I’ve mentioned in recent posts that I went to De Montfort University in Leicester from 2008 to 2012, studying BSc Fashion Technology and I can honestly tell you it was the best 4 years of my life. It’s so common to really struggle with uni and to feel overwhelmed, the work is DAMN hard and the hours are tiring and its just super stressful. But I certainly believe I made the most of these years, in-between sewing and wearing my lab coat, obvs. I have made some INCREDIBLE friends through going to university and it’s always lovely to meet people who you have common interests with. Plus the qualification makes my CV a little more exciting, always a bonus of going to university I guess!
Whilst I was at uni, there were certainly many ups and downs, last minute panics and stressful revision cram sessions with pals, but I got through it in one piece with a nifty 2:1 and a shiny new start to adult life. It was amazing to look back and think, ‘I DID IT’.
So now, after having 3 years in this thing we call ‘the real world’ I feel I can reflect on some of the most important things I have learnt since graduating.
1) The real world is hard guys. There is no safety bubble and set plans for your future like when you are at uni. There is no timetables to stick to, no deadlines, you just have to keep going. Fending for yourself is a daunting task, but also liberating because you are in charge of your own future. You can do whatever you like and be whoever you want to be.
2) Once you graduate, keeping friendships alive takes work. You can’t always just nip to your pals houses for a spot of vino and a catch up. Especially if you move away from home where most people’s friendship groups are. But you know what, those friendships will survive if they are meant to be. I don’t talk to my girlfriends at home every day, but I know they are always there for me, as I am for them and it’s always an exciting event when you do see each other.
3) You are suddenly thrown into a world of bills and taxes and all things adult-y and costly. It’s times like this you miss that student life when life is sweet and you don’t have to pay council tax.
4) I have been lucky since I have graduated, the two jobs that I have had have not taken over my life, so maintaining a good work/life balance hasn’t been too tricky. However I do have a few friends here that work their little tusheys off all day and into the night and have really struggled getting that balance right. I guess this one depends on whether you are more career minded, or if you are more of an ‘I want a life outside of work’ person, though sometimes it just happens to be in a jobs nature when you first start out.
5) Having hobbies and interests can really help you get the most enjoyment out of life. It can be anything from blogging to rock climbing, whatever it is you enjoy, go for it. At uni it is easy to fill up your time with working and partying, but once you graduate you get those glorious things called weekends back! Use them wisely J
6) Going out 4 times a week and consuming 6000 calories in sugary alcohol each time is probably not okay once you have graduated. I would advise leaving those messier, rolling-around-the-SU-floor times back in your uni life. This comes naturally as you get older too, you tend to swap the Snakebite for a glass of red wine. So grown up!
7) It’s okay to just let life happen, don’t rush yourself into doing those typical adult-y things like getting houses, and marriage and babies. You are still so young when you graduate from uni and still have A LOT to learn about life. Use these younger years to get experience and live free of baby poop and picking wedding venues. There is plenty of time for that.
8) Being pro-active is something you learn when you graduate. Sure, you have to be pro-active at uni when you have a zillion deadlines all coming up and you’re pulling your hair out at the stress of it, however being proactive when you are uni-free is something different. You have to have self-motivation to do stuff, to get jobs to support yourself and to plan to see friends and family and do all those important life things – these things aren’t done for you so you have to make a conscious effort in this department. Sitting on your bum watching reality TV ain’t gonna make that happen *guilty*.
9) When I graduated, I went into a bit of a panicky mode. I didn’t have a job lined up, I moved back home to Ipswich where I didn’t particularly want to be, I had no plans. But it DOES work out, and if I could go back to my life 3 years ago I would have given myself a slap and told me to calm the fuck down. Appreciate this freedom and use this time pro-actively and wisely.
10) It is absolutely FINE to not know what you want to do, and it’s OKAY to not take up a career in the degree you have got. As I said before, I have a degree in Fashion Technology, and after working in the industry for a couple of years I knew that it wasn’t me. The job was amazing, but the atmosphere was awful. I decided then that Fashion wouldn’t make me happy – and after talking to friends and family about it I actually felt like that was fine. It’s more important to be happy in what you’re doing rather than just doing a job because you think you should. I still have no idea what I want to do. I would love to be a midwife, an interior designer, a professional blogger, a photographer – so many things! But until I figure it out, I will always make sure I’m happy, and as life comes I am sure my path will form.