Tips from a graduate to a student
You think life starts when you go to uni? Wait till you graduate, cause that’s when you really fall from the kiddie pool into the deep dark ocean.
There are some things I wish I’d known when I began this journey, and I’m going to share them with you.
Follow your gut
You don’t like your modules, and the course isn’t what you thought it would be? You’re starting to have a change of heart as to what degree you want to study? Then switch over.
There is nothing worse than feeling stuck in a 3-year course doing something you don’t love. Even if that other degree sounds like it’ll be a difficult career to pursue, if you’re passionate enough you can and will make it.
Ultimately it is your life and you future, and as the saying goes: do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.
You’re not in Kansas anymore
There is nobody to chase after you to do your homework, nobody to call you in to ask why you didn’t turn up to class, and nobody there to make sure you read the material.
Your academic work ethic is now in your hands; education is a privilege and if going to uni was a choice you undertook, remember you are lucky. Take it seriously and do your best; don’t cut classes, don’t half-ass jobs.
Use your resources
You are given a plethora of equipment, knowledge, help at hand, and a hundred other types of resources all for free. Use them. Even if you don’t know- correction – especially if you don’t know how to use something, ask for help and get acquainted with it.
If you study film, make use of the film equipment. If you study chemistry, make use of the apparatus. Aim to be a sponge that absorbs all the knowledge around you, because once you graduate all this stuff will either be out of your reach physically or most certainly economically.
Make connections, and keep them
Because sure, making friends is great, and the truth is you’ll probably meet some of the best people at uni, but we’re not here to give you clichés, so let’s cut right to it: you never know who will become the next big thing, and you never know who will help pave your own way to your dream job.
Make connections, go to social events, try to mingle as much as possible and most importantly, stay in contact with the people you meet, especially after you graduate.
Look for experience while you’re still at university
It might sound like a drag – especially when it’s your final year and you have so much stuff to worry about – but if you are the planning type, set yourself a small goal every week.
For example, apply to three placements a week; it takes time for employers to get back to you, and having a job (especially one related to your degree) after uni is not only a comfort, but also a good motivation to finish your studies on a strong note.
Be prepared to feel a little lost when you graduate
You’ve been in school for over a decade, and suddenly you don’t have to wake up early or complete assignments anymore, and this change of routine will hit you hard.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to start a job right away – you’re a rare gem – or maybe you decide you need a break from it all and want to travel. Either way at some point you will not know what to do with yourself.
Don’t panic. We all go through it, and there’s not a single best way to get over it other than to take baby steps into the adult world.
If you like your field, don’t regret your studies
Sometimes you may wonder if you made the right choice. Your friends all talk about all their plans after uni, about securing a medical placement or about getting a job as an intern in a law firm. And here you are, with a script and wondering if that fast food joint will call you back, cause you haven’t heard back from any of the “artsy” jobs yet.
Finding a job after uni is hard, for some industries more than others, but if you really truly enjoy your degree don’t ever, ever regret having studied it.
At the end of the day, education and experience (regardless of which) is the key to opening every single door.
Xiomara Meyer is a drama and creative writing graduate with an interest in psychology and the slightly bizarre. She is part of Hitting Heads Productions.