5 Things Every Student Should Know Leaving University

Closing the door on three years at university is never as straightforward as it might sound. By the end of third year, the experience has inevitably moved from carefree to stressful. Once dissertations have been submitted and exams sat, home glints temptingly on the horizon.

Let’s run through the five things that every student should know – or will inevitably find out – after leaving university.


Home life takes a little getting used to

Unless you lived at home and commuted to university, you’ve just spent three years living in a state somewhat similar to adulthood. You were responsible for everything, from food to finances to handing work in on time. With no-one keeping tabs on you, it was very easy to enjoy the total freedom that undergraduate life offered.

Then, just like that, you’re home again, having to deal with nagging parents and a distinct lack of freedom.

Fear not – this Guardian author gets it. Patience is a virtue in these circumstances: in your parents’ eyes, you’re still their child, and it’ll take a little while before they appreciate just how much you’ve – hopefully – grown up. And heck, let’s face it: there’s nothing like a pair of embarrassing parents to kick the old job hunt into gear!


The job market is a vast and terrifying place

You’d have thought that this one would be a given, and yet it’s hard to believe until you begin hunting. Do you visit the popular job sites regularly? Do you find a recruitment agency to do the hard bits for you? Or perhaps you invest insane amounts of time in LinkedIn, racking up the connections to people who may or may not be helpful.

It’s a wild world out there. Relax: the best thing to do in the face of certain breakdown is to choose a path and stick with it. Unless your CV sparkles like a fresh-cut diamond, it will take time before the employers begin to take an interest.

If you’re trying to jump right in, don’t be put off by the tumbleweed. Stay focused, keep applying, and don’t panic.


Yeah, people you know will be employed before you

There’s nothing more disheartening than talking to a friend who is happily employed. It starts to feel like a race, and one that you’re losing; you wonder if your degree in English literature was really the right choice, when your PPE graduate buddy is all set with a role that his course has perfectly prepared him for.

Remember that there are a ton of different ways to break into the job market. All of these move at different speeds and require different things from you. Stop comparing yourself to other people.

Actually, that’s a good rule of thumb for life in general.


No-one is ever totally cool with rejection

We all like to think that the first time we hear the dreaded words (it’s always a sentence that starts with an “unfortunately…”) that we’ll just roll with the punch, thanking the messenger for the opportunity and shrugging nonchalantly.

Of course in reality, you often find yourself imagining that messenger with a bullet between their eyes, as you convince yourself that you’re the most unemployable individual on the planet.

And that’s fine. Rejection is tough, but also all too common; most rejected applications aren’t even graced with a response. But bear this in mind: at this stage in the process, any kind of response, be it positive or negative, is a great sign. You’re being noticed, and that proves that you’ve got the goods.


You are not alone in this

Remember that part about having to get used to losing a bit of independence? Well there are two sides to that coin. It’s very easy to put on a brave face and wade knee-deep into the job application swamp, even if you have no idea what you’re doing. You don’t need help, after all: you’re a fully-fledged adult, world weary and battle hardened.

Except you’re not. None of us are. This is another massive step in the course of our lives, and one that necessitates a bit of help and support no matter how prepared you feel. Sure, when your parents were looking for jobs the local fletcher was still in business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them about your worries and confusion. Anyone who has ever graduated from uni – heck, anyone with a job – is your friend right now.  Even Google can provide a bit of virtual comfort, if you look in the right places.

This one comes from the heart, folks: it’s okay to ask for help.



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