For finalists, it’s getting towards that time of year when everything starts to feel very real and the concept of being released out into the real world is fast becoming an inevitability. The last major life decision you made was probably at least two years ago when you chose which university and degree course to apply to. It is really easy to panic now that you’re out the other end, but you really don’t need to. Here are a few tips to avoid a final year meltdown.
VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO DO WHEN THEY graduate
If you have absolutely no idea what you want to be doing for the next 40 years, you are not alone. Believe it or not, it is ok to feel a bit lost at sea. It’s normal. Thousands of graduates flood out of university campuses every year with no plans, just a vague idea that they want to earn some money, maybe. Your whole life doesn’t have to be planned out before the end of term 1, so just go with the flow if you’re feeling the pressure.
YOU PROBABLY WON’T LAND YOUR DREAM CAREER AT 21
Most graduates have never been out of education. That’s awesome, but it also means you have a lot to learn about how the world works and, more importantly, how working full time works. Not only will you be a bit clueless compared to those with more years under their belt, but you are also (probably) incredibly young. There is a huge pressure nowadays to be ‘successful’ while you’re ‘young’ and ‘beautiful’ (thanks Instagram) but really you’re just starting. Don’t restrict yourself to perfection.
YOU HAVE TO FAIL TO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT
In Batman Begins, Alfred says to Bruce Wayne - “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” The same concept applies to your career, especially if you want to become a caped crusader. You have to make a few mistakes in order to figure out your strengths and weaknesses, and this way you will be able to find the kind of job that suits you as well as one that you want. You might think marketing is your thing but also hate numbers and data which, surprise surprise, are a HUGE part of marketing. You have to get used to doing things wrong to start getting things right.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO BE YOUNG
Have a delayed gap year. Go and explore the world. Do some soul searching. Work in a coffee shop and write that novel you’ve been sitting on. Take some time to finish off being young, because unfortunately once you’re working in a ‘proper’ job and you’re building your career, the grown up life creeps up on you really quickly. Getting on the property ladder, supporting a family, paying council tax, commuting at 6am every morning – all are things that you could very well be worrying about for the rest of your life, so if you have any ‘silly’ or ‘pointless’ plans you might want to look at trying to squeeze them in now.
MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING
Sure, it’s nice to live in a gentrified neighbourhood in the Royal Borough of Kensington, but let’s get real – who wants to have all that and despise what they do every single day 9 to 5? When the alarm goes off, do you want to be groaning and hiding your face in your pillow, not because you want an extra 5 minutes, but because you want your life back? Happiness is inexplicably underrated, and earning a tonne of money isn’t the be all and end all. Of course everybody wants to eat, have a roof over their head, be able to enjoy the odd meal out or trip to the cinema, but realistically you don’t have to hate your job to do this. If you like your job, or at the very least find it interesting, you will learn more and probably progress further. In short, your experience at that company or institution, however long or short it might be, will be better.
Feel free to completely ignore all of these suggestions – after all, it’s your life, so go and live it! The idea is to try and calm some of those finalist jitters and let you all know that, actually, it’s all going to be fine no matter what you do!
If you're graduating soon and looking to break into the strange world that is 'a career', check out the Student Hut Jobs page!