What I’ve Learnt as a Graduate: One Year On

I cannot quite believe that its been over a year now since I was handing in my final piece of work, sitting my final exam and bidding farewell to education (for now). And since that pinnacle moment of throwing my mortar board in the air and celebrating our success, what has a year on done, and what have I learnt…

Its okay to not know what you want…

Some people go through life knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up. Take my friend Bethan, for example, I made friends with her in year 5 and from making friends with her then I knew that she wanted to be a journalist, and hey presto she is (so proud!) Then there are some of us who have no idea what we want to do; I’m one of those. All I knew was that I wanted to do something that helped people and made a difference to their lives, no matter how big or small that difference may be. Of course I thought the only way I could really make a difference to someone’s live was through healthcare, and that was the path I chose. But success in landing my dream job, altered that for me (explained below), and so now I’m in a job nothing to do with healthcare, and that saddens me slightly, but at the same time I’m in a job where I feel valued and I enjoy going to work; and your well-being comes first.

You may hate your dream job…

I was really fortunate upon leaving university to be successful in a fair few interviews for jobs I thought I would love, but after 2 months in this role I hated it. I was constantly stressed, I didn’t want to go to work, everyone was so bitchy and false and I sat there baffled over how can these people who work in healthcare have no empathy for anyone they work with? I used to dread getting up for work, and was off ill 5 times in the space of 2 months. It was unfortunate that my dream job wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and I had to rethink my ideas, but in a way I was fortunate. As I was and (still am) living with my mum it was fine for me to quit, whereas if I had moved out as soon as I got this job I would have had to stick it out until my tenancy was up- and that would’ve been a nightmare!

Don’t accept apprenticeship pay…

When you leave university you come out hungry and determined to do really well. You haven’t just spent the past 3 years of your life dealing with hangovers and trying to write a first class essay for nothing! You are so hungry to succeed almost that you are willing to do anything to get into your chosen profession, that you will accept any wage in the hope that you will land a permanent full paying position in the company. Sometimes you could be working there for months and the chances of you getting made permanent are looking slimmer and slimmer. Its risky and you’ll have to decide for yourself if the job is worth the risk.

Never give up…

At times it can feel that you have been applying for jobs for weeks on end with no end result. But be patient and don’t give up. If you feel really concerned as to why a company hasn’t got back to you, send them an email or ring them; not only will that give you peace of mind, but it also demonstrates that you are passionate and keen to work for the company. Broaden your horizons when it comes to applying for roles, if something sounds interesting, even if its not exactly what you want to do, what harm is there in applying for it? We’re in a generation now where mobility in jobs is the norm. People no longer get a job and stay in the same role until the day they retire. We are the generation of ‘lets mix things up’ any experience is good experience, and having a varied portfolio is interesting, and you may find exactly what your looking for along the way.

Know your worth…

When I realised how ill, stressed and miserable my so called dream job was making me, I knew I needed to get out. Nothing that is negatively effecting your well-being is worth it. Any job is stressful at times, and heck I swear at work within being there for 10 minutes on some days! But if you have a great team who support one another, and no matter how stressful a day is can make you laugh, then you’ve got it good. You spend a good part of your day at work, you want to be with people you get on with and know that you can go to them for advice. In my workplace, there is no hierarchy feel. My boss gets involved with everything, his boss gets involved and even the CEO knows who I am- what! Don’t stay in a job if you dread going to work and you feel alone.

Its very normal to be living at home…

You may see people your age posting online that they have just bought a house or have been living independently for a couple of years now and here you are living at your parents house. This is very normal. The only people I know that have their own place have been working since they were 16, they did no further education, and of course over that length of time, you would be able to buy a property. Other people I know to have their own place, is due to their partner being older and also going straight into work. Although yes I would love my own place, I adjusted to living back at home after university just fine. It was so different compared to when I was 18, I’m treated like an adult and there’s no curfews or rules and regulations to abide by. My mum is also really easy to live with, so that’s a plus! I’d rather be able to affordably move out, than struggle and scrimp to survive.

University was one of the best experiences of my life and I made friends for life, embarking on the same journey. Graduation is not the closing of something, but rather the beginning to wonderful possibilities.

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