So you’ve passed your degree, made it through graduation without tripping over your own feet, you have an actual adult job to go to Monday through Friday, but now what?
It’s a totally new frontier for most people, and one that none of our years of schooling and standardised testing and summer holidays have prepared us for. It’s been two years since I graduated and had to go out into the big, wide world, and upon reflection, these are the ten things I wish someone had let me in on before I became a real grown up. Or at least, the attempt of a real grown up that I am now.
- It is scary. It’s okay that it’s scary, it’s new and new things are scary and if it’s not scary, you’re not paying attention.
- No one else has their shit together either. There are just a lot of people in the world who are really, really good at pretending they have their shit together.
- The glorious point three times a year when the Gods of the Student Loans Company deposit beautiful, beautiful money into your bank account is no more. I’m sorry. It will still be disappointing two years later. I’m hoping it’ll get better soon I’ll let you know…
- Having a real, graduate job is a lot more time consuming than being at uni was (especially if you did a contact time light humanities degree!) and you’ll be tired. Realllllly tired, for a while and it’s fine to be exhausted for a while. It’s hard to balance this new, time consuming full time job, and the social life you had at uni. It’s okay if it’s hard and it’s completely okay to take some time out for yourself. If you need to turn down what’s meant to be the party of the year to stay home with Netflix because you can’t actually keep your eyes open without the aid of match sticks, that’s definitely okay. It’s probably not the party of the year anyway.
- It’s not the end of the world to still not know exactly what you want to do. It’s fine to change your mind a lot, or take your first grad job and then promptly decide its exactly what you don’t want to do, and start again. Try things now, while you still can!
- You know how in school it wasn’t cool to be the first person to stick up your hand and volunteer to do stuff? Well screw school. In the work place, in your first job especially, be that person. Volunteer to help, and get involved as much as you can. It’ll help you develop skills and experience you might not otherwise get, and you’ll get to meet more people too. There’s nothing quite like showing you’re a team player early on.
- Student debt doesn’t go away. I don’t mean the maintenance and tuition fee loans – you know they come out of your wages when you meet a certain threshold. I mean the credit card you got to supplement that AU holiday in second year, or the overdraft you’ve been slowly sliding further and further into over the last three years. You do have to pay it back, and sooner rather than later is better. Not having to do it on a deadline will make it hurt less and even knocking 50 quid a payday off your overdraft adds up to £600 a year! It’s also super important to be aware of exactly WHEN you have to pay each thing back by. Student overdrafts are usually interest free, but only for a certain amount of time after graduation and once that time is up you have to pay interest, which is to be avoided at all costs.
- When you get your first job, the most important thing to buy is comfortable shoes. It’s worth spending a decent amount of money on them as you’ll be wearing them at least five days a week, Monday to Friday. Topshop, Next, Hush Puppies and Kurt Geiger are good places to start.
- It’s okay to ask stupid questions about how to get the printer and laminator working, or where the stationary is. It’s even okay to ask twice. (This is coming from the person who has broken two laminators, one of which was nearly on fire by the time we shut it off! The moral of the story is I’m not allowed to use the laminator anymore.)
- Going from being able to turn up to lectures in hoodies and cut off shorts and occasionally sticking on a uniform for a par time job is very different to needing to wear workwear five days a week. Learning to master workwear is a skill worth working on! Spend a lot of time shopping for the basics, and try lots of different things on so you have a set of go to outfits. The workwear features that most mags do in their August/September issues are invaluable here!