As they say, all good things must come to an end. But with a little planning, some luck, and good timing, a new good thing can start in its place. For me it was a case of stumbling through the job process with very little idea of what was going to happen. I kept thinking of graduation as the point after which I would float into an abyss of freedom/confusion/lack of direction. But it’s not really – you’ll be somewhere, doing something (it sounds obvious, but it took me a while to realise it was up to me to determine what that would be). As a recent graduate of St Andrews, I’ve found the transition to be exciting and stressful in equal measure.
The stress came first. Like nearly all of my fellow graduates, the months leading up to graduation were filled by a sequential stream of job applications, interviews, and rejections. The competitiveness of the current job market is something with which we are all too familiar, but it still became very real. One friend went through 17 rejections before, finally, being accepted by the 18th. I too, was still interviewing during and after exams – after having filled out applications for months and going for interviews during every break. Like many university students, I had an internship in the summer preceding graduation, in the hopes of securing a full time offer (and, eventually, that is the permanent position I accepted). So, at the risk of sounding like a nagging parent, planning has definitely helped. Though internships themselves are harder to come by, companies are more likely to hire someone they’ve already tested and know. And if it was hard to juggle university work and applications, I was driven by the image in my head of living at home, with parents telling me when I should clean my room. I love my parents, but I love my independence, too.
The transition to the corporate world has actually been the exciting part. I admit, I miss walking down the street and inevitably running into someone you know. I miss strolls on West Sands and crazy Lizard nights. But I’ve also found that university has subconsciously prepared me for the “real world.” Those times when you frantically try to find your exam venue, or start the hunt for a flat practically a year in advance, or fly trans-Atlantic during winter snowstorms… Somewhere, in all of that, I became responsible (or at least more prepared). Those experiences have helped just as much as the actual content of what I studied, and has made settling into a new city, and a new job, more of an exciting adventure than an overwhelming ordeal.
This is just my personal experience. People do all kinds of crazy and interesting things after leaving university; things of which I am incredibly jealous. Backpacking for months on end, starting promising careers, pursuing Higher Education… There is hardly a better time to begin something altogether different. I took a job at a financial security company as a first step into the employed world (in which I am still not quite sure what I want to do). That was a calculated, and difficult, decision. But so far, I don’t regret it. Moving on is, at times, necessary, and I am looking forward to it. I didn’t (and don’t) know exactly what I want to do, but I knew what I didn’t want (dependence, lack of motivation), and I’ll figure out the rest from here.
Image credit – Thirty30 Photography