the professional world and figure things out – one mistake at a time. Bring it on.

Anna Holling is an Aussie in London who takes too many photos, engages in one-way banter at lostoptimist.com, passionately advocates pineapple on pizza and enjoys speaking in third person.