You know those classic teen films where they leave school or college and then skip forward in time to show where the characters have got to? It’s usually highly unrealistic but I guess that’s what I thought leaving university would be like. It would be a ‘One year ‘or ‘Five years later’ scenario and we would all be living our dream jobs.
Here are some other things I have learnt since leaving the bubble of University:
1. It is who you know.
This is not always true however your dream job is not going to fall on your lap by writing a few cover letters or having an impressive CV. It’s by networking, putting yourself out there and simply meeting the right people that you are going to make small steps towards the career of your dreams. Have I met the right people yet? I would say no but I am attempting to put myself out there and that’s a start. Networking is VERY important and it is a skill we simply don’t get told about in education.
2. What you thought you knew about yourself, you didn’t know.
At university I got into the habit of thinking I hated exercise. Morning dance classes would plague me and the university laziness stuck with me. One year later and I could not be more different, I love the gym, I love being outside and I love getting involved with sports. It took leaving the security of education for me to discover this about myself.
At university we become very narrow versions of ourselves, driven by the need to complete our degree, our interests usually revolve around that subject but since leaving I feel like I know myself much more and have discovered random things about me that were never present during my time as a student.
3. Being pro-active REALLY counts.
The days of writing your essay at midnight the day before hand ins are over. In the real world, you are the key to your success. No one is going to hand you your dream job just because they see a 2:1 on your CV. No one owes you anything. I must admit it has plagued me at times but what I’ve been realizing is that you should never give up. If it takes you 100, 200, 1000 emails before you get a response from an employer you want- that’s just what it takes. If you have to work at a crappy job for a couple of years to get money to do something you truly love, that’s just what it takes. If you want to travel and work around the world, you are the one that has to make that happen. I went through a phase of about three months where I tried really hard, I got through many stages of certain jobs that were absolutely amazing only to be turned down. It got to me and I have felt like giving up but I won’t because the most successful people in the world didn’t give up and they certainly didn’t have it easy. Every knock back you get, every doubt you feel and every no you receive is one step closer to figuring out what you really want and getting it.
4. Life happens quickly
Life is happening so fast. I don’t know where this year has gone. I am learning that you need to keep track of the days and the weeks or they will just fly by. Not only that but since leaving university the number of: engagements, moving houses and baby announcements have been insane. It seems as soon as we leave university and become real ‘adults’ life starts happening and it happens fast.
5. Don’t compare yourself
Picture me about ten months ago; sitting on my laptop- I had just started waitressing as I was saving up to go traveling. I go on Facebook and see statuses of people that graduated with me, with the same degree only they aren’t waitressing, they’re performing half way around the world, they’re filming for a new BBC series, they’re signed by top agents, and they’re living in London. Their lives seem perfect, the barrage of self-complimentary statuses coupled by healthy looking selfies and pictures made me feel inadequate. I had just moved home with my mum which is where I still am, I had no money and a trip to America to save for. I wasn’t sure quite what I wanted to do. Ten months later I realize that we can chose how we look at things. Now when I see statuses like that I don’t feel envy or inadequate, I feel pride. Pride that someone I know is doing so well. I also realize that everyone gets to success at their own time, If I wanted to I could work abroad, I could probably move to London and attempt to find an agent. I could do all these things that I was envious of but I don’t want to. It’s important you don’t compare yourself to anyone else; you are your own person with your own talents and your own wants. Your success is not based on someones Facebook status. You own your own success and it will come to you when you work for it and when you want it.
6. Friends are important
I missed my friends so much after leaving university and I still do however this year I have learnt so much more about the importance of having friends. Whether you have two close friends or twenty, having them around is a lifeline. It’s harder to see each other, life gets fast and complicated and you’re all working towards your own goals but just making time, even just once a month is important. Just knowing you have people you can count on when times get tough is enough . I don’t have a massive group of friends but the ones I do have, from university, school and new friends are all so precious to me. It’s nice to know that no matter what stage you are at or where you are in life, they will always be there.
7. Positive Memories
I get caught up with chasing career goals a lot, I think about what I have done for my career in the last year and it isn’t as much as I would have hoped however it is crucial to look back every year and think about all the awesome things you have done. For instance since graduating I have walked along the coastlines of Cornwall, partied with my friends at festivals, I have visited friends and have been visited by friends; I have been invited to my first wedding. I have swum in the blue lagoon of Iceland, flown into the Grand Canyon, hiked in Los Angeles, snow-shoed in Vancouver, met seals and sloths in San Diego. I have done a lot of stuff worth remembering. Leaving university isn’t so bad after all.
If you graduated last year or this year, what have you done since?
Stay Strong xoxoxo