You’ve never seen time fly as fast as it does the minute you move into university dorms. I can still remember feeling gutted that my first year was over back in 2013 and saying to myself “oh well, two more years left!” yet now I’m looking back at that moment almost two years outside of graduating. If you’re reading this whilst still in university, cherish it. Whilst it won’t be the best and only best three years of your life that nothing will compete with, they’ll be some of the most fun and most crucial years for your young adult life so cherish them whilst you’re in the thick of it. In this post I’m sharing my tips on how to survive your first year out of uni.
I’ve been repeatedly told that the hardest transitions were high school > college, then college > university but no one ever mentioned the transition from university > life. First and foremost the hardest change is entirely dependent upon the person and mine would have to be the transition from uni life to… POST-uni life. It was much harder for me because you feel more on your own once you’ve tossed that hat up in the air and you start to feel like you’re a fully fledged adult which is pretty scary.
I know several people since graduating that just don’t know what they want to do in life, are unhappy, trying to emulate that student lifestyle and asking several questions and trying out several different coping mechanisms. But that’s okay. That’s what your first year AT LEAST after uni life will be like, I say at least because it might not stop there for you, it may take a couple of years and again that’s okay. Whether you’re 21 or 61 there is no right time in life to figure out what you want and as cliche and spiritual as it all does sound, take life at your own pace.
I’ve put together some tips that I hope help give you an understanding that you don’t need to have your shit together post uni and that it’s okay to just have fun and work on yourself.
Don’t compare your life to others
The biggest factor in driving you insane and making you unhappy in your first year out of university is comparing your situation to someone else’s.
- Your friend got a £25k starting grad job for a top 100 firm and you’re working at Tesco? So.
- The girl that sat in front of you in your lectures moved to London and you’re still living with your parents? So.
- The person who graduated before you travelled around South East Asia for a year and you have no plans to go further than the British Isles? SO!
There is no rule book out there that says that you should be living your life like the next person, you live it how you want. If you genuinely do want to be doing what Becky from your lectures is doing, then do it, but don’t force yourself to because you think that you should.
Keep in touch with your friends
The hardest by far – University allowed you to be around your nearest and dearest for 3 years straight in very close quarters and suddenly you’ve gone 2 metres to 200 miles apart. It’s so easy to fall behind on your relationships with people when you’re so far away from each other, WhatsApp messages become few and far between and the promises to meet up keep failing. Keeping on top of it is bloody hard and requires hard work from BOTH sides but that hard work does pay off and it means you’ll have a long lasting friendship.
Busying yourself helps get over the post uni blues a little, at least it did for me. I went straight into a full-time job and with a full-time job came a full-time paycheck which I spent most of going out for dinner and drinks. Whilst this isn’t a sustainable way of using your hard earned money it definitely helped me keep upbeat about seriously having to wake up for my 9ams and what was now a different chapter in my life. Keeping busy allowed me to realise that uni was great but who said all the fun had to stop there. Find something you love or think you might love – take up a hobby, get an internship, volunteer, go out and socialise, join the gym, do whatever keeps you happy and busy.
Work on you
Working on yourself if something everyone should try and do, but coming out of university for me was (and still is) the best time to do it. For most of us, it’s the last milestone in our academic career and we’ll never have to use Harvard referencing again! This gives you some time to just think about yourself and what you want out of life right now or in the near future. Do you want to be able to take up a hobby and knit a scarf by April? Work an unpaid internship for 2 weeks to gain work experience? Exercise regularly to run at 5k by the end of the year? Anything that helps you grow or keeps you happy can only be positive, so why not do it? With the new year around the corner, this is an even perfect opportunity to set some goals to “work on you”.