Hello beautiful people!
Okay so, I thought I'd share my personal thoughts and experience with you for what life after graduating with an undergraduate degree has been like. Hopefully some of you might find this useful, relatable, or just good to read! Especially for those of you who have just graduated over the summer.
Naturally, everyone's experiences are different but there is a common theme that often other people and graduates themselves think they're going to 'dive' straight into their perfect job and live happily ever after.
Erm, hello? Reality check please?!
I never expected to land the perfect job because I didn't intend on paid working straight away. I have a background in Psychology and I want to go onto become a Clinical Psychologist one day. That path to that is not only long, but tough - you are required at least a year's worth of clinical/research experience and then a doctorate degree (DClinPsy or PsyClinD), sometimes also with a Master's degree to improve chances of getting accepted for the clinical training (the doctorate).
For those of you who still expect that everything will go perfectly, please don't. Of course if it does for you then that's absolutely great, but if it doesn't it's not the end of the world. Finding a job of your choice (yes, emphasis on choice), is not as easy. Think about it - if you realllly want that job, what makes you think others won't too? Obviously that means that getting the job will be competitive, right? It's one thing to just get 'a job'.. but it's another to get a job you love.
I personally think a career in something you are passionate about is much more fulfilling than a career that just pays the bills. I also think enjoying what you do is necessary to succeed to the best of your ability. So many people that I know have gotten a job they don't even like, purely because they felt they had to have a job. I believe it's better to be using your time and energy doing something that will help to get your dream job, even though that is more difficult.
This is where the hard part comes in. Experience. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't want to get a paid job straight away, but instead get relevant experience. Why? I can't stress the importance and value employers place on work experience. Especially if it is voluntary - it shows how committed you are to what you want. Having said that, unpaid experience is not always easy to get either (what the hell? I know right!!) as so many other people might also be trying to do the same. So what do you do now? Well, you have your own brain right? So, you use your own initiative and GO GET THOSE OPPORTUNITIES.
I will give you an example of one of my major achievements this year which was inspired through a rejection for an important unpaid role. So I had applied for a role which is highly valuable within my field, and yes I was rejected. Okay so I was disappointed. But, that disappointment gave me a ridiculous amount of motivation and I thought to myself, "My career isn't just 'going to happen'. I need to take things in my own hands". And so, one Sunday evening I sat down, wrote a short concise email (attached with my CV) asking for any requirement (for the same role that I was turned down for) and sent it to about 15 different potential employers. I did this as a safe bet; there was nothing to lose but only to gain. In fact, to be honest I didn't expect any positive replies. But guess what.. I received FIVE offers! All eager to work with me! I was absolutely mind blown and so grateful! As a result, I have been developing my skills and expanding my experience widely, which means that now when I do decide to apply for my chosen job, I will hopefully have a much stronger application. Another point to remember is - it doesn't always matter what you do, but what you learn from it. If you can show your employers what transferable skills you have picked up and how they can benefit the job you're applying for, you're automatically going to be in their good books. For example, you might have previously been a waitress or bartender and are now applying for a teacher's job. You could easily explain that from your waitressing/bartending you improved your communication and/or developed problem-solving skills as a result of dealing with difficult customers.
So lovelies, don't sit around for life to just happen.. go and carve your own path the way YOU want it. Let your failures be the reason for your success (wow, did I actually just quote something so inspirational?!) Don't take into account what anyone says or expects because it's your life and it's your choice.
Also, don't forget that you are still growing and actually 'finding yourself' during all this time. You get placed in a lot of different situations which require different levels of responsibility. Especially if you are working. I think this is what takes a lot of adjusting. You spend all your life (almost always continuously) in education living quite care freely, and then BAM.. you're an adult. There's no waking up late or missing lectures because you can't be bothered; no, you're an adult and you live by the rules. But don't let that scare you as with all that there is a great level of satisfaction to know that you are looking ahead to the rest of your life!
The good news! I am going to be a student again! I'm starting a highly competitive Master's degree at an extremely prestigious university!
Lots of happy, motivational love,