Post-University life; what now?

Since I started this blog about 5 years ago now (an unreal amount of time!), I’ve written about my personal life only once before; when the monumental task of moving to Leicester and starting my degree at De Montfort University was a hot topic (link to that here:

It’s interesting to look back and see my main fears were of moving away and leaving behind my hometown friends. This was true, I remember the feeling of sick in my stomach as I entered my hall of residence for the first time, wondering who and what I’d be living with for 9 months. Fortunately, I met some of the best friends and best people not just in that first academic year, but throughout my three years.

I’ve met (student) nurses and (student) footballers, (student) actors and (student) journalists, travelled to California and London. There were lots of firsts, my first significant, adult-ish relationships, my first break-ups, my first time living away from home, my first published newspaper articles. There have been lots and highs and lots of lows, and to this date, Leicester and DMU remains a firm part of my life.

Now it’s the post-uni landscape that I and my cohort, the first of the ‘£27k’ers’, are now in. And, it’s tough. It’s tough to pick up the pieces of 16 years of education and move onto the adult world, full of bills and life choices. It’s tough to convert that First in Journalism into a paid, conveniently located job. And, yes, it’s tough to stay positive in the face of all that adversity, and then some.

For the first time in my life, I don’t have a timetable, a schedule for each day, an end goal. Sure I work a part-time job which pays well and gets me to work behind a desk for 9am each day, but it’s a means to an end more than anything, a way to pay off student debt and to fund my driving lessons.

A longing for the days of being able to wake up late, drag myself out of bed for a couple of hours of lectures and returning home to a flat full of buzzing people cannot be helped. The weekday nights in pub and clubs that come and go without any reason to function properly the next day. It’s all done! The lonliness that can come with moving back home with mum and dad after the thriving independence and the personal growth that university provides, allowing you to truly become you, can be quickly undone, for sure.

Although it may seem it, this isn’t a sad piece, but one that I want to use to motivate myself and anybody else who may feel down and at a slight loss as to what to do now they’ve graduated and waved goodbye to education for the last time. Going back to that post-uni landscape, that at times seems so barren and deserted, yet at others is full of growth and opportunity.

Never stop applying for those dream jobs that you think you’re not experienced or good enough for. Among my friends and coursemates, there have been tonnes of successes, both in the job market and personal stories that make me happy, some that make me envious, but many of which have inspired me to keep trying and to not give up on doing what I truly want to do.

There are going to be plenty of speedbumps and trying moments that will test us. Even if you are in what was supposed to be the ‘dream job’, that is becoming more and more a living nightmare, or the working life isn’t for you – don’t give up. Work around troubles and think of ways to improve yourself in the long run, because by moping around at home, not a whole lot is going to change.

University may have been the best part of my life to-date, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the highlight of my life forever. Situations change, aspirations change, people change, who knows where you’ll be in a week’s time, nevermind a year!

As for me; I’m 22 years old in a couple of weeks, and feel as though I’ve experienced a lot of lif, but nothing at the same time. It’s an age that is both young and old, by 15 nowadays your career is supposed to be set in stone. I miss a lot of moments and friends from my university experience, but who’s to say new memories won’t be created and friendships rekindled. I know I’ve got so much to do, so many people to meet and moments to experience and savour, now I’ve just got to go and do them.

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