After graduation, life begins to change at a rapid pace. Things that were once your go-to options become uninteresting, and suddenly you start questioning things you once knew to be true, like your interests and your values.
We all go through this strange transition period. Some people experience it earlier in the year than others and to a different extent, but it’s always there, lurking and making you feel a little confused about what you’re really after.
Here are five events that have happened to my friends and me in the year since graduating. Some of them might not happen to you directly, but even when they happen to a friend, it’s surprising what impact they can have on your own life.
- The Job Hunt
It’s inevitable. Whether you’re sorted with a graduate job following exams or you’ve not even thought about what your plans are (or if you’re putting them off for another year by doing a Masters), at some point, you will have to find a job.
In my personal experience of the graduate job hunt, it’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I’ll be writing a blog post soon on the ins and outs of moving on in employment, but for now, here are a couple of things to expect from your search.
- It’s very much a small fish, big pond scenario
- You are no longer the most qualified person in the candidate pool
- The vast majority of companies you apply to won’t even acknowledge receipt of your application
- You’ll start to feel pretty bummed out that you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere
- You will eventually find something!
Finding a new job is likely to take time, so if you need to take on some bar work or time in a retail store to fill the gap between graduation and your ideal first job, there’s no shame in that. Sooner or later, you’ll send through an application, ace the interview, and secure the job you’re after. It might not be perfect or the money you’re hoping for, but you will be able to use it for it’s transferrable skills for as long as is appropriate for you.
2. The New Hobby
You’d think that you would be more likely to pick up new hobbies in your youth as it’s the ideal time to try things out, right? Wrong. Having a regular job comes with a really unexpected sense of freedom. Gone are the days when there’s always more reading or revision to be done; once you’re home from work, your day is done. No matter what your working hours are, you’re likely to have far more free time now than you’ve had since you were about fifteen.
If you’re like me, all this free time means that you very quickly get bored and don’t know quite what to do with yourself. What better way to kill some time than by picking up a new hobby? My friends and I have started a variety of new activities since graduating, and although they haven’t all stuck, they’ve been fun to try. There are so many opportunities out there to start something new, even as an adult. Here are some new hobbies we’ve tried:
- New fitness classes/ a personal trainer
- Pole dancing
- British Sign Language lessons
3. The Identity Crisis
This definitely doesn’t affect everyone on the same scale but to a degree it happens to us all either during or soon after our degree.
It begins with the haircut. It’s almost becoming a rite of passage that girls who are leaving or just left uni with incredibly long hair go for the big chop. It helps that short hair is super fashionable at the moment, but it almost signifies us shedding the stress and hard work of our youth as we move on with our lives. It’s also way easier to manage in the morning when you have to drag yourself out of bed to be at work by 8.30.
It’s followed by the wardrobe change. I’m not sure about anyone else but since I turned 23 my entire body has changed shape. I’m eating pretty much the same as I always have and I’m fortunate to have an active job that doesn’t involve much sitting around. However, not only do my new clothes purchases have to battle with my ever changing figure, they also have to be suitable for work, and I simply don’t walk around in the same things I wore at uni, because I’m either required to adhere to a dress code, or ready to bunker down in something cosy. Any other occasion? Black jeans and a nice top.
4.The New Friends
With every new job or location comes the meeting of new people and (hopefully) some new friends. I’ve been very fortunate to have found a few wonderful people recently and although I’ve only known them for a short time, I can totally rely on them and we have a great time when we hang out. I’ve not really mixed my new friendship group with my old one, although I’m sure they’d get along brilliantly. Sometimes I think it’s nice to have different groups of friends that you spend time with doing different things. All your friends, old and new, will totally understand this, but it’s a great way to try new things and meet even more new people if people’s groups do mix.
5. The Engagement
If this was you, CONGRATULATIONS! Maybe it wasn’t you and you’re the single friend who’ll get drunk at the wedding and make out with the Best Man. That’s totally ok too.
I’m not saying that if you’re in a long term relationship through Uni you’ll be getting engaged as soon as you leave, but chances are that someone you studied with will. This is a crazy exciting time in life and this is one of the first major changes to your friendship group. You’ve got so many awesome things to look forward to – make the most of it!
Bear in mind, however, that your friend (or you) is going through a real transition period at the moment and will want to share their excitement with you, and when you’re the single friend, that might be quite difficult. It’s highly unlikely they are being insensitive on purpose, and are still just over-the-moon happy with their new situation. If you’re a keen-o now, they’ll repay the favour when your special day is coming up. DO NOT go Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids at the Bridal Shower, however single you are. You WILL lose friends.
I’m super excited that two of my friends have got engaged to their SO recently (within the space of a week, crazy!), and am so happy that they have both found someone they want to spend the rest of their lives with!
What are some of the unexpected things that have happened to you since graduation? Let me know!