The-oh-so proud photograph of me holding my Journalism BA degree has been hung up on the wall for everyone to see… The three years that might have been the best three years of my life have now passed. Now what?
The hustle and bustle; attending lectures, occasionally missing lectures, spontaneous plans with friends, it was all great. But maybe the transition from university life to real life hit me a bit too hard and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.
Being so used to having a schedule gives life structure and structure provides stability. Since we were as young as three years old we’ve been used to structure, going to nursery, school, college and then university. Life after university is like an endless ocean, and with no direction, one could end up feeling very lost.
So many of us lived out for university, from having your own place and enjoying the remarkable freedom while it lasts, coming back home can be very hard. Once we’ve rinsed out Netflix, enjoyed random naps and made the most of our fridge, we eventually need to wake up and reflect on where the hell our life is going!
We naturally hold the perception that after graduating, life will be an easy ride. Most of us were motivated by the mere fact that our degree will be a huge stepping stone towards our dream job, not knowing that the job was more than a long leap away.
Behold the applications!
So we take to Google, searching and searching for jobs that may seem befitting for our graduate-selves, applying the s*** out of them!
Upon completing around 85 applications (probably more, I’ve lost count), I came to realise that my degree is only the foundation, that a ‘graduate’ job or internship doesn’t solely depend on one being a graduate, but the experience that you obtain to date, is the actual bulk of the application. And that experience doesn’t include the 36 modules I passed which were tailored for nearly every aspect of journalism, no; experience meant
everything other than that.
Some are lucky enough to secure a job shortly after graduation, some not so soon… The wait can be extremely frustrating resulting in loss of confidence, self-worth and above all the will power to carry on trying.
One may think; Wow, have I just wasted three years of my life? But the answer to that is no, university is an amazing experience, a pivotal part of our journey of self-exploration and if I had the chance I’d do it all over again just for the bants!
I remember asking one of my friends why she chose to pursue a masters straight after her undergrad, her response was “I don’t want to stop being a student, it feels too soon”.
Envisage your goals; one step at a time.
We make the mistake of giving ourselves so much to do and think about, that we end up doing nothing at all! Like I’d wake up with 101 things on my mind but end up ‘utilising’ my time by being a sloth on the sofa watching Friends; even though I’ve seen every episode a ridiculous amount of times.
We should first and foremost define our objectives; each and every person needs to have a purpose in life, an objective that prevents our actions from being barren and meaningless. If there is no reason for what you are doing, nothing will be worthwhile.
What I find helps, is having a goal of the day instead of trying to achieve everything at once. Write it down if it helps, t-do lists actually work! Be realistic though; instead of having “become a doctor” have something like “complete three job applications”. Never underestimate the joy of being able to accomplish every task on your to-do list!
On top of this having an idea of the ‘bigger picture’ is very important because our daily goals help us to reach the end goal. We can section our plans into long-term and short term plans. Long term plans may include what you want your life to be like in ten years time in terms of religion, health, family, social life, career and prosperity. The short term goals can be broken down into monthly, weekly and daily plans, as you move up the pyramid the fields will gradually narrow as you incorporate more specific details into your life plans
Give yourself a break!
Investing our time and energy into being productive is great but we can easily forget about a very important aspect of our lives, our inner selves. What makes us happy and relaxed?
I recently read a book by Amira Ayad called ‘The True Secret’ where she describes this using a beautiful analogy she says, think of yourself as an apple barrel. The apple barrel is only useful if it actually holds any apples, if we keep distributing our apples to our friends, family and into our work, we are left with no apples and feel worthless, to restore our function in life, and we have to replenish our supply of apples.
You have to find the source of your apples. What makes you really relaxed and replenishes your depleted energy? For you it may be reading a book, watching a movie, going out with a friend or simply having some ice cream! Make a list of things that make you happy, and reward yourself with one thing at the end of each week.
We’re in this together
So chin up, you’re not the only one whose facing the post-graduation blues, we’re in this together and it will get better! For now just take it easy, grab every opportunity you get, volunteer, intern, read, discover and explore as you walk into the next chapter of your life!